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Nightbeast: The Most Misleading Name Since Incubus

Things That I Didn’t Anticipate Saying In 2022: Oh my god, that Sheryl Crow cover was so f***ing lit!

I will start this review by telling everyone I know from the 937 that had knowledge of Nightbeast prior to February 26th, 2022, that I now have serious beef with you. It’s unethical to keep these kinds of secrets, especially when the band puts on such an incredible live show. I grew up outside of Dayton, for those of you who don’t know. I have spent a great deal of time in Dayton throughout my entire life. I have also spent a sizable chunk of my time this week trying to figure out how I haven’t heard of Nightbeast before and why I feel like I may have crossed paths with at least three of its members at some point in my past. In fact, my most significant critique of Nightbeast is that they don’t have a website or the band members’ names listed on social media. How am I supposed to discuss your individual contributions to such a charismatic performance or determine if we have any mutuals?

Nightbeast was the surprise of the night. Every Friday, I preview music from various bands playing in the area to help me decide which shows I should see. Now, 500MTM had already made my shortlist because of my friend at Punkerton Records. I knew I wanted to feature them on the site before Hell Is Ohio Fest and after sampling The Undergrads, I was convinced that the show at Summit Music Hall would be my best option for the night of Saturday, February 26th. I simply assumed Nightbeast was just another nu-metal or hardcore band with unintelligible lyrics that I would pay lip service to with a single paragraph within a more comprehensive review of the entire show.

Turns out I was wrong. In fact, Nightbeast was my favorite performance of the night. This band has it all: two killer guitarists, a dynamic duo of vocalists, a solid drummer that manages the breakneck tempo changes effortlessly with such spectacular fills, and a bassist who looks completely apathetic while laying down some robust rump-shaking rhythms. But what I think I loved most about this band is that they walk the line between unique and gimmicky like it’s a tightrope, but they never miss a step. Everyone was on beat, and the harmonization—especially between the two vocalists and a guitarist—was absolutely mesmerizing. I love that the band was so comfortable in their masculinity that members teased the audience by giving each other quick pecks on the lips or that they were unafraid to cover the most overly produced yet somehow unironically nostalgic Sheryl Crow song.

That’s right, whether you love to hate or hate to love Soak Up The Sun, it’s automatically stuck in your head the moment anyone unlocks it in your memory (You’re Welcome). So as soon as I heard those opening chords, I turned to my old roommate and my hubby and said, “Oh my god, are they about to play a Sheryl Crow song!?!”.

My husband let out a bewildered chuckle and responded with, “I doubt it,” but then my college roommate froze, and I saw a glimmer of recognition in her eyes. We both flashed back to the more innocent days of 2002 when the little ditty was a bright spot in our emo, post-9/11 worlds. They literally took one of the campiest songs and made it cool…like, actually cool. It was in this moment that it became clear to me that Nightbeast is my new gold standard for a party band. I hope we can start seeing this band on the Ohio musical festival circuit because if Nightbeast in on the bill, me and my entire crew are coming out to party. However, their Sheryl Crow cover was not my favorite song in their set. The band actually had me completely won over by the end of their second song. In fact, “She’s Bad (So Wicked)” is quickly becoming one of favorite songs of all time.

There’s this trope in music, that I like to call the “Girl Drives Me Wild” song. Buckcherry’s vomit inducing and undeniably trashy “Crazy Bitch” is the ultimate of example of how problematic and toxic this trope can be. However, Nightbeast has found a way to take this trope and turn it on its head. With “She’s Bad (So Wicked)” somehow found a way to make this style of song unproblematic, mature, even wholesome without losing its rollicking party rock tone that makes those songs so energizing in the process.

Nightbeast closed their set with Ryan Malott of 500 Miles to Memphis joining them on stage for a song, as if the band needed any help giving us the rock star treatment. Ryan Malott sung his heart out during the tune showcasing a swatch of his incredible vocal range that he didn’t get to demonstrate during his opening set with 500MTM. Seeing how much both 500MTM and Nightbeast, two radically different bands, hype each other has me hyped to make the drive to either to Dayton or Cincinnati to see them both on the same bill again.

I hope to see both bands numerous times this coming summer and I hope you all join me. Until then, check out “She’s Bad (So Wicked)” now.

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