If they had played on the main stage, American Nightmare may have repeated another Refused episode, watching the response from the crowd. They were playing on the smaller Hill stage on Sunday night, and they triggered a violent aftershock following the thunderous Earthquake of the Swedish band.
Sort of protected on the side, I witnessed the same series of kids crowd surfing, arriving in the pit drenched in sweat, and having their round of victory while running to exit the pit. The band was giving sonic assault over sonic assault and the crowd went nuts, throwing bodies over the barricades, building a terribly mean mosh pit that forced me to stay on the side of the stage during the whole time of their set. It was surreal to see these insane kids landing more or less on their feet in the pit, and literally jumping right away in the mayhem with the biggest smile on their face,… what were they looking for? More bruises? More nose bleedings? And the most surprising of all this? There were a lot of girls doing it!
The band, which reunited recently, seemed to be the not-to-be-missed-hardcore-thing, and they sure delivered with a powerful rage, rising hell in a few seconds in front of a giant American flag as the stage background. Frontman Wesley Eisold, looking thin and a little creepy, was screaming like a maniac with a disillusioned tone, American nightmare turning into American psycho, there was definitively an atmosphere of danger floating above our heads; despite my sore legs (it was the evening of the second day), I was thinking about finding the force to run away if necessary, testing my fight or flight response.
While the band, quite detached, was making back and forth raging waves on stage, the young crowd was responding with more furor as if they were having a crisis due to raging adolescent hormones suddenly injected in their blood, yeah they were that young!
American Nightmare was hardcore as people can only imagine it, and a fury you had to see live to believe it. The band and the fans stopped as suddenly as they had started and everything was back to normal.