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Sick New World Festival Rocked by System of a Down, Deftones, Korn, and More: Recap and Photos

Incubus, Evanescence, Mr. Bungle, Turnstile, Ministry, and more also played the massive one-day Vegas event

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Sick New World recap and gallery
Korn, System of a Down, and Deftones (photos by Raymond Ahner)

    This Mother’s Day weekend featured the mother of all nu-metal gatherings. Tens of thousands of fans came together under the 90-plus degree desert sun to witness System of a Down (performing their only scheduled show of 2023), Korn, Deftones, Incubus, and dozens more at the inaugural Sick New World festival on Saturday (May 13th) in Las Vegas.

    Early birds stormed the gates at 11 a.m. to start their day indulging in options like Korn Koffee or a cold Deftones Phantom Bride IPA. Fans flocked in the heat to and from the Spiral, Sick, Purple, and Green stages, being led by demon motifs. Nightmare Before Christmas-chic goth and a blend of Spencer’s Gifts and Hot Topic-inspired attire was the fashion of the festival. Eclectic tattoos, colorful hair, Happy Bunny tee shirts, and piercings galore dawned on the bodies of the diverse fans, young and old.

    Alien Ant Farm wished fans both a “Happy Birthday” and “Happy Mother’s Day” as they performed electric renditions of their songs “Courage,” “Movies,” “Wish,” and their signature cover of “Smooth Criminal” featuring CeCe Peniston’s ’90s dance classic “Finally” as an outro.

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    Despite intermittent and apparent sound issues, Lacey Sturm’s joyful return to Flyleaf after 10 years away from the band made for a highly anticipated set of the day. Sturm’s screaming high notes and stinging vibrato were hit or miss in cutting through what sounded like blown-out speakers, as the band performed “Again,” “Fully Alive,” “I’m So Sick,” and “All Around Me.” Next up, P.O.D sounded larger than life playing their hits “Boom,” “Youth of the Nation,” and “Alive” featuring a surprise guest vocal appearance by Tatiana Schmayluk of Jinjer (whom they toured with just last year).

    As the scorching mid-day sun began to set in, fans may have been starting to feel “so sick” from the heat, many participating in an exodus from the main stages to the shady tents for a reprieve.

    From there, Papa Roach commanded attention with a surprise appearance by Hollywood Undead during their song “Swerve” and played all the crowd favorites including “Getting Away With Murder,” “Scars,” and “Last Resort.” Turnstile immediately followed with their inspiring mix of hardcore punk (“Real Thing” and “Holiday”) and melodic groove (“Don’t Play” and “Fly Again.”) After their Coachella festival debut last year, it’s easy to see why Turnstile are one of the most exciting live acts around today.

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