Jawbreaker | Riot Fest, Chicago | 9/17/17

Jawbreaker at Riot Fest

After 21 years of hibernation, Jawbreaker finally reunited for a rabid, sweaty, somewhat older crowd at Riot Fest in Chicago. 

It's taken me a few days to fully process everything from that day. Also, I'm still having trouble moving my right shoulder after a collision within the madness of their crowd. Not sure what I was thinking there.

Anyways, my expectations for the show were pretty high to say the least. After talking with Blake for our first episode and seeing the videos of their smaller San Francisco shows, I was pretty excited to see one of my favorite bands for the first time. 

The whole thing/day felt sort of surreal though. Waiting for an hour while Prophets of Rage blasted out their collective greatest hits, the whole spectacle of the dark stage, the smoke machines, the large banner; it was a bit jarring at first. As soon as the band came on stage and opened with "Boxcar," pure joy ensued. The crowd collectively lost its shit. 

I felt like my feet weren't on the ground for the first two songs. I remember thinking to myself how it was pretty tough breathing as they went right into my favorite song of theirs - "Sluttering (May 4th)." 

After a few songs though, the crowd did a collective, "We're too old for this" and things sort of slowed down and we could all appreciate the set without elbows in our necks and guts. 

I kept looking around during the show. One to avoid the bozo in front of me who decided she needed to film :30 seconds of every single song they played with her iPhone but also to look at people's expressions.

People just seemed super, super happy. Thinking back to the interview, this seemed to be all that Blake wanted. There is so much messed up stuff happening in the world right now so it was just great to disconnect for an hour and watch a band I never thought I would ever see live. 

I also kept thinking about what it must have been like to witness this from the band's standpoint. Playing their biggest show ever and playing songs from Dear You that might have been "panned" back in the day - only to have them screamed back at them 20+ years later. 

As with the Replacements reunion a couple years back, this just felt like a celebration. There is no need for hyperbole or grand statements about how they were the greatest band in the world that night. It just felt like Jawbreaker getting their due and playing an amazing show to adoring fans who traveled far and wide to see them.

Did they play everything I wanted to hear? Of course not but it didn't matter. They played and sounded incredible. It was all I wanted. I really hope the band gives it a go on the road but if this was it, it's a memory that will stick with me forever.