American Nightmare kicked off a month-long coast to coast tour last night (February 13) at Royale, a celebration of their 20 years as a band. With Boston-bred heart-on-sleeve tracks like “There’s a Black Hole in the Shadow of the Pru,” they began as a pivotal band on then-burgeoning record label Deathwish Inc. In the two decades since, they’ve changed names, split up, and moved to different corners of the country, but their impact here and elsewhere remains strong. With a freshly released EP, Life Support (out on vinyl today), the band moved through their catalog to deliver a visceral 50-minute set that had the packed floor of the venue screaming along with raised fists.
Ceremony is the support for the entirety of the tour. The Northern California band started the night with a brilliant set full of cut throat hardcore tracks mixed in with more post-punk synth bits from their August 2019 release In the Spirit World Now. Guitarist Anthony Anzaldo brought out both a Keytar and Bauhaus-ian goth swagger. Throughout the set he grew increasingly exhibitionist, ultimately exiting the set in stockings and underwear. With singer Ross Farrar jumping into the crowd to sing with fans, the intense set felt like a bandaid being torn off in all the best ways.