Thalia Hall Chicago
Friday 2/21/20

So here’s the brief background with Wesley Eisold and American Nightmare:
In Februaruy 2000 Wesley Eisold, singer of American Nightmare, self- booked their first show ever in a church in Portland, Maine, setting a precedent for the band’s relentless DIY ethic, touring and releasing music until American Nightmare one of the most important and influential hardcore/ punk bands of the last two decades. The band’s volatile mix of traditional American hardcore, English influenced attitude, and Eisold’s emotional lyrical prose set a new creative standard for the worldwide hardcore community.
Their sphere of influence is far reaching, serving as the bellwether to the giants of punk, metal/hardcore, and even mainstream music. American Nightmare began in 2000 as a band that defied styles, trends, and even names. After releasing several EP’s and two LP’s, the band split in 2004 before reforming in 2011, with Eisold forming Cold Cave in the interim which grew to be a force in the goth and industrial scenes. American Nightmare returned to the studio and released a self recorded and self titled album in 2018, touring to continued sold out shows. American Nightmare redefined the hardcore scene musically, visually, and most of all, lyrically. To call American Nightmare an iconic hardcore band is an understatement bacause at this point, they are legendary.
So here we are in February 2020 and American Nightmare have embarked on a 20th anniversary tour, with a stop at Thalia Hall in Chicago, with support from Ceremony from California.
Ceremony are no slouches either in embracing hardcore, and yet their brand of music is much more than that definition.
Sure, Ceremony can be abrasive as all get out, like American Nightmare, igniting the fury in their audience to open mosh pits at a moments notice, without much incitement.
It just naturally happens with these two bands.
Having said that, with Ceremony, you can tell that their tastes in music can dive deeply into post-punk as well, with a nod to Joy Division as well as TSOL, and even some flavors from Christian Death.
That’s all ok in my book, with the members of Ceremony dressed sort of normal, except for Guitarist / Keytar player Anthony Anzaldo, who’s more rock n’ roll renegade in the dress wear.
And that’s fine and dandy , because like American Nightmare, these guys can definitely play.
American Nightmare is: Wesley Eisold, Josh Holden, Brian Masek, Alex Garcia-Rivera and Jim Carroll.
Ceremony is: Ross Farrar, Anthony Anzaldo, Andy Nelson, Justin Davis and Jake Casarotti.
Great sets from both American Nightmare and Ceremony, from Thalia Hall in Chicago.
Nice to know that Thalia Hall’s main floor can withstand a beating from the constant mosh pits that opened up the entire evening.
Cheers- Bobby Talamine – Music Photographer


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