Asbury Park, New Jersey (March 22, 2018) – The day after a nor’easter blanketed most of the tri-state area with over a foot of snow, New York bands, Nightmare of You and I Am the Avalanche, trekked to the Jersey shore tonight to play their first shows in the United States since 2016. As the snow melted outside and flooded the sidewalks and streets, concert-goers lined up outside the House of Independents for their chance to see the bands on their first date of a three-date mini tour together. There were no opening acts, and both Nightmare of You and I Am the Avalanche played full sets for the attendees.
Following the break-up of The Movielife in 2003, singer, Vinnie Caruana, formed the punk-rock band, I Am the Avalanche, while guitarist, Brandon Reilly, formed the indie-rock band, Nightmare of You. While both bands played together in the past, Caruana told the crowd that tonight was the first time since 2005, that he was able to watch Nightmare of You play live.
Although I have seen I Am the Avalanche live in the past, tonight was my first experience listening to and seeing Nightmare of You. To say that I was not disappointed would be an understatement. Formed in 2004 in New York City, Nightmare of You currently consists of founder Brandon Reilly (vocals/guitar), Joseph McCaffrey (guitar), and Michael Fleischmann (drums). Tonight, Nightmare of You chose to only play songs from their 2005 self-titled album, in track order, and the crowd ate it up. The influence of 80’s British indie acts, such as Morrissey, The Smiths, The Cure, and Echo & The Bunnymen could clearly be heard throughout the set. The juxtaposition between the dark lyrics and upbeat vibe of their songs endeared Nightmare of You to the crowd and encouraged them to dance and belt out every word in tandem with Reilly, which they did. Even those that clearly came to hear I Am the Avalanche were enthralled by the emotion behind Reilly’s vocals and the precision of McCaffery and Fleischmann’s musical collaboration.
While Nightmare of You got the crowd dancing, I Am the Avalanche got the crowd kicking, screaming, and flying. Formed in 2004 in Brooklyn, I Am the Avalanche is comprised of Vinnie Caruana (vocals), Brandon Swanson (guitar), Michael Ireland (guitar), Brett “The Ratt” Romnes (drums) and Kellen Robson (bass). Swanson previously left the band after their holiday show in 2014; however, the full, original line-up of I Am the Avalanche got back together to play these three dates with Nightmare of You.
As soon as I Am the Avalanche walked on the stage, the crowd went nuts, pushing towards the stage and ready to scream along to crowd favorites, such as “Holy F**k”, “The Shape I’m In”, and “Brooklyn Dodgers”. However, technical difficulty with Swanson’s amp at the beginning of their set forced the band off the stage, only to reemerge to the same, excited screams and cheers they met moments before. Swanson later asked the crowd if they ever had a dream where they showed up for class without pants on because that is how he felt when he encountered the issues with his equipment in front of everyone tonight, only he was wearing pants. Someone in the crowd responded that Swanson was wearing “too many pants!”
Fans crowd-surfed onto the stage to sing with Caruana, only to dive off the stage onto the crowd below and repeat the process. “You’re my favorite of the night,” Caruana said, pointing at a girl that just finished crowd surfing. He told the crowd that he was impressed that she did not spill her drink after landing awkwardly on the stage monitor. “I’m married, young lady,” he joked.
Caruana told the crowd that if they were upset that the band did not play a song that they wanted to hear, the band initially toyed with playing full albums in their entirety, rather than playing songs off each album. Luckily, we got a range of songs from every album, including “New Disaster”, “Sympathy”, “Amsterdam”, “Gratitude”, and “177”. Caruana told the crowd that playing these songs is “so much fun,” as he jumped and danced around the stage, smiling ear to ear. The rest of the band could not help but smile at each other as they listened to the crowd scream the lyrics to every song at them. The band was having so much fun that they refused to leave the stage before their encore of “Wasted”, “My Second Restraining Order”, and “Brooklyn Dodgers”. Instead, they continued with the show without a break and joked that they would just start the show all over again, which met loud cheers from the crowd.
I Am the Avalanche is as good today as they have ever been and for most of us, the nostalgia provided by seeing them live once more cannot be replaced. After the show, my friend thanked me for convincing her to attend the show on a weeknight because it was so worth every bit of sleepiness that we would feel the next day.
While neither band has announced any further dates outside of their shows at the Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 24, 2018, and the Gramercy Theatre in New York, New York on March 25, 2018, Caruana and Reilly are set to go on tour with the reunited Movielife this summer on the Sick Tour 2018 with New Found Glory, Bayside, and William Ryan Key, formerly of Yellowcard.
Nightmare of You:
“The Days Go by Oh So Slow”
“Dear Scene, I Wish I Were Deaf”
“My Name is Trouble”
“Why Am I Always Right?”
“I Want to Be Buried in Your Backyard”
“Ode to Serotonin”
“In the Bathroom is Where I Want You”
“The Studded Cinctures”
“Heaven Runs on Oil”
I Am the Avalanche:
“I Took a Beating”
“This is Dungeon Music”
“The Gravedigger’s Argument”
“I’ll Be Back Around”
“The Shape I’m In”
“My Second Restraining Order”
Photographer: Kristen Derr
Journalist: Ashley Vaivada