Aftershock Fest Day 2 Recap: Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, Halestorm + More
Day 1 of the Monster Energy Aftershock Festival, featuring Korn, Megadeth and Shinedown, would be a tough act to follow. But leave it to Avenged Sevenfold to lead a Day 2 attack that was nothing short of breathtaking.
By the time the Huntington Beach-based stars Avenged Sevenfold (fresh on the heels of their No. 1 album 'Hail to the King') took the stage on Sunday night, Sept. 15, one had to wonder if the sun soaked crowd would have the energy to rise to the occasion. All questions were immediately answered when A7X steadied into place before their massive metal stage set featuring a towering skeletal king. With pyro jets ready to project raging columns of roaring orange fire long into the night, the band kicked it off with the new track 'Shepherd of Fire,' a dark, weaving and sinewy excursion that, like much of the new album, taps into AC/DC, Metallica, Pantera and a host of other metal influences they cut their teeth on.
From there, Avenged threw down the gauntlet, cooly assuming the role of what they have become: modern-day metal superstars that deliver one of the most impressive live shows on the planet. Lead singer M. Shadows was a master of control and conviction, exhorting the crowd time and again with impressive results. There was a poignant tribute to their fallen drummer Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan in the form of the haunting, Sullivan-penned song 'Fiction' from their last album, 'Nightmare.' There was the brutal rhythmic combination of bassist Johnny Christ and now official member, drummer Arin Ilejay.
And there was was what has become perhaps the most signature part of any Avenged show, the dueling guitars of Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance. The playful intertwining of solos as they stand next to each other speaks not just of their playing prowess but also of the comfortable chemistry this band has attained. By the time the set finished, closing out the festival with a ferocious version of 'Unholy Confessions,' it was clear that this is more than just a band be reckoned with now. This is a force of nature now firing on all cylinders.
But it's not like there wasn't any competition on this spectacular day of hard rock and metal. When you consider the fact that the early afternoon featured blistering mainstage performances by Asking Alexandria, Finnish love-metal sensations HIM, along with Falling in Reverse and Gemini Syndrome, and you begin to get a sense of what made Aftershock so special across both days.
But then, just as it happened on day one, the two side-by-side main stages were treated to gloriously powerful, quickly alternating headliner performances by a diverse lineup leading up to the spectacular A7X finale. First it was the Grammy-winning Halestorm, featuring Lzzy Hale, who after years of incessant touring has become a remarkably polished yet earthy arena-ready presence. She and her sturdy, thoroughly entertaining and reliable bandmates energized the crowd with a steady dose of festival ready sing-alongs.
Within moments of Halestorm wrapping up, Danish metal sensations Volbeat commandeered the south stage and played before one of the most intense moshing crowds of the entire festival. Volbeat drove the crowd into a searing frenzy and then within moments, it was back over to the north stage for a roof raising performance by A Day to Remember (who punctuated their furiously passionate performance by throwing dozens of rolls of toilet paper and white beach balls into the pulsating crowd).
And then just when you thought the fever pitch couldn't get any hotter, Five Finger Death Punch rolled out onto the south stage in what was starting to feel, based on the gathering crowd, like the most anticipated act of the day. Frontman Ivan Moody has learned how to tap into populist values that work exceedingly well for the band, acknowledging members of the military and talking onstage about how much the band appreciates the opportunity to play for the troops. What makes this band so likable beyond just the fist pumping fury of their playlist is the fact that they come off as down-to-earth; thoroughly relating to people at street level. When Moody brings up some kids onstage each night to be part of the show, it never feels like a shtick. Rather, it's just something that he seems to think is a cool idea. And it is.
From there it was time for aforementioned closing performance by Avenged Sevenfold, which ended the festival on a magnificent and triumphant note.
It is hard to imagine the 32,000+ fans getting a bigger bang for their buck than the Monster Energy 2013 Aftershock Festival. And now fans are left wondering how the festival will top itself next year, but we anxiously await the announcements of who will be playing.
Congratulations to Aftershock on what was certainly one of the most talked about and successful festivals in recent memory.
Check Our Our Photos of Aftershock Day 2 Below:
Five Finger Death Punch:
A Day To Remember:
Falling in Reverse:
Miss May I: