This past weekend, Juxtapoz visited the West Coast’s largest rock festival, Aftershock, a four day excursion that had us in the midst of a quite an electric and eclectic collection of music. At the heart of it all, and it can't not be mentioned, we are still getting used to being in the swing of being around more than 160,000 people. Well, technically 40,000 people each day, but they definitely packed into Discovery Park in Sacramento, coming from all 50 states and 35 countries.

Juxtapoz has been involved with Aftershock going back to 2015, but this one really stands out due to the number of bands we have worked with over the years. It was a bit of a reunion, so to speak.

On Friday, we caught the killer Coheed & Cambria set in the 90+ degree heat that included many songs from the new album, A Window of the Waking Mind. Check out our interview with Claudio from last year when it was released here. Later we made sure to stick around for a headlining set from Tool, which, not surprisingly, blew minds, just like the art of psychedelic master Alex Grey that’s synonymous with the visual identity of the band.

We were really excited to see Polyphia on Saturday as they had been featured in the Winter 2023 print issue of the magazine but this was the first opportunity we had to actually see them play live. Their music is so complex yet at the same time accessible, though I can’t begin to understand how Tim Henson and Scott LePage play with the technical proficiency the way they do in a live setting. Unreal.

On Sunday, we couldn’t wait to see the East Bay legends, Rancid. After a feel-good, energetic punk set, we rushed over to catch Queens of the Stone Age. Lead singer Josh Homme continued to rule and the set ripped with that hard-hitting, yet groovy and melodic wall of sound QOTSA is known for. Check out our interview with Josh from a few years back when Villains was released here.

As the sun set on Sunday evening, it was clear that Aftershock had once again cemented its reputation as one of the premier rock and metal festivals on the planet. Fans are already anticipating what the next edition will bring as they count down the days until Aftershock 2024.

Photos & Recap by Mike Stalter