American Nightmare played the Paradise – 1/6

Boston hardcore vets American Nightmare kicked off a 20th anniversary tour for their debut full-length Background Music with support from Chemical Fix and Gel.

I don’t imagine it’s gonna be a very busy winter for live music around these parts. Plenty of January/February tours are pushing to the spring or scrapping their early 2022 plans entirely, which is a complicated combination of disheartening and totally reasonable. Some acts are soldiering on though, and I’ll be out there documenting as safely as I can under the circumstances as long as that’s the case.

One such tour would be American Nightmare’s short run of dates performing their celebrated first LP front-to-back, which wrapped up its East Coast dates in Philly over the weekend and heads west in a few days. The record in question, 2001’s Background Music, is a thesis statement for the band’s moody brand of hardcore laid out across 23 furious minutes. It’s also a distinctly Bostonian piece of work, so it was only fitting for this anniversary celebration to kick off in the literal shadow of the Pru. (You can see it from the sidewalk outside. Close enough.)

Plenty of Background Music‘s 11 tracks are setlist staples for the band anyhow, but it was fun to hear them in sequence alongside a few deeper cuts broken out for the first time ever. The crowd was perhaps not as voluminous as it might’ve been under non-Omicron circumstances, but that certainly didn’t restrain anyone’s ferocity on or off stage. This band always brings it, and their devotees do, too.

American Nightmare also boast a pretty stellar track record of tourmates (I’ve seen them share a stage with Pissed Jeans, Ceremony and Spiritual Cramp in the past), and brought that on Thursday as well. Jersey punks Gel opened the night with a tensely-coiled set, and Philly’s Chemical Fix tore the roof off with a particularly vicious followup. Check out photos of all three bands below.