Three of the most popular female-fronted acts in hard rock are set to perform at the Aftershock festival in Sacramento.
We’re talking about Evanescence, the Pretty Reckless and Halestrom — led, respectively, by Amy Lee, Taylor Momsen and Lzzy Hale.
We definitely recommend that you catch all three of those Aftershock acts – especially Halestorm, which might just be the best hard rock band in the world right now.
Still, these three acts only hint at the staggering amount of talented female artists set to perform during the four-day festival set for Oct. 6-9 at Discovery Park.
The acts hail from all corners of the heavy music universe — from emo, alt-rock and industrial to pop-metal and more — but most of the artists aren’t widely known to the public.
That’s we’re we come in. We really don’t like the thought of fans missing, say, Dead Sara or Mothica simply because they haven’t been properly introduced.
So, here’s a roundup of the lesser-known female (or woman led) acts performing at the festival. We didn’t include the three biggies — Halestorm, the Pretty Reckless and Evanescence — but don’t take that as an excuse to miss their sets.
For more information about the 2022 festival — featuring headliners Slipknot, KISS, My Chemical Romance and Muse — visit aftershockfestival.com.
Thursday (Oct. 6)
Against the Current
The pride of Poughkeepsie, New York, this alt-rock troupe initially garnered attention from the cover songs it posted on YouTube not long after forming in 2011. Since then, ATC — which is led by singer-songwriter Chrissy Costanza and features guitarist Dan Gow and drummer Will Ferri – has released two full-length albums on the Fueled by Ramen label. The band rocks, but with more of a mainstream pop edge than most Aftershock acts.
Royal & the Serpent
The title of her latest album — “If I Died Would Anyone Care” — provides more than a hint of what you’re getting into if you dare to dive into the world of Ryan Santiago, aka Royal & the Serpent. The music is part Billie Eilish, part Nine Inch Nails, and wholeheartedly for all those who find Cradle of Filth just too darn cheery. Yet, wow, if it’s not impactful — as the New Jersey native brazenly battles her demons, her situations and, most frequently, herself.
No, we’re not talking about the similarly named country music group of the ‘80s — led by the great Rodney Crowell — although we’d definitely watch that one at Aftershock as well. Instead, we’re talking about the decidedly 21st-century cabaret act that brings, according to its website, “an entire new way to experience rock and roll music — combining daredevil arts with feminine power, fearless and dynamic performances feature dance, fire, aerial, grinding, stilt walking, and so much more.”
With the exception of awesome headliner Slipknot, there’s not a band on Thursday’s bill that we’re more looking forward to seeing more than this Los Angeles rock trio featuring vocalist-guitarist Emily Armstrong, lead guitarist Siouxsie Medley and drummer Sean Friday. The sound is a sometimes funky, usually commercial-friendly take on hard rock, making Dead Sara equally at home playing Aftershock or opening up for Demi Lovato.
Friday (Oct. 7)
Another act that is really high on our list to see is this hard-hitting heavy metal outfit from Tokyo. And you’ll likely want to see Nemophila too if you spend even a little bit of time with its catalog. Just go to your favorite streaming site and call up the 2021 debut “Revive” and see if you’re not banging your head to the ferocious rhythms within minutes.
Courtney LaPlante is a powerhouse vocalist, who can sound like Sarah McLachlan in one moment and then Corey Taylor of Slipknot in the next. And — come on — who doesn’t want to experience that? So make sure to check out this Canadian metal trio also featuring LaPlante’s guitar-shredding husband, Mike Stringer, as well as drummer Zev Rose.
Milkie Way (real name: Rachel Hastings) and Sam Matlock comprise this London-born electronic/nu-metal duo, which reportedly takes its moniker from the L7 song of the same name from 1992. Having formed in 2018 and released a number of singles, Wargasm delivered its debut full-length — “Explicit: The Mixxxtape” — earlier this year. Also, the band proudly waves its Limp Bizkit influence, with Way telling Revolver magazine, “We wouldn’t be the band we are today without them.”
Saturday (Oct. 8)
Eva Under Fire
The Detroit act, led by vocalist Eva Marie and featuring guitarists Chris Slapnik and Rob Lyberg, bassist Ed Joseph and drummer Corey Newsom, got its start in 2015 and quickly inked a deal with the Better Noise Music label. The group’s tuneful mix of pop, alt, metal and hard rock sounds should go over big with Aftershock fans — especially those who are understandably counting down the minutes until the mighty Halestorm also performs on Day 3.
TV viewers might remember Juliet Nicole Simms from Season 2 of NBC’s “The Voice,” where, under the tutelage of coach CeeLo Green, she performed a bunch of covers on her way to placing second on the talent show in 2011. That version of Simms isn’t as interesting as the current one, now that she’s rebranded herself as Lilith Czar and is belting out jagged-edged alt-rock numbers.
The Oklahoma City artist (real name: McKenzie Ellis) is a yet another TikTok success story, having watched her fan base multiply after a music clip she posted went viral on the app in 2020. Mothica delivers a very modern mix of emo, industrial and alt sounds, which can be heard on the 2021 EP “Forever Fifteen.” Also, we feel compelled to point out how much we love that her mother reportedly goes by the nickname “Momica.”
Sunday (Oct. 9)
New Years Day
There are more cool female-fronted acts on Sunday than any other day, so we’ll spin through them a bit quicker and kick things off with this Anaheim outfit that should appeal to fans of Halestorm. New Years Day is a veteran hard-rock act, which got its start in 2005, and is led by the force of nature known as Ash Costello.
Take a momentary breather from all the metal/hard rock and spend a portion of the final day of Aftershock 2022 watching one of the best ska-punk bands on the planet. This awesome L.A. act, which opened for Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy on the hit Hella Mega Tour, is led by magnetic frontwoman Aimee Allen, aka Aimee Interrupter.
Another hard-rocking all-female act from Japan, Band-Maid got its start in 2013 and has been incredibly prolific during its career — having released seven studio albums, as well as dozens of music videos, over the past eight years. The group’s most recent full-length was last year’s “Unseen World,” which was a top 10 hit in its homeland.
We dig the retro ‘90s alt-pop vibe of singer Carolesdaughter, aka Temecula native Thea Taylor, especially on the dreamy slower numbers. But we still wonder how she will resonate with the fans waiting for Zakk Wylde to take the stage and shred it up with Black Label Society.
The Villarreal Vélez sisters — featuring Daniela (“Dany”) on lead vocals and guitar, Paulina (“Pau”) on drums and Alejandra (“Ale”) on bass — started making music as kids in Monterrey, Mexico, reportedly learning some of the tunes simply by playing the Rock Band video games. The hard-rock trio has now released three full-length albums, including this year’s well-received “Error.”
The Texan had her first major taste of success with the bland pop single “Pretty Girl” in 2016, but then later transitioned into a more-interesting alt-rock sound. Whether she’s working in pop or rock, however, her vocal work remains topnotch.
When: Oct. 6-9
Where: Discovery Park, 1000 Garden Highway, Sacramento
Tickets: $149.99-$304.99 daily, $244.99 two-day pass, $399.99-$1,519.99 four-day passes; aftershockfestival.com
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