It feels like only yesterday that New York-based Jawbreaker made that big commercial splash onto the emo-punk scene with their one and only major label LP, Dear You. Despised by a great majority of their purist pre-fame fans at the time of release, over the years the record has grown to cult-classic status with the very base that made that 1995 album the bane of their existence. Fast forward to present day, and the men of Jawbreaker have lost a step or two, or maybe even three. Regardless, trekking out on tour to promote a 25th anniversary reunion of the very record that upset many hardcore fans and having that same audience come out in support is pretty punk.
“Fuck, it has been such a long, long time since we played here in Atlanta,” notes lead singer and guitarist, Blake Schwarzenbach. Nonetheless, the saying goes: absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that very sentiment could be felt in the air. The nearly packed house was all up in their feelings of nostalgic love as the punk threesome delivered song after song. Choruses sang in unison between band and onlookers was the theme of the night. “A near miss or a close call, I keep a room at the hospital,” you know the line, just like the hundreds or thousands on hand between those Tabernacle walls on this given night. It played out like a thing of beauty, a nod to what could have been, a celebration of what is.
Now in their fifties, the Jawbreaker triad seemed at ease with their showmanship. Nothing flashy or outlandish, just sheer musicianship and giant backdrop banner spelling out the moniker. The body language more relaxed-dads than rebellious-twenty-somethings, naturally; however, sporadically, flashes of yesteryear passions would take over. An extra half-step here and there, or that slight dash of rocker idiosyncrasies were met with rowdy cheers and cheek-to-cheek smiles. Why not, right? The entire point of a concert is to get lost in the music and the moment.
All said and done, from the opening notes of Boxcar to the closing lyrics of Chesterfield King and throughout the 16 tracks in between, the Jawbreaker trio brought back the early ’90s punk funk. For a moment, let’s forget about the break ups, let’s forget about the record-less years, and let’s just remember that on this night we relived, reminisced and roared to the tunes of one of the defining albums of the genre. Something to be grateful for. Cheers!