You must have heard that Give Up The Ghost né American Nightmare reformed for two shows in the USA late in 2011, right? Maybe not. . It was a very exciting announcement, by all accounts. AN/GUTG are one of the seminal hardcore bands of the past decade and if you’ve never heard about them, here’s Tom Doyle telling you why and how you should and could.
Luckily, our man on the ground on the Eastern Seaboard, or whatever those Yanks call the Greater New York area (maybe that?) was there. Yeah, Dan Pelic went to the show in Revere, Massachusetts and he actually saw Ryan Gosling. He also saw American Nightmare or Give Up The Ghost or whatever you want to call them. He didn’t make a funny Tumblr about either thing but has written a review telling it how it is…
Six things we discovered when we saw Give Up The Ghost reunite in Boston:
1) Among all the fanfare prior to the show, was the “super secret” opener factor. We heard everything from Converge, to Modern Life is War, to No Warning, to Blood For Blood. We got Salvation, Colin of Arabia, and All Pigs Must Die. The second two are excellent bands of course, but while they’re still slightly underwhelming compared to the rumours, it was right for the focus to be purely on the headlineres.
2) The band and 1,500-strong crowd are equally excited to be there at the beginning of the set. However, the band becomes increasingly tense as the set wears on, giving the show a forced and unnatural atmosphere. Indeed, Wesley Eisold seems oh-so-emotionally freaked out by the whole affair. When the band actually calls the set short after the double threat of some serious technical difficulties and a fan attacking another on the floor, the crowd begins to boo. Thankfully, the band thicken their skin enough to play two more songs. It shouldn’t be this difficult.
3) The pussy-fication of hardcore can die for one evening. American Nightmare are sloppy, due the stage appearing to be more of a launchpad for flying attendees than a space for the band to play. The crowd – spurred on by their old favourites back in town – have little-to-no concern for their safety and the venue doesn’t enforce any sort of rules as far as crowd-surfing, stage-diving, and head-walking goes. There were some good fights as well, especially after the show was over. Classic… Macho as fuck.
4) The sound is shit. It would have been wise to get someone who knows how to mix sound for a hardcore band for tonight. The older looking fellow they call the “house soundman” looked like he would have been better off mixing The Grateful Dead. One cannot expect the sound at a hardcore show with a hundreds of kids making their way on and off the stage over the course of the set to sound immaculate but this is absurd. I’m talking about guitars being panned all the way to the left or right for entire songs, and only the vocals being on while the natural sound of the amps was left to fill a gigantic room. It is a mess and it’s one that could have been avoided.
5) The merch is underwhelming. One design on a t-shirt in black or white and the same design on a pullover hoodie. Considering this was to benefit a charity called Shirts for a Cure, you’d expect some NICE SHIRTS. All we got was that up there.
6) Regardless of any shortcomings in the production, we cannot be ungrateful. We are seeing American fucking Nightmare play again. While watching their set and filtering out the notion that this is a big fucking deal, it really does seem like a big fucking version of the band’s shows back in the day of their prime. [Here’s an OLD Drowned In Sound review where Give Up The Ghost played with people who are now in Wolves Like Us] The set list was short, sweet, and purely divine, spanning their entire catalogue. It had all the right ingredients for a great show, at least.
PS. Ryan Gosling WAS really there, albeit not moshing, but pretty close to the stage… you star-fucking, tabloid reading cunt.