The grounds of Discovery Park are ready to rumble again. The Aftershock festival is set for Saturday and Sunday, bringing a head-banging, vape-smoking heavy metal nation to the banks of the Sacramento River.
Now in its seventh year, Aftershock ranks as the Sacramento area’s largest annual concert event. The 2018 edition is set to be Aftershock’s biggest yet with a 30,000 daily capacity — up from 25,000 daily in previous years. The weekend is nearly sold out, with tickets only remaining for Saturday.
Appearances are on tap from Slash of Guns N’ Roses (with a band featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators), Godsmack, Incubus, 311, Shinedown and more than 30 other bands that live to rock. System of a Down and Sacramento’s own Deftones serve as the weekend’s headliners, capping a weekend that draws ticketholders from nearly every state in the nation.
So, where to start once you pass through the gates of Discovery Park? We’ve cherry picked some weekend highlights, including bands not to be missed and recommended food and drink options. You’ll also find some choice options for keeping the party going once the noise curfew hits and Aftershock is done for the night.
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Break out your meanest air guitar and check our ultimate guide to Aftershock 2018:
The metal world was in mourning following the June death of drummer Vinnie Paul, who was set to appear at Aftershock with Hellyeah. Throw a devil horns salute as members of Korn, Deftones, Godsmack and others pay tribute to Paul, Hellyeah and his former band, Pantera. Expect the place to go buckwild if they launch into the Pantera mosh starter known as “Walk.” (2:35 p.m. Saturday)
A touch of hip-hop flavor has done Aftershock well in previous years. (See: the hyped-up, bass-rumbling set from Run the Jewels in 2017). This year, Action Bronson brings a mix of rhymes and star power as the host of Vice’s “(Bleep) That’s Delicious.” This set might best be enjoyed with a Hemi grilled cheese sandwich from Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen food truck. (5:30 p.m. Saturday)
Sacramento’s Deftones haven’t played their hometown since … well, since Aftershock 2015. Deftones have a history with Aftershock that stretches to the festival’s debut in 2012, and their home court advantage always results in a monstrous set from these homeboys done good. (8:50 p.m. Saturday)
Speaking of Sacto. bands, the great Dance Gavin Dance are a reason to get through the Aftershock gates on the earlier side Sunday. See why their blistering live show has become a favorite worldwide on the post-hardcore scene. (1:10 p.m. Sunday)
At The Drive-In don’t have the same kind of chunka-chunka guitar sound and hair swinging that defines a lot of Aftershock bands, but their live show is legendary for its intensity. The band’s activity tends to be sporadic, so catch At The Drive-In before they go inactive again. (3:55 p.m. Sunday)
Alice In Chains were always on the more hesher side of the 1990s grunge scene. But their songs have held up well over the years (“Man In A Box,” “Them Bones”) and singer William DuVall still does justice to the original pained vocals from the late Layne Staley. (6:25 p.m. Sunday)
The headlining set from System of Down on Sunday just might rank as the most anticipated performance in Aftershock history. The band has performed sparsely since 2010, and hasn’t played the Sacramento area since 2006. Just wait for the epic sing-a-long when the chorus of “Chop Suey” kicks in. (7:30 p.m. Sunday)
WHAT TO EAT/DRINK
From Napa’s BottleRock to Aftershock, music festivals have certainly upped their food and beverage game over the last few years. Here are a few picks for drinking and noshing when you’re not busy moshing at Aftershock:
Florez Bar and Grill: This beloved spot in South Land Park is known for an especially rockin’ Mexican breakfast. Check out their lineup of tacos and other south-of-the-border eats at Aftershock.
Belching Beaver Bar: Let’s face it. Too many beers launched by hard rock bands just aren’t that good (Iron ... *cough* … Madien). Deftones, however, scored a hit with both fans who know the lyrics by heart to “Headup” and craft beer bros who chin-scratch over the merits of Cascade hops. Sample Deftones’ collaborative beers with Belching Beaver, including “Phantom Bride” India Pale Ale, at this beer bar.
Mount Olympus: Yes, even the metalhead community seeks vegetarian eats. (Gary Holt of Slayer/Exodus and Rob Zombie are just a couple of Aftershock veterans who follow plant-based diets). The food pickings for vegetarians can be slim at music festivals, but sink your teeth here into such items as falafel in a pita or burrito with feta cheese, hummus, olives and other meat-less fillings.
Caduceus Wine Garden: Tool isn’t on Aftershock’s lineup this time around, but you can get a taste of Caduceus wines made by its frontman, Maynard James Keenan. The wine grapes are sourced from high altitude vineyards in Arizona, including tempranillo, nebbiolo, chardonnay and more.
Cousin’s Maine Lobster: We know a gourmet lurks under that frayed Cannibal Corpse t-shirt. Chomp down on rich lobster rolls that are served hot or cold.
▪ Even after a full day of metal, chances are you’ll still be hyped up and want to keep the party going. Drop by the hard rock-themed Holy Diver (1517 21st St., Sacramento) to refuel with pizza and play their Iron Maiden and AC/DC pinball machines.
▪ Speaking of pizza, some of Sacramento’s best late-night slices can be found until 2 a.m. Sunday morning at Federalist Public House (2009 Matsui Alley, near 20th St. and Capitol, Sacramento). Wash them down with more than a dozen craft beer options on tap.
▪ Get some barbecue in your belly at Tank House (1925 J St., Sacramento). The late-night menu is served until midnight every day and includes chopped brisket sandwiches, mac and cheese and other hearty foods to help refueled after trying to hold your own in the front row during System of a Down.
▪ For those craving adult libations, drop by B-Side (1430 S St., Sacramento) and soak in the bar’s ode to vinyl records and 1970s hi-fi. Order a beer or a bourbon old fashioned and toast to another Aftershock in the books.