Tomorrow night, Boston hardcore legends American Nightmare are getting back together to play two back-to-back shows for a sold out crowd. These two dates were specifically chosen at Orange County's legendary DIY sauna/music venue Chain Reaction.
The band's breakup in 2004 was sudden, and, unlike their music, cold and emotionless. They cancelled a tour, issued a small statement and that was it. “We've always done what we want to do. We started a band because we wanted to. We stopped playing because we wanted to. And now we want to again,” says Wesley Eisold, vocalist for the band. American Nightmare's vivid imagery and borderline post-hardcore sound shaped the shrinking millennial hardcore scene and left a void that no band really seemed to replace.
Lyrically, Eisold captivated audiences on an emotional level. While not groundbreaking in the emo heyday in the early 2000's, this had really never been done in hardcore previously. With the band only putting out two full-length albums, fans always clung to Eisold's words. In 2007, three years after the breakup, American Nightmare filed a lawsuit against FM rockers Fall Out Boy who they accused of stealing their lyrics. The suit was settled out of court.
The band goes by two names: American Nightmare and sometimes Give Up The Ghost. The shows at Chain Reaction were announced using a flyer with the band's Give Up The Ghost logo, but no name. However on past reunion shows the band has been called either of the two names. “We never really know. We just show up and someone calls us something. ” says Eisold.
The band's choice for venues was strange, but not unheard of. Everyone from Touche Amore to Fall Out Boy, has played Chain Reaction as a chance to get to fans at a more intimate level. Eisold says "Chain is a part of the band's history. It always welcomed us and we played there may times. Since 2012, the shows we've played have been in larger venues. We want the intimacy now.” Getting back to play more shows this time wasn't a hard decision in the least. "Everyone loves playing together. It was mutual in five directions. Otherwise it would have never happened. Three of us living within a mile of each other in LA doesn't hurt either.” He said
Like many bands going through a breakup, the members of American Nightmare went on to work on different projects, some of which include Head Automatica, The Hope Conspiracy, and XO Skeletons. Going on his own, Eisold took to a new project called Cold Cave. This new band would be a dark industrial synth pop band that sounds somewhere between New Order and Nine Inch Nails but follows imagery and vocal cues that sound more like Ian Curtis worship. "The two bands are of different genres but from the same source. A lot of Cold Cave fans are from the AN days and we've grown up together.”
With the success of the band and the success of the reunion, American Nightmare might as well be back playing together full time–that is, if it weren't for all the new projects from it's current members. "Success is a really relative term. American Nightmare is quite successful in it's own right. When you make music you strive for connection in various ways. American Nightmare's connection with the people who love the band is successful, and meaningful. "
Although there are no upcoming albums, when asked about playing more reunion shows in the future, Eisold responded, "I hope so.”
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