"The Boat Dreams From the Hill." That's it. Of course it's "Boat." The first song that Jawbreaker plays live in 21 years, a song of yearning for one's more active days, of a new life, and of beginning again — that's how they start their set.
And of course it's at the Ivy Room — a tiny 200-capacity dive bar in the East Bay with neon signs and a broken bathroom sink. Not at the Civic Auditorium, or the Warfield Theater. Just a small get-together with friends, a warm-up for their Riot Fest date, a chance to drink and hug and catch up: we're having this party, please come.
In a short seven-song set, it's like nothing has changed for Jawbreaker since their last tour in 1996. Chris cracks jokes and scratches off a lottery ticket between songs. Blake recites "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by Keats and waxes rhapsodic about The Cure's Disintegration. Adam anchors it all in propulsive fills. They are still good. Damn good.
"While you've been having children and suffering in the real world, I've been in my cryochamber thinking of material for this comeback."
Reunions are, by nature, as much a reflection on how you've aged as any aging on the band's part. They play "West Bay Invitational," and it hits you. Maybe you still see Jawbreaker on four hours' sleep like you once routinely did, but now, you're not tired from drinking Oly, smoking GPCs and talking shit on the back porch — you're tired from working past midnight and spending the entire day in meetings. Why try to gauge if Jawbreaker changed? We all changed.