Aftermath Part 2: High Expectations

I awoke Saturday morning with mixed expectations for what lied ahead of me at Aftershock 2015, Day 1. Giddyness, excitement, apprehension, all of these mixed into me as I munched on a muffin and sipped cold espresso at the campground before the truly amazing and wonderful experiences I had on the first day. I had so much fun, I actually have to make two different articles about the first day alone. So here’s my first post about seeing the real meat and potatoes of Aftershock 2015, the live bands. Take a little trip with me through Gibson Ranch:

Raveneye was the first band of the day. I have to admit, I had no idea what to expect from this little power trio. First of all, their sound quality live was brilliant and clean. They were tight, well mixed, and acted like they had done this a million times before. Being the first act of the festival, there wasn’t really an enormous crowd, yet these guys played out their heart and souls for the people who were there. Second, the showmanship these guys had and the energy they put off was gargantuan. I had a difficult time keeping track of them jumping around that stage. On top of that, the guitarist leaped off the bass drum to the bassists shoulders. They strutted the stage like that for a solid 30-45 seconds even, maybe a bit longer. With knowing almost nothing about this band to begin with, I was thoroughly impressed with their stage play and musicianship. Right out of the gate, they had set a high bar my thoughts at the end of their set was that they would be a tough act to follow up. However, the day was just getting started.

Following a killer performance by Raveneye, I moved to the North Stage to see Snot. I have to preface my thoughts on this set with an admission that I have only really heard Snot’s first album. That album though, was something far ahead of it’s time. Being released in the midst of the Grunge era, it was certainly something ahead of it’s time. A beginning foray into a style of metal that would later become known as  “Nu-Metal”. I may be a grunge baby, but that particular style is the reason I became such a fervent and rabid metalhead. You would also be hard pressed to find a metalhead who looks back on this album and band with any ill will or bad thoughts. Anyway, I digress. As I got into the crowd for Snot, I was full of excitement and apprehension. Although Snot hasn’t had the original vocalist for almost 2 decades, what would seeing them live be like? Can they replicate that kind of energy on stage? Will standing here watching this band even be worth my time? After the first few bars of their set, all of those questions were answered. Respectively as, “Amazing”, “Fuck yes they can”, and “I can’t believe you even asked yourself that third question, stupid.” For the second time that day (and this certainly wasn’t the last) I was blown away by a fantastically tight band, coupled with more outstanding energy. As a guy who loves to dabble in mosh pits, I must say I had a difficult time resisting to urge to jump into that insane circle pit that opened towards the rear of the crowd. Knowing that I had to focus and pay attention for the sake of these blogs, as well as save my energy for the next two days, I was a good boy and watched with fervent glee through the set.

Following two phenomenal bands, I found myself in need of a small break to recuperate and hydrate. At this point I had found myself with my best friend and roommate, who had just made his way into the festival. By the time we got ourselves situated and ready to see a new band, the Art of Dying was doing their sound check. I will probably get some flak for this part. I’m not going to shy away from this fact though, as we’re the Honest Brutality podcast for a reason. Personally, I was not impressed with the music itself. It doesn’t seem to resonate with me in any way on an emotional level and to be completely honest I was over the set about halfway through. Now, with my personal opinion off my chest and out of the way I can move on with saying that these guys are heartfelt and passionate musicians. Despite me not being big on their product, there were plenty of people in front of that stage who would disagree with me, and those guys were all about the fans who came to see them. On top of that, the singer was obviously completely emotionally invested in his craft. One of their songs (I apologize as I cannot remember what the name of this song is) was prefaced with a story of how the front man’s father battled, and subsequently succumbed too, a long stint with cancer. On top of that, the day they performed Aftershock was the anniversary of his father’s passing. In memorial, the singer was wearing a red sash around his neck for his father, who I’m sure was looking down on you and beaming with pride from wherever he may be. You certainly poured your soul into that show,; though I may not have really liked any of it, I couldn’t help but be moved by the passion in your performance. In all, you guys definitely have a good thing going.I have been disappointed with musical acts that have come from Canada in the past (*cough* Nickelback and Bieber *cough*), but I am really excited to see this group grow and see what kind of an impact they have on the world of music. I may not be a fan at the moment, but I am always open to learning the errors of my ways.

I’ll conclude this part of my story of Aftershock 2015 with my experience with a little band that goes by Suicidal Tendencies. Now, I was frothing at the mouth for this show all the way up to when I found my place in the quickly expanding crowd. I certainly wasn’t the only one. I was completely surrounded with rabid fans of this band, and they guys up on that stage knew exactly how to bring that excitement up to a critical level. Before anyone even picked up an instrument, or sat behind the drum kit, or said a single word into the microphone, various members of the band were walking onto the stage. In a style similar to Tommy Lee’s infamous “Titty Cam”, the band members were out there with phones and recorders preserving the fervency of the crowd. There must have been at least five different instances where a member of this band, well before their time to play mind you, came out and shot small videos of the fans that were ready to go completely ape shit for this group of musicians. The crowd was restless, and I probably had to move spots at least twice before the first note was played simply due to the powerful motions of the audience. Then the set started, and I was shifted and tossed from one position to another, horns in the air with the rest, as pit after pit opened up to wild and aggressive music that is Suicidal Tendencies.  I did not mind this, although I quickly found myself separated and alone from those I had taken position with at the start. It was obvious that this awesome group of men were veterans at crowd play. Normally, bands put the job of rousing the crowd to the front man. This was not the case with this set, as the drummer, bassist, and all members took active part in keeping the excitement in the audience at it’s peak. That was the first and only time (so far, anyway) I heard drummer of a band continuously call for a circle pit in his audience, who were more than willing to oblige him. To be honest, I wandered out of that crowd in a daze. Not just from the complete kick ass performance I had just witnessed, but from being engrossed in such a wild and rowdy crowd. I was alone, a bit lost, and had no idea what to do with myself. I was loving every moment of that, and once again I found myself in search of water and shade, as I knew that I was in for equally insane experience after this, and I needed to steel myself.

This all comes in the next post though, Disciples, as I have way to many thoughts about the rest of the first day of Aftershock to cram into one single article. It’s coming soon, though. \m/

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