Metallica shakes things up during Aftershock Festival in Sacramento – East Bay Times
“Do you feel good there?” Metallica frontman James Hetfield asked from the stage Friday night.
He was immediately greeted by tens of thousands of voices, all of them shouting back claiming that, yes, they felt great.
“Well, stop it,” the singer-guitarist replied jokingly.
Sorry, James, but that was the only directive to fans that they certainly weren’t going to follow. These metalheads were in the mood to party and sing along as Metallica performed the first of their two headlining sets at the 2021 Aftershock Festival at Discovery Park in Sacramento.
The band – which ranks as the Bay Area’s best-selling band of all time – sounded great as they played 16 songs in just about two hours. Metallica drew heavily on his classic albums from the ’80s and’ 90s, with one notable exception which we’ll cover later.
All in all, it was a great way to wrap up the first full day of Aftershock action on Friday. (The festival actually started on Thursday, but it was a lighter – but no less appealing – lineup with Anthrax, Testament, and Exodus among the acts slated to take the stage.)
Metallica returns on Sunday to perform their second headlining set, highlighting what is shaping up to be a hugely successful festival.
While some festivals try to be everything for everyone, reserving a diverse lineup that will hopefully appeal to the greatest number of listeners, Aftershock goes the other way and focuses on all that heavy. – mostly metal and hard rock, sprinkled with a bit of punk and hip-hop. In this sense, it is a niche festival, but one which is also capable of attracting over 30,000 fans per day.
It has become the place to be for headbangers over the years, delivering the best of these heavy musical genres every year.
And this is certainly still the case in 2021.
Friday’s lineup was terrific, with Swedish metal troupe Avatar and Bay Area ska-punk Rancid among the most notable performers. The best of the pre-Metallica group, however, was Danish actor Volbeat, who convincingly mixed American rock and classic metal sounds in a way that made me wonder what could happen if John Mellencamp was at the head of Iron Maiden.
Yet despite all the interesting acts on the bill, fans definitely seemed to be counting the hours (then minutes, then seconds) until Metallica took the stage.
It was the band’s first major NorCal show since performing the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center opening concerts in September 2019 – though the band did an intimate warm-up gig for a few hundred fans overwhelmingly. lucky last month at the Independent club in San Francisco.
Metallica returns to the Chase Center in San Francisco on December 17-19 to celebrate their 40th anniversary as a band. The group is also currently celebrating the 30th anniversary of their best-selling album – the eponymous 1991 release commonly referred to as “The Black Album”.
The quartet – Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett, and bassist Robert Trujillo – certainly didn’t look like a band that had spent essentially two years without playing a show in front of an in-person audience. Instead, they had no problem rekindling that old Metallica magic as they swayed among fan favorites like “The Memory Remains”, “One” and “Fade to Black”.
“It’s so good to be here and do what we’re supposed to do,” Hetfield said.
None of the songs in the 16-song set are from “The Black Album,” which seems particularly noteworthy given the album’s milestone anniversary. This means they skipped regular base gigs like “Sad but True”, “Nothing Else Mattters” and – oh, wow – even “Enter Sandman”. Fans are certainly not used to hearing this kind of Metallica setlist.
Hmm. I wonder what that means for the headliner of the group taking place on Sunday at Aftershock. (I actually feel like I have a pretty good hunch. And, if I’m right, fans are going to really appreciate it.)
The festival was scheduled to continue on Saturday with artists like Original Misfits, The Offspring, Machine Gun Kelly and, better yet, Gojira.
Aftershock ends Sunday with lineup that includes Mammoth WVH, Social Distortion, In This Moment and, of course, a second serving from the mighty Metallica.