On Tuesday night American Nightmare, the legendary hardcore punk band made its return to Cleveland for the first time since the band reunited in 2011. By all standards this was the first “American Nightmare” show in Cleveland ever, as the previous shows in 2002 where billed as the bands other name – Give Up the Ghost.
The band made fast work of The Beachland Ballroom crowd, from the opening cords of “Love American”, the crowd was moving and flying. The rest of the 23-song set remained the same, the crowd was all over the place – on the stage, on the floor and in the air. Hanging on every word and waiting for their chance to yell into front-man Wesley Eisold’s mic.
Most of the fifty-minute set was dimly light and dark, which is a perfect companion to the music and lyrics of the songs. A lot of hardcore bands seem to use the tactic of flare over the musicianship, AN seems not to subscribe this. It can be hard to pull off vocally and musically but the band nailed it and seemed to perfectly hone the craft of a live set while not losing their edge. The set was short, in your face and to the point. Hopefully American Nightmare (or Give Up the Ghost) will be around for a long time and it’ll be less than 18 years before they play in Cleveland again.
California five-piece Ceremony opened the evening with a varying set, they started with “Turn Away the Bad Thing,” an “indie-synth” song followed by the band’s signature punk / power violence song, the set went back and forth between the two styles the band does and does well. They were the perfect opener setting the stage for the headliner.
Tuesday night’s show at the Beachland will be a contender for one of the best one-two punch of music I’ll see for a long time and is it a must-see tour for hardcore music lovers.
Review by Troy Smith
Photo credit : Andy McKay