Monday, October 21, 2019

Aftershock 2019: Lamb Of God

Randy Blythe, vocals, Lamb Of God
Randy Blythe, Lamb of God, Aftershock 2019
"This is where shit gets real", said one of my colleagues in the photo pit, at 6.18 pm on Friday, 11th October, "Oh yes... this is where it gets real."

Mark Morton, guitar, Lamb Of God
Mark Morton, Lamb of God, Aftershock 2019
Friday, the first day of this year's Aftershock festival. And he was right: there had already been many excellent performances by really good bands including the Dropkick Murphys, Halestorm, I Prevail, Clutch: Phil Anselmo and the Illegals had roused and stirred up a crowdstorm, but... at 6.20 pm Lamb of God walked onto the Monster stage, and the real party was on.

John Campbell, bass, Lamb Of God
John Campbell, Lamb Of God

Willie Adler, guitar, Lamb Of God
Willie Adler, Lamb of God, Aftershock 2019
Regardless of your taste in music, or preference in theatre, or art or design or architecture or even cuisine, there's something tangible, something irresistible, something immediately recognisable about performers that exude that higher-level "something": who bring that inexplicable extra dose of magic, a level above the rest. Lamb Of God did just that: it did, indeed, get very, very real. Someone turned up the volume; someone increased the speed; someone made the focus blinding, razor-sharp, like a samurai blade dripping water from Randy Blythe's upturned water bottle as he rushed the stage, strapped up knees be damned.

Lamb Of God
Lamb of God, Aftershock 2019
OK it wasn't quite a spiritual experience, but it wasn't far off: it was Lamb Of God, on stage, on target, and on fire.

Lamb of God have a tour of Europe (including five dates in the UK) planned for early next year. You might just find me there. #newfan

Randy Blythe, vocals, Lamb Of God
Randy Blythe, Lamb of God, Aftershock 2019
Many more photos in our Aftershock gallery for Lamb Of God - click here.

More reviews and photos from Aftershock 2019: Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos and Alison Toon Photographer music galleries.

Randy Blythe, vocals, Lamb Of God
Randy Blythe, Lamb of God

Aftershock 2019: Ho99o9

Ho99o9 at Aftershock 2019
Extreme energy on the Coors Capital stage at Aftershock 2019: Ho99o9!

Ho99o9, Aftershock 2019
From the first seconds of the show when Eaddy launched himself into the audience it was obvious that this was going to be an interesting, intense performance. Hip hop? Punk? Rock? Musical Art? However you want to categorise Ho99o9's style, it's entrancing... a bit like watching a delicately-crafted train wreck or a beautiful demolition. I don't admit to understanding the lyrics, yet, but I'll certainly be back for more! Great show!

Ho99o9, Aftershock 2019
(If you're a fan of Fever 333 or Death Grips, be sure to check out Ho99o9.)

Ho99o9 at Aftershock 2019

Many more photos in our Aftershock gallery for Ho99o9 - click here.

More reviews and photos from Aftershock 2019: Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos and Alison Toon Photographer music galleries.

Aftershock 2019: The Hu

The Hu
The Hu, Aftershock 2019
Perhaps the most unusual - and global - performance at Aftershock festival in Sacramento, California, this year happened on the smaller Coors Capital stage, by a band from Mongolia. The Hu combine traditional folk instruments such as the morin khuur, flute and tsuur and Mongolian vocal style ("throat singing") with heavy metal.

The Hu
The Hu, Aftershock 2019, Sacramento California
Currently on tour in the USA - including another date in Sacramento, at Holy Diver, on November 30th (if you had instead headed to another stage at Aftershock and missed the set, this is a new opportunity - grab it!!!). The tour is extensive, with dates around the USA: see if you can catch a show, you will not be disappointed.

The Hu
The Hu, Aftershock 2019
The Hu released their first album, The Gereg, in September 2019, and it's available through your usual channels. If you have not yet heard them, check out the official video for Wolf Totem below and Yuve Yuve Yu too!

Many more photos in our Aftershock gallery for The Hu - click here.

More reviews and photos from Aftershock 2019: Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos and Alison Toon Photographer music galleries.

Friday, October 18, 2019

People of Aftershock 2019 - you can be proud!

People of Aftershock
Just a few of the 97,500 People of Aftershock 2019
People of Aftershock, you did it again. But this year, not only were you doing your thing for three days, not one or two as in previous years, yes Three Whole Wonderful Aftershock days in Sacramento's Discovery Park, but also you grew and grew and grew until there were 97,500 of you in attendance - a sold out weekend and the biggest so far in the history of the event. To think: it all began with a one-day festival in 2012. There are seven-year-old kids that have grown up in Aftershock.

People of Aftershock
Crowdsurfers and catchers, Monster Energy Stage, Aftershock 2019
As has become a Toon's Tunes tradition, before talking about the individual performances - and there were very-many, more than 50 bands, and there will be very-many photos of them coming soon - let's celebrate YOU, the People of Aftershock.

People of Aftershock
At the barrier, Kolas Discovery Stage, Aftershock 2019
Every one of you - from organizers to street crew, ticket-holder to security team, bartenders and chefs and hungry-and-thirsty attendees, crowdsurfers and surfer-catchers and guitar and drum technicians, camera and drone operators and the people who rescue pets and those who say, Fuck Cancer... thank you, thank you, thank you!

People of Aftershock
Sign language interpreter, Aftershock 2019

You made this a weekend for the memory books. You travelled, performers and Aftershockers alike, from all corners of the earth: musicians from Mongolia (The Hu), France (Gojira), England (BMTH) and Japan (Babymetal), attendees from all over the USA and from Australia and from Mexico and further north and south than that, along with a presence from the other world (there was a Zombie in the lineup, right???) and at least one photographer from the UK (me! me! though I feel I still have one foot firmly planted in the 916).

People of Aftershock
Aftershock 2019
You were unicorns. You were spiderman. You were Corey Taylor and some bizarre creature from Japanese anime. You were tattooed and beautifully-inked or beautifully-madeup or both, or you wore your naked face and torn jeans and tired Aftershock T-shirt from 2015; you possibly bared your boobs for beads or for Marilyn Manson who returned the favour (?) and bared his bum and burned a "bible" (in quotes because I have no proof whether it was, or was not, a religious tome), and at least one of you declared to anyone and everyone and the big screen in VIP in particular that He Is Satan, despite the rest of us thinking that he is more a performer than an antichrist. Though maybe I should modify the list of attendee-performer origins and add Hades to the list, somewhere between Australia and Mexico.

People of Aftershock
Three unicorns and other people, Aftershock 2019
You worked really hard and you partied until you broke - if not your bodies, because the security teams did a great job of catching you as you surfed the crowd (I only saw one bloodied nose all weekend, very early on on the first day, way before any circle pit had spun its end-of-summer NorCal dust cloud or anyone had zoomed across the heads of their Aftershock friends), at least some of your bank accounts (how else did you get so happily wasted? that wasn't cheap!!!) and you wore your shoes out walking/dancing/hobbling several long happy miles back to your hotels when Sacramento's cell phone network collapsed under the weight of 97,450 or so people all trying their utmost to live stream Tool's gem of a show.

People of Aftershock
Korn fans, Kolas Discovery Stage, Aftershock 2019
Thank you, thank you, thank you, People of Aftershock. You were friendly, you were happy, you were generous, and you rocked your hearts out. That was a wonderful weekend. How is it over, so fast?

People of Aftershock
Aftershock 2019
And today, it's Friday again, and suddenly a week has gone by since the first day of Aftershock 2019... and what are you doing now? Already planning for next year's Aftershock, of course! Because wait: the dates for 2020 have already been announced, the headliners known - Metallica, yes, you guessed, Metallica - planning two nights with different setlists, not only at Aftershock but at all five rock and metal festivals presented by Danny Wimmer's team, and tickets are already on sale, and selling really, really fast (you can do a layaway: reserve your spots and pay for the tickets over time). I hope, very much, to see you all again at Aftershock, in Sacramento, in 2020. Fingers and eyes crossed and drowned in travel-fatigue and an overdose of caffeine.

Many, many more People of Aftershock 2019 photos here, in the photo gallery. Take a look, you might find yourself. Feel free to share the pics directly from the gallery website using the social media links please tag @alisontoon on Twitter, @alisontoonphotographer on Instagram, @therealtoonstunes on Facebook.

Previous Aftershock People Of galleries are all here except for People of Aftershock 2012 which was hosted on the platform of the time here.

Band photos and reviews coming soon here: and the photo galleries will all be hosted here: just give me a few more days!

People of Aftershock
Aftershock 2019 lineup

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Second day of Aftershock 2019

Blink 182, headlining Saturday at Aftershock
Again, just a few photos... many more to come - from day two of Aftershock 2019!

If you missed Ho99o9 on the Coors Capital stage, you missed a treat - go check them out!

So many enormous performances yesterday... Highly Suspect, Marilyn Manson, Bring Me The Horizon, Rob Zombie to name but a few.

Highly Suspect
Marilyn Manson
Bring Me The Horizon

Rob Zombie
And unicorns. There were unicorns...

And now it's Sunday... final day of this year's Aftershock... who is looking forward to Korn? Tool??? See you there!!!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

First day of Aftershock, 2019

Aftershock Festival, Discovery Park, Sacramento California... first day of the first-time-three-days festival, and it was just what Aftershock should be... thousands and thousands of people rocking out to great bands, headlined by Slipknot and with Lamb of God putting in an epic performance,

Lamb of God

Just a few quick edit photos for now - many more to come! Day two today!

I Prevail


Dropkick Murphys


Monday, September 16, 2019

Muse, Simulation Theory World Tour, at London's O2 Arena (and Nothing But Thieves too!)

Muse, Simulation Theory World Tour, London
Muse, O2 Arena, London, UK
London stop on the Simulation Theory World Tour: it was my first Muse show. It won't be my last.

At the O2 Arena in London, out to the east of the city on the North Greenwich penninsula: the venue is a city to itself, with street food, restaurants, clubs, a garden, mountaineering (OK, not really mountaineering, but you can climb all the way over the dome) - even London's biggest cinema. You can travel to the O2 by tube, bus, river bus (boat), even by crossing the Thames on a cable car. Tube is the most fun because then you see the signs by @allontheboard. (Leaving the venue is a little trickier, but if you're floating on air after a show like this, it doesn't matter how long it takes.)

Muse, Simulation Theory World Tour, London
Muse, O2 Arena, London
The show opened with Nothing But Thieves, who I have been guilty of missing on several occasions when over the other side of the Atlantic. So very, very good! With a backdrop of the stunning artwork from their 2017 album, Broken Machine, - a new album next year? to add to this and their self-named 2015 release, Nothing But Thieves deserve to be huge. Huge. They filled the arena with their music. Lovely. If you haven't heard them yet... it's about time you did.

Muse, Simulation Theory World Tour, London
Muse, O2 Arena, London
And then Muse... I knew to expect lights, lasers, spectacle and had found a spot at the sounddesk barrier, to better experience the whole show. It started pretty low-key... blue lights and a troupe of LED-costumed-trombone-players seemingly right in the centre of the arena crowd - the stage an elongated arm into the centre of the audience... Matt Bellamy with glasses lit up neon like Times Square (how does he see? let alone sing, or play?) and it just built from there, a crescendo of live video and animation on the huge screen, a near-perfect sound system, and a bloody great monster that from my perspective could have been video, could have been hologram, could have been real, might just have been the dream that everyone in the room was dreaming at the same time.

The music was pretty darn good too. Yes, I'm the queen of the understatement today.

Muse, Simulation Theory World Tour, London
Muse, O2 Arena, London
It was my daughter's first Muse show in the UK - by no means her first Muse show, she's seen them in many countries so far - and indeed, her first concert in this country (we left the UK before any of my kids had the chance to experience big venue live music) and for her, the experience of being in the middle of singing, dancing, ecstatic fans, and seeing everyone in the galleries and boxes and nosebleeds standing up and too, was very very special. (There is nothing in the world quite like British music fans... nothing.)

Muse, Simulation Theory World Tour, London
Muse, O2 Arena, London
Some of you get the chance to do this all over again, tomorrow night in Birmingham. We very much wish we were there, too. Have a blast.

More Muse tour dates here and Nothing But Thieves here.

Muse, Simulation Theory World Tour, London
Muse, O2 Arena, London
(Photos in this post are cellphone shots from the audience and there are a few more here. Yes, I did spend part of the show wishing I had my pro cameras... can't help it with these amazing visuals... but sometimes you just have to go for, and with, the music. Wonderful evening!

That was some show. Thank you - you know who you are!)

Muse, Simulation Theory World Tour, London
Muse, O2 Arena, London

Friday, September 13, 2019

Five Finger Death Punch tickets for European and UK tour on sale now!

Jason Hook, Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 
Tickets are on sale now for Five Finger Death Punch with special guest Megadeth and supported by Bad Wolves. The UK and European winter tour calling at major arenas begins on January 14th in Kiev, Ukraine, and runs until 20th February (Budapest, Hungary). UK dates are 30th January (Cardiff, Wales) and 31st January (Wembley Arena, London, England).

Ivan Moody, vocals, Five Finger Death Punch
Ivan Moody, Five Finger Death Punch

The shows will sell out - don't miss this opportunity to see these three bands. Some brilliant, beautiful locations: make a vacation of it, road trip!

Yes, for those based in teh UK, London's Wembley will be an unforgettable experience - but also check some of the other locations as it's an inexpensive time of year to travel and vacation plus music is always a good thing! (Just ask my bank manager.)

Need an intro? Check out Wrong Side of Heaven from FFDP, Symphony of Destructionfrom Megadeth, and Remember When from Bad Wolves (you may have already heard their version of Zombie, it's brilliant.)

Chris Kael, bass, Five Finger Death Punch
Chris Kael, Five Finger Death Punch
See also: Five Finger Death Punch at Aftershock, 2017; photos and review

Photo galleries:

- Five Finger Death Punch
- Megadeth

Zoltan Bathory, guitar, Five Finger Death Punch
Zoltan Bathory, Five Finger Death Punch

Saturday, September 7, 2019

New release: Marillion, Afraid of Sunlight deluxe edition!

Port Zelande, The Netherlands, 24 March 2019: Marillion performing on the final night of the PZ weekend 2019.
Marillion, 2019
Marillion will release a deluxe edition of Afraid of Sunlight later this year... a four-CD/Blu Ray set and a five vinyl box set, each with a whole lot of new stuff including a full remix of the original album by maestro Michael Hunter, a live recording from Rotterdam, The Netherlands (1995): full details, track lists for each set and the link for preordering is here:

- Afraid of Sunlight deluxe edition CD/Blu Ray
- Afraid of Sunlight delux edition vinyl

 (and yes, they are different, and yes, you really do want both so check the listing for both.)

Marillion are heading out on tour in November with "Friends From The Orchestra", beginning November 1st with a sold-out show at Liverpool Philarmonic and following on with Nottingham, Manchester, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Bath, Oxford, Glasgow, Gateshead, Southend, Cardiff... and then two nights, yes TWO nights, at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Check here for all dates and locations and try to find a ticket somewhere along the way. Haven't seen them live, yet? You're a fan just waiting to happen. I'll see you there.

More Marillion photos here

The Feast of 2019: listen to all of these

Corey Taylor, vocals, Slipknot
Corey Taylor, Slipknot, Chicago Open Air 2016 OLD MASK!!!
Late 2019 is turning into a celebration for fans of the heavier side of music - and through the success of albums so far, the new music is coming to the ears of those who might not previously have heard. In August, Slipknot's We Are Not Your Kind knocked Ed Sheeran from his perch to take the number one in the UK album charts, the first metal band in four years to top the pile in the land where heavy metal began. And, incidentally, Slipknot's first UK number one in eighteen years. And then of course they did the same in the USA, reaching the top of the Billboard album charts.

Slipknot wear masks and put on an incredible live show. The masks (not the one above any more - new ones) elicit emotion: fear, laughter, ugliness, nightmares, and that of course is intentional. If you've never listened to Slipknot yet because of the visual image, think again. Listen to the music somewhere different: a walk on the beach, when roaming through an art gallery, while shopping in the supermarket. Find the music first - the appreciation of the not-faces comes later. My photographer brain wants to see the musician's emotions and I had to get past that to the sound... it's a learning, and I learned to really appreciate this band in all it's incarnations. Loving We Are Not Your Kind!

Maynard James Keenan, vocals, A Perfect Circle
Maynard James Keenan, not Tool, Aftershock 2017
Then Tool... Tool's Fear Inoculum, the long-awaited, very long awaited ... really, let's not count the years, let's just bathe in the sounds, let's just drown in the music. Entering the UK album charts this week at number four, in Kerrang!'s rock chart at number one, (and if anyone can tell me how to understand Billboard's myriad of ridiculous classifications I'd give you the placement there too), it's an album for the years - who cares how long it took? While Tool are being interviewed by metal magazines this one should be on the playlist for anyone who reads PROG too; it's a delight.

Jonathan Davis, vocals, Korn
Jonathan Davis, Korn, at Aftershock 2016
Then... coming soon, and with a new single "Can You Hear Me" in my inbox yesterday afternoon UK time, on September 13, Korn's The Nothing arrives. I may be gone for some time, listening to that one... check out the interview in this week's Kerrang magazine (and some beautiful photos too), you'll have to buy the mag to read it. The Nothing will be a personal and dark collection of songs - don't expect any stone to be left unturned. My soul hurts already.

Mark Tremonti, guitar, Alter Bridge
Mark Tremonti, Alter Bridge, Houston Open Air 
Alter Bridge release Walk The Sky on October 18th... another one to add to the preorder list if you haven't already! And check tour dates just about everywhere in the USA and Europe - just make sure you pick the Manchester on the correct side of the Atlantic, if that's where you're planning to see them. Or heck, go to to both. I might.

Johnny Stevens, vocals, Highly Suspect
Johnny Stevens, Highly Suspect, at the Boardwalk, Orangevale, CA
Another album to anticipate this year: Highly Suspect will release their third album, MCID, on November 1st. With a couple of songs - 16 and Upperdrugs - already out, it's going to be special. (While listening to 16 did keep wanting to ask, "are you sure???", because DNA and bloodlines can do some strange things...) With their November tour dates in the UK and France sold out seemingly within seconds, if anyone has a clue how to get hold of two billets for either show, please let me know.

And guess what??? Four out of these five bands (and many, many more) will be performing at Sacramento's Aftershock Festival, October 11 - 13th, three days yes three days of huge music, wonderful music, fun, friends, food and festival. Go check out the lineup to see which three... and then hurry up and buy your tickets, there are only a few left... it's going to be an incredible weekend. So much good music. Be there!


- Aftershock Festival
- Slipknot
- Tool
- Alter Bridge
- Highly Suspect
- Alison Toon Photographer: Music