Remember I said that the WWE NXT at Aftershock would need it’s own post here? Well, here it is.

I don’t follow NXT, so I was a little clueless as to who everyone was, but I’d never been to wrestling before and I had a gap between bands so thought I’d give it a go. And I’m so glad I did.

I caught two matches. The first was between Alexa Bliss and local (San Jose) favourite and NXT Womens Champion Bayley.

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There was SO much love for Bayley in the crowd, it must have sucked to be Alexa.

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As expected, Bayley won.

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Anyway, Alexa vs Bayley was entertaining, but the real highlight was Samoa Joe vs Baron Corbin. As with the Divas, everyone was rooting for the local guy, Samoa Joe from Huntington Beach.

It was a little more interesting this time though, as Corey Taylor was in the audience and had a little altercation with Baron Corbin, which I’m sure everyone has seen or read about by now.

corey

Photo by Adam Cleland

I was lucky enough to be sitting right behind Corey in the audience (and we spoke/touched which is why I didn’t mind that I missed out on the meet and greet with him!) so I had a perfect view. And I think my videos are pretty decent. They won’t be anything you haven’t seen by now, but give the main one below a little watch if you like.

I also went to WWE Raw in San Diego on the Monday, so more wrestling here!

L xx

All photos and footage my own unless stated otherwise.

Saturday was my first proper day at an American festival. Ok, yes, I’d been to Knotfest before, but that was kind of just a huge, glorified 3 day Slipknot gig. Aftershock is more of an all round type thing – if I had to compare it to a festival in the UK, I’d say maybe Download? Although it has more cool different stuff like you’d find at Reading and Leeds, but the line up is a little heavier.

aftershock

Anyway, Aftershock is hands down my favourite festival I’ve attended, and I actually wish we’d camped and stayed for the full duration. But nevermind. We actually ended up at Aftershock purely by chance in the first place – the original intention was to just go to Knotfest, but I’m not really into Judas Priest (who headlined day one of Knotfest) and heard Slipknot were playing Aftershock so thought, why not?

aftershock2

There is so much I need to cram into this post, that I don’t really know where to start. I’d normally do chronologically but it just won’t work here, so I guess I’ll go by topic.

The Music

Seems a good place to start, right? Since the music is why I was there and everything.

Aftershock had some great bands on the smaller stages. I say smaller stages, there was only one ‘small’ stage, the others were just three main stages in different places. Two of them were actually directly next to each other, so you didn’t really have to move for the last couple of bands (Shinedown and Slipknot) if you got a good spot kind of in the middle (which obviously I did).

stagesSo, the smaller bands… I was a little distracted by other stuff earlier in the day, so I didn’t see that many until later on, but I did catch a bit of Beartooth, Seether (I always forget I like Seether – although the radio station we listened to in the car for the rest of the trip, Octane, basically had them on repeat so they are now stuck in my head) and Breaking Benjamin (I’ve never really got into them).

The first band I really paid attention to were Clutch. Which, if you know me personally, may make you laugh a little as I have been so resistant to liking Clutch for like, forever. But when I saw them at Download this Summer, I had to admit they were pretty good. And they kind of blew me away at Aftershock. They played on the smallest stage, the Coors Light stage, which was in such a beautiful setting, it was kind of nestled amongst trees, on the other side of the arena to the other stages. So standing back a bit, watching Clutch, in the sun, with gorgeous scenery – well that was pretty perfect, and not an experience I’ll ever have back home.

clutch

Next up were Bring Me The Horizon. Have we established on the blog yet that Bring Me have been my favourite band for about ten years now? Admittedly I prefer the older, heavier stuff, but the new album still works for me – and it really helped get me through a heartbreaking Summer this year. As always, they were so, so good. It really surprised me how well received they are in America, and the amount of Bring Me shirts that I saw on people was great. As per their Reading performance this Summer, a lot of the crowd didn’t seem to know anything much pre Sempiternal. When they left some lyrics out during Chelsea Smile, just like they did at Reading, no one shouted them back – in fact I think most people actually didn’t know anything had been left out. It didn’t spoil it though, and I have to say I really respect Oli for not Americanising for a US audience, he still kept with his accent despite most of the crowd not having a clue what he was saying!

bmth

One of the good things about the VIP area was the big screen showing whichever band was playing – and, while I think of it, one of the good things about Aftershock was that there weren’t really any band clashes, at least not later in the day. So I watched Marilyn Manson on the screen. Not much to say about him really, but he was better than the last few times I’ve seen him.

I also watched a bit of Shinedown on the screen before heading back out into the crowd for Slipknot. Shinedown aren’t a band that have ever gripped me – some of their songs aren’t band, but they’re kind of background music for me, the kind of music I can get away with playing in the car when I’m driving my Nan around without her complaining.

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And then it was Slipknot. As I think is pretty obvious, I love, love, love Slipknot. But I have to admit, and it may be the sound at the venue, I’m not sure, they weren’t at their best at Aftershock, which was a shame. I still enjoyed it though – I’m one of those people who isn’t over fussed about sound quality at a gig/festival, it’s more about how much fun I’m having. And despite by this point being jet lagged and exhausted, I was still having fun so it was all good.

Sorry there are pretty much no music photos past Bring Me, I tend to get lost in the moment and not take photos. And the ones I do take are generally a bit rubbish anyway, so it isn’t much of a loss.

Jack Daniel’s Experience

I’m not sure exactly when I started drinking a lot of JD, it only became my drink very recently, but I think it’s become kind of obvious. So of course I went into the Jack Daniel’s Experience truck – a mobile museum with some interesting facts about Jack, a display showing whiskey dripping through charcoal (it mellows it apparently), how it’s aged and stuff like that.

jdcharcoal

I did learn that Jack was the same height as me and we have the same shoe size! And he died after getting an infection from breaking his toe when he kicked a safe in frustration.

jdaging

I had a nice chat with the guy in the museum, who liked the JD Meat & Whiskey hat I nabbed at the JD x Vice event a few weeks back (it is the best hat ever, so obviously he liked it!) and he told me that in some parts of America you can’t actually buy alcohol! Including in Lynchburg, Tennessee where JD is made.

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Outside the truck was a JD bar with generous servings. So Saturday was obviously a good day.

Crazy Dave’s Music Experience

This was an ‘interactive exhibit’ in a large tent where they held meet and greets – I missed Corey Taylor (he and Oli are the only people I’d bother seeing) because I was busy drinking JD, but you’ll see a future post that I didn’t end up being so sad about that.

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Other than that it pretty much just sold instruments and accessories. Nothing too exciting.

guitars

Although I thought this skeleton hand guitar grip was pretty cool.

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Make Your Mark

Dividing the main arena from the outside part of the VIP area was a cool graffiti wall, with a load of spray cans so you could do your thing. I didn’t actually know at the time, but there was a famous graffiti artist there called Vyal from Risk Rock Studios. I didn’t know there was a thing of famous graffiti artists. Actually, would Banksy count? Is Banksy graffiti? Anyway, that’s totally not the point, just check out the pretty UV wall in the dark.

makeyourmark

Lawn Games

There was mini golf which I missed (I LOVE mini golf), but I was adopted by a bunch of guys who showed me a playground game called Cornhole in the Sacramento Kings area where you throw bean bags into a hole on a special board. Surprisingly I didn’t totally suck. They were convinced I was faking my British accent though… Actually, I get that a lot. Weird.

Vendors

As well as the usual alternative clothing stands you’d expect, Aftershock had a few more interesting vendors.

Hands down my favourite was Rock Out For Rescue – a collaboration between Take Me Home and A Dog’s Life Rescue in which they go on tour at rock festivals, selling ROFR merch and raffling off prizes. I’m a massive dog lover and advocate for rehoming, so this is a cause I really believe in.

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And the designs were awesome! I bought a hoodie (which is the softest thing ever!) with a French bulldog in Ozzy style round glasses and a studded collar graphic, and a Get Licked shirt which one of the lovely ladies at the stand cut up and weaved for me. I love it.

getlicked

At Aftershock they were raffling off some cool prizes, including a guitar (signed by Corey Taylor, Marilyn Manson, Jim Root, Gary Holt, Alex Skolnick, Lizzie Hale, Chris Wayne and Michael Wilton), special bottle of Angels Envy and signed drumheads.

rofr1

Another favourite was Mosh It Up Clothing. I actually saw their Adventure Time parody shirt on someone the night before at the Aftershock pre party and thought it was awesome.

adventuretime

Image from https://moshitup.myshopify.com/

They kindly gifted me one of the Back To The Moshpit shirts, which got me loads of compliments when I wore it later in the week. You’ll see it popping up in an outfit post soon!

moshitup

Another stand I loved, and one I couldn’t buy anything from because I would never have got it home in one piece, was a collaboration between three artists; Sean Dietrich, Kai Martin and Erik Arreaga.

They actually each produced a print for a triptych exclusively for Aftershock.

triptych

Here are a few prints I particularly liked…

lastsupper

hotvapes

oz

zombie

WWE NXT

This deserves a post all of its own so have a looky here.

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VIP Area

The VIP area, in association with Thunder Valley Casino Resort, was pretty handy. Nothing spectacular, but it did have shorter queues for the bar, bathrooms and food trucks.

Have a selfie of me in the VIP tent, because y’know, I’m always being told I don’t post enough pictures with me actually in them. It’s hard when you’re by yourself at things. Maybe I should get a selfie stick? Sorry, gone off topic again…

aftershockvip2

Anyway, the VIP area – It also had loads of tables and seats, and a screen showing whichever band was on at the time, with cute haybales in front of it to sit on. Which was quite nice when I wanted a break from the crowds.

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It also randomly had chandeliers. Which I quite liked.

Would it be worth paying extra for? Not really, but I wouldn’t turn it down. A VIP ticket is about the same cost as a standard UK festival ticket though, so maybe? Well, that was indecisive.

Food

I won’t post too much about the food, as I have done a whole post about the food I had here. But I will leave you another picture of the INCREDIBLE grilled cheese I had from Drewskis.

tricycle

I had such an amazing time at Aftershock, and would definitely consider going again!

L xx

All photos my own unless stated otherwise.

 

 

I love my food, so this will be a long post! I had planned on just doing one food post for the whole trip, but that’s just not going to be possible…

Day One – Airport Food (Amsterdam, somewhere over the Atlantic and Seattle)

Ok, so technically this isn’t really US trip food (at least not until you get down to the McDonalds, haha) but I like to be concise.

I started the trip with a breakfast pretzel from Starbucks at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. It was AMAZING. I love pretzels, and I love pretzel bread even more. This one was filled with prosciutto, provolone and sun dried tomato spread. Why does England have the dullest Starbucks options in the entire world? Trust me – more Starbucks to come.

pretzel

We flew with Delta for the main flight, and I have to admit the food wasn’t bad for plane food. I’m not someone who’s particularly negative about plane food, although after an awful food experience with Swiss to Tokyo I tend to take my own snacks. But Delta provided a decent chicken option, and it was served with a pretzel roll – and we’ve already established how I feel about pretzels.

Do you like my attempt at making plane food look semi decent…?

delta

Delta also provided a really good vanilla ice cream pot swirled with chocolate. I don’t normally like vanilla or chocolate sauce but this was crazy good!

My final meal of the day, and my first in actual America, was at McDonalds at Seattle-Tacoma airport. I went for the chicken bacon club – it was way better than anything I’ve ever had at a McDonalds before, anywhere in the world (I have this thing about trying the McDonalds in every country I visit). Even the bun was a soft brioche – delicious.

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For my drink I tried the sweet tea I always see Americans raving about. That was a mistake.

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Oh, and obviously I grabbed a Starbucks for the final flight from Seattle to Sacramento. I went with the Beast Mode frappuccino – a special created with Marshawn Lynch (the running back for the Seattle Seahawks) which I assume is unique to Seattle? Anyway, Beast Mode is the name of his clothing line.

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With mocha and mint and topped with matcha and berry drizzle, it looked really pretty, and had extra protein powder. Which obviously I really need in my diet, but whatever.

beastmode

I love how, in America, they’re so supportive of their local sports teams. The McDonalds at Sea-Tec was covered in Seattle Seahawks flags, and wreaths in their colours.

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We couldn’t have that over here, places would just get vandalised by the fans of opposing teams. And that kind of behaviour people of England, is pretty much why WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. Rant over.

Day Two – Sacramento & Aftershock

Obviously when in America you have to go to Denny’s right? And with it being October, and me being the pumpkin obsessed basic white girl I am, I had to order the pumpkin pecan pancake breakfast. They were delicious and pretty much tasted like Christmas. Another reason England sucks – severe lack of pumpkin products.

dennys

I should have just got the pancakes on their own really, but I went for the full breakfast which included eggs (mine were over hard – I’d never heard of that before, only over easy), streaky bacon and hash browns. I love American hash browns.  But, SO MUCH FOOD.

I kind of regretted the big breakfast because I love festival food, and American festival food is a million times better than British festival food (are you seeing the trend here? USA>UK, haha!). So I only managed a sandwich at Aftershock.

drewskis

But it was an AMAZING SANDWICH. The ‘Tricycle Sandwich’ from Drewskis food truck (which has apparantly been voted Sacramentos best food truck three years in a row – and I see why!), it was described as the ‘ultimate grilled cheese’ containing cheddar, havarti and swiss cheeses on sweet French bread. And of course I added bacon.

tricycle

Actually, looking back, I didn’t actually eat that much for me on day two. Especially considering the numerous JD cocktails… Oh well.

Day Three – En route to San Bernardino & Knotfest

So I made up for Saturday’s minimal food on Sunday… We didn’t bother with breakfast but stopped off en route for my favourite, Carls Jr. I normally go for the teriyaki burger at Carls, but this time I tried one of the thickburgers. It was good. And I’m crazy for the fried courgette (or zucchini as they like to call them).

carlsjr

Last time I went to Knotfest I was really impressed with the food – the Chinese and Mexican stands were amazing. I’ll touch on this a bit more in an actual post about Knotfest, but those exact same food stands were there again this year in the exact same places! So for lunch I went for orange chicken (orange chicken is yet another thing I love that we don’t have here in England).

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And for dinner I went for Mexican from the truck in the VIP area. Carne asada quesadilla, yum. You can tell by the picture I was a little worse for wear by this point… I think I just really wanted to get my favourite Black Milk Clothing lace up leggings in the picture, haha!

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I also really, really like the drinks available at Knotfest – cocktails made with Coldcock Whiskey and Ole Smoky Moonshine. LOVE. I keep meaning to buy some of the moonshine to bring home, but I can never find anywhere that stocks it!

olesmoky

So that’s days one to three, check out the next instalment!

L xx

All photos my own.

 

Some of you may have noticed I’ve been AWOL for a bit, having been on an epic mini American festival roadtrip which I’ll likely be boring you to death about with posts for the next few weeks.

I may as well start by telling you about day one, so here goes! We had a ridiculous 16 hours of travelling from London to Sacramento (via Amsterdam and Seattle). It started off quite interesting, on the first leg of the journey (London to Amsterdam) I was sat next to an ex convict who was being deported back to Ghana. We actually had a really nice chat, about mistakes, positivity and looking to the future. His crime wasn’t horrific, and I believe in second chances – I think he was pretty happy that I didn’t just recoil away from him in horror when he told me his story! He’s actually keen to give blogging a go – to help get him through an unwanted move back to a homeland he hasn’t visited in almost 20 years.

And I had to take a picture of these really cool pillars at Sacramento airport…

sacramento

Anyway, I digress. As soon as we’d arrived in Sacramento, picked up our hire car and checked in to our Motel 6, we headed straight to Slipknots Scream Park where they were holding a little pre party for Aftershock Festival.

hoh

Image from http://www.hellorhighwaterofficial.com/

We’d missed most of the bands, but were in time to watch Hell Or Highwater – a band I’ve never come across before but really enjoyed. It was quite a bizarre setting for a gig to me, it was basically a stage in a parking lot. Everyone was so into it, none of this standing at the back on your phone that I’m used to seeing. It felt really American!

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I spent ages trying to figure out why the vocals were so familiar, and then I realised it was Brandon Saller from Atreyu. We had a nice chat after the show, and I even bought one of their shirts for $10. Bargain.

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Image from http://www.hellorhighwaterofficial.com/

Onto the bit I was looking forward to – Slipknot’s Scream Park. I love Halloween, I love horror, I love being scared and I love Slipknot. So it couldn’t really fail, right? But if I’m honest it was a bit of a let down.

slipknots scream park

For what it was – just 3 horror mazes, it was decent. Not hugely scary, although the clown following you around in Clown’s Playhouse was creepy as.

sspcp

I guess I just had higher expectations? Named the Best Haunted Attraction in the West by Forbes, and being described on the site as ‘produced by the twisted minds of Slipknot, Slipknot’s Scream Park features outrageous haunted houses and live horror entertainment.’ I was anticipating a bit better production, a bit more elaborate settings and for it to be not just in a pitch black empty building. I thought it would have some atmosphere, a bit of smoke setting the mood, or some people in costume wandering around making people jump. Still, I had fun, and I’m glad I went.

You can check out the trailer below if you’re interested…


L xx

All photo’s my own unless stated otherwise.