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Festival Recap: Sick New World dominates Las Vegas with massive second year event

The second installment of Sick New World descended on Las Vegas last Saturday with record breaking crowds, high velocity winds and a stacked lineup of hardcore and metal acts to satisfy every type of fan. Long lines of attendees snaked down Las Vegas Boulevard sporting all black- despite the oppressive heat- along with plenty of eye-catching makeup and face paint as an homage to their favorites on the lineup. Atlas was in the middle of the action all day and we’ve captured the weird, wild and wonderful from the 2024 event.

The Good, The Bad and The Heaviest of Breakdowns

Sick New World ironed out many of the kinks from last year’s inaugural event in a strong attempt to build an even better experience for the fans- and for the most part, this was a success. Attendees had plenty of food options, hydration stations were placed strategically to prevent anyone from running low on water and the grounds were mostly wide open to allow the massive amounts of traffic to pass through from stage to stage. However, lines to get in were long and slow-moving and some fans were disappointed to find the wait times prevented them from catching some of their favorite acts early in the day.

Once inside the gates and under that iconic archway, however, the possibilities were endless when it came to bands to check out throughout the event. With five stages running concurrently, every corner of the festival had a new act to choose from. The Red and Gold main stages housed some of the biggest names in hardcore and metal and had fans on the rail all day waiting for the headliners.

Meanwhile, those looking to find their next favorite hardcore act threw down at the Diablo Stage under the canopy- plenty of sweat and bloodshed was seen in the pit that never stopped moving. Moving towards the corner of the grounds landed fans at the Spiral and Siren stages for mid-level favorites, many of whom drew huge crowds of their own as the day progressed. 

Sleeper Favorites

Undoubtedly the best part of any festival is discovering your next favorite band- a diamond in the middle of an insurmountable lineup. This year, Atlas endeavored to visit each stage to stumble upon our next favorite and we found some gems in our search.

The Diablo Stage was the place to be for “real” hardcore- the vocals and breakdowns practically shook the canopy off of its foundation and we found plenty of incredible acts worth your attention. Atlas favorite Drain had the golden hour slot and vocalist Sammy Ciaramitaro threw out all the rules as he left the stage to become one with the roiling crowd. Prior to their set, fellow SoCal heavyweights Sunami also brought the breakdowns with a set that couldn’t help but pull people in as they walked by.

We also couldn’t miss Russian deathcore group Slaughter to Prevail. Emerging to stunning late afternoon light on the Spiral Stage and clad in their signature chrome masks, the band made the journey to Vegas and their crowd did not disappoint. Frontman Alex Terrible antagonized his audience throughout the set with his aggressive vocal stylings and demands for movement in the crowd. 

Golden Hour Hardcore

Having to choose between Danny Elfman and Knocked Loose proved a nearly impossible task but Atlas simply never misses a Knocked Loose set and we were not about to start on Saturday. Rumors that Poppy would be joining the band for a performance of their latest song, “Suffocate”, turned out to be true and that was only one small highlight of a perfect set. We saw more than a few moshers exit the pit covered in blood and didn’t miss a minute of the action.

Next door on the Spiral Stage was theatrical heavy band Motionless In White (and previous Knocked Loose tourmates). In their signature horror-inspired makeup, the band whipped their growing crowd into a frenzy, looking for any “Sign of Life”. Chris Motionless was ironically a blur of motion, stalking across the stage and leering at the audience during “Thoughts and Prayers” and “Slaughterhouse”.

Main Stage Madness

From the moment gates opened, a flood of fans rushed for the main stages to post up for the fest’s biggest names. Throughout the day, these fans saw the likes of Primus (and their hastily purchased replacement gear as theirs was stuck in Colorado), Babymetal, Bring Me the Horizon, Slipknot in their 1999 red jumpsuits and the almighty System of a Down.

Babymetal had the heat of the day in their faces but still melted faces with a high-energy set that had the crowd chanting with the gusto of a playoff game. The three diminutive rockers were backed by a stellar band and their tightly synced choreography for one of the most memorable sets of the day. They made an incredible reappearance later with Bring Me the Horizon for a glass-shattering live collab on “Kingslayer”.

Speaking of Bring Me the Horizon, the British metal group was by far one of the most anticipated sets of the festival. Their new AI mascot introduced the set and took the band and the fans on a journey through the matrix as they played “Kool-Aid”, “Shadow Moses” and “Drown”. “Can You Feel My Heart” is always a crowd favorite and the singing from the crowd could be heard several stages away. They closed out their direct support set with “Throne” to make way for the kings of the evening.

System of a Down made a rare live appearance to headline Sick New World this year and the Slipknot crowd was more than happy to stay put and catch the performance. With two hours to mess around, the group played an astounding 27 songs and gave the audience everything they could want and probably a little more after the exhaustion of the day. The band is as offbeat as ever, joking around onstage and playing all the fan favorite songs.

Sick New World is shaping up to be a solidly permanent Las Vegas installment and if the crowds are any indication, there will be massive turnout every year for this kind of lineup. Whether you’re ready to mosh all day, bleed for your favorite band or just enjoy the music at your own pace, Sick New World cultivated every experience for every type of fan. Atlas will be back next year to jump in the pit and find your new favorite hardcore group and raise our voices with the next amazing lineup.

Cover photo credit: Valeria Avalos