After being forced to pull the plug on last year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Aftershock festival returned to Discovery Park in Sacramento over the weekend, and put on an even bigger (and louder) event than in years past. With a newly expanded four-day lineup and two nights of Metallica, the California rock extravaganza was nothing short of yet another success for Danny Wimmer Presents.

The newly added Thursday bill featured Bay Area thrash legends Death Angel, Exodus (with drummer Tom Hunting playing his first show back after recently undergoing successful cancer surgery) and Testament. Also on the opening-day lineup were Anthrax, hardcore upstarts Knocked Loose, and headliners Cypress Hill (who replaced Faith No More, who themselves had replaced Limp Bizkit).

Day 2 (Friday) featured Avatar, Butcher Babies, and Dropkick Murphys, before Suicidal Tendencies closed out the Coors Light stage with a huge circle pit that didn’t stop until their set was over. On bass for Suicidal Tendencies was Robert Trujillo’s son Tye, following in his father’s footsteps from 30 years earlier. After both Rancid and Volbeat packed in the crowds for their sets on the main stage, it was time for the headliners of the evening, Metallica. The metal titans played a 16-song setlist that did not include a single song from “The Black Album,” hinting to their fans that they may want to come back for Sunday’s set.


Day 3 (Saturday) included sets from Anti-Flag, Machine Gun Kelly (who did not throw any punches at fans this time, but did get pelted with tree branches and beverages), Gojira, Body Count (who covered Slayer’s “Raining Blood” and “Postmortem” with founding Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo behind the kit) and a recently reunited Mudvayne. The Original Misfits headlined the evening, playing a 29-song, two-encore set that included “London Dungeon,” “Green Hell,” “Last Caress,” and “We Are 138.” If there was any act that could pull off being sandwiched between Metallica nights, the Misfits were that band.

Day 4 (Sunday) included performances from Wolfgang Van Halen and his band Mammoth WVH, In This Moment, Pennywise, Social Distortion and Rise Against. Metallica once again headlined, and after playing “Hardwired,” “The Four Horsemen,” and “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” the band played the entire “Black Album” in reverse order, before wrapping up the festival with “Creeping Death.”

By the time it was all said and done, Aftershock once again showed why the event has become one of the West Coast’s biggest rock festivals. Every year the organizers seem to pull off something even bigger and better than the previous year.


See our exclusive Aftershock photo gallery below, followed by video footage of Metallica, Misfits (no pics allowed), Machine Gun Kelly, and more. Tickets to Aftershock 2022, taking place October 6th-9th, are available here.

All photos by Raymond Ahner (@raymond_ahner)

Aftershock 2021 Gallery – Click to Enlarge and Scroll through: