You will hear a lot of opinions about bands that do reunion shows, you get people that love them but you will also get the critics.
However when you have one of the most prominent hardcore bands of the late 90s – early 00s reforming for two sold out shows in London you know you cannot afford to miss the chance to go see them.
There had been a lot of talk before the show regarding the venue, one for the fact there was a barrier and secondly because by hardcore standards this was a ‘big’ venue.
The size of the venue became apparent when opening band Grieved played to a half empty hall. I think it is always going to be hard being the opening band supporting a band of American Nightmare’s status.
However, the band from Sweden tried to put in the best performance they could, but unfortunately the sound wasn’t doing them any favours. All you could hear was the tinny sound of the snare with a hint of distorted guitar thrown in every so often.
As a fan of heavy music you can appreciate what Grieved were trying to achieve, with influences shining through from bands such as Cursed and Rise and Fall.
Whether it was the crowd weren’t interested or the sound just didn’t carry in a half filled venue it seemed that Grieved went down like a bit of a lead balloon. That being said they did have a one man mosh crew who was front and centre at the front of the stage throwing some shapes.
Though that being said there was a bit more of a positive vibe shown towards Glasgow’s finest Departures.
Now this is a band I have wanted to see for a long time, and when they started I was really glad to hear them playing older material – from and album I absolutely love – but as their set continued it just seemed to dwindle and almost just faded out.
I even heard one disgruntled member of the crowd at the end of their set proclaim ‘Well that was fucking shit’.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that, they were energetic and their last song did bring about some crowd participation, but very much live Grieved there was just something missing.
It may have been the anticipation that I was about to finally see a band I grew up listening too that had an affect on this but once the Scotts had left the stage the waves of bodies began to gravitate towards the stage to Witness on of Boston, Massachusetts finest.
From the moment that American Nightmare stepped foot on stage, the crowd was putty in their hands. Exploding into a straight 40 minute onslaught.
Ok yes there was a barrier which took away a little bit of crowd interaction, but there was still bodies going crazy for every riff that hit – in particular for me when AM/PM start I went nuts.
Considering all members of AN are approaching 40 there was no rest bite between songs as they ploughed through there set with ease and as if they had never been apart.
I think what humbled the whole experience for me was there was no self indulgent ‘Its great to be back London’ etc. It was just ‘Yo here we are and we are going to blow your minds’.
The only short break came in the form of a small instrumental interlude but even then they didn’t stop for air before blasting into the final leg of their set.
Even though AN are playing at a smaller venue with no barrier tonight, and it may be a better show, for me personally this was everything that I wanted from them and I couldn’t have walked out with a bigger smile on my face.