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American Nightmare, Coliseum, Thought Crusade 

When: Thu., June 6, 7 p.m. 2013
American Nightmare’s Background Music, like Converge’s untouchable Jane Doe, came out in 2001 through Equal Vision Records—and also like Jane Doe, it perfectly encapsulates the blistering hardcore of an era when scrawny fanboys in their early 20s made sport of climbing over one another to grab at the mike and scream along to their favorite bands’ tormented love songs. Where Converge might drop the occasional eerie slow burn or intricate, metal-infused lick, however, American Nightmare took a more direct route, relying on blunt riffing, frenetic speed, and bludgeoning guitar chug. What made the band unique during its original six-year run (they broke up in 2004, after changing their name to Give Up the Ghost in ’03 to appease a similarly named band) was front man Wesley Eisold, now of Cold Cave, who had a knack for tapping into the psyche of forlorn black-T-shirted hardcore kid number six just as easily as that of forlorn black-T-shirted hardcore kid number 72; his bleak, starkly personal lyrics just so happen to work pretty well as shout-along couplets. I can’t even ballpark the number of times I’ve mouthed the lines “Everyone I ever loved / Went down in history” and “North, east, south, west / I gave you my very best.” This reunion show, one of a handful over the past couple years, is occasioned by an upcoming documentary on the band, as well as by the late 2011 reissues of Background Music and 2003’s We’re Down ’Til We’re Underground by the Deathwish Inc. label (run by Converge front man Jacob Bannon). —Kevin Warwick Coliseum and Thought Crusade open.

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