The highly anticipated Sick New World festival made its debut in Las Vegas this weekend, boasting a sold-out crowd. The scorching temperatures on Saturday were only matched by the blazing hot lineup, which featured a mix of nostalgic nu-metal classic bands and the most exciting up-and-coming names in rock.

The festival was divided into four stages across the Las Vegas Festival grounds. Concertgoers were treated to tons of festival food options, art installation pieces including a dome that blew fire at night, as well as plenty of shade options with cooling misters to help beat the heat. Beyond the stages, the merch tents were easily the most popular destination for fans as there was a steady line for most of the day. Fans also had the opportunity to purchase unique artist-branded products such as Korn Koffee and Deftones own IPA, aptly labeled Phantom Bride, from their song of the same name.

With almost 13 hours of music, the day started off early and strong with the Santa Cruz hardcore punk band Scowl and the “bimbocore” superstar, Scene Queen who did a fun cover of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl”. After that, I headed over to the Spiral stage to catch one of my favorite bands growing up in the 90s, Orgy. They played all my favorites including “Fiction (Dreams in Digital)”, “Stitches”, and their hit cover of New Order’s “Blue Monday”. Nothing says nostalgia like a good reunion and Sick New World brought out the big guns by bringing together both Coal Chamber and Flyleaf with original singer Lacey Sturm. Kittie brought a big crowd to the Sick stage and surprised fans with an epic debut of their new song “Vultures”. This is a huge treat to hardcore fans such as myself who are excited for a possible new Kittie album on the horizon.

I absolutely love indulging in the vibrant fashion scene at music festivals. It’s a captivating experience witnessing the younger generations embrace iconic 90’s and Y2K styles such as JNCO jeans, Tripp NYC bondage pants, and baby doll tees, all while adding their unique touch of creativity. It’s fascinating to witness the evolution and reinterpretation of these fashion trends in the modern era. Speaking of the younger generation, bands like Spiritbox and Turnstile undeniably commanded a massive following, drawing in throngs of enthusiastic fans to their sets.  I love to witness these rising artists on nostalgia-based festival lineups serving as a gateway of new metal (not to be confused with nu-metal) to the more seasoned festivalgoers.

Progressing through the afternoon we started getting a little reprieve from the heat as the sun started to set. Evanescence and Incubus took to the main Purple and Green stages respectively. During Evanescence’s performance, singer Amy Lee brought out P.O.D.’s Sonny Sandoval to help sing on the band’s most popular track “Bring Me to Life”.

The grand finale on the main stages saw the legendary Deftones, Korn, and System of a Down, delivering amazing performances that exceeded all my expectations. Korn took the stage around 8:40 pm with a giant screen in front showcasing mesmerizing graphics as they played “Rotting in Vain”. The screen lifted as the opening notes of “A.D.I.D.A.S.” reverberated throughout the fairgrounds. We could now see singer Jonathan Davis sporting his iconic purple sparkly Adidas tracksuit, which is very apropos for the song. Later in the set, Davis teased the crowd with his bagpipe playing abilities, which made fans go crazy as it was signaling the start of their song “Shoots and Ladders” from their debut 1994 self-titled album. Also, a fun little treat for fans on was the band including a quick cover of Metallica’s “One” mixed in with the song.

The wind started to pick up right before System of a Down’s set which sent the stage crew scrambling to lower the hanging line array speakers for safety purposes.  The wind was no match for System of a Down as they took to the stage around 10 pm.  The band started off heavy and strong with fan favorite, “Prison Song”. SOAD preceded to play a staggering 31 songs, including hits such as “Chop Suey!”, “Toxicity”, and “B.Y.O.B.” They even treated the audience to a rare live performance of the song “Peephole,” which had not been played in close to a decade.

Closing out a festival with System of a Down set the bar high for the next Sick New World, however, I have no doubt that should there be a second installment, it would undoubtedly deliver an incredible experience for fans of all ages.  I can only hope that the next one will be in the fall because the scorching May heat in Las Vegas is not kind to a fanbase where 90% of their clothing is black.