Friday, May 02, 2014

FDF Volume 3 Issue 336 - Jawbreaker - Live 4/30/96

Album – Live 4/30/96
Artist - Jawbreaker
Key Players – Adam Pfahler – drums. Chris Bauermeister – bass. Blake Schwarzenbach – vocals and guitar.
Produced By – Scott Bradley (live recorded) mastered by John Golden

Release Date – November 2, 1999

Overview - This is a live album released from the New York City (then California) based band Jawbreaker. Considered one of the biggest influential bands of the 90's emo scene the trio would gain a steady fan base and the band would find themselves opening for Nirvana in 1993. That tour had the band thrust in to the spotlight and they'd sign a major label deal. Fans didn't care for that move and the band, dealing with some internal issues would dissolve by 1996. This album was recorded (on the date) at the Warfield in San Francisco California.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The live record opens with Blake telling the audience that “tomorrow is the first of the month and before you say anything else you are supposed to say Rabbit Rabbit”. I knew a woman at work who used to do this, so it was rather comical to hear this. They launch in to “Jinx Removing” after the quick count off from Pfahler and its off to the races. Bauermeister has a great bass sound and they chug along quickly. “Save your Generation” starts with Schwarzenbach singing just with his guitar for a verse before the band joins in. Pfahler rumble across the drum kit and Bauermeister attacks the bass line, the band is in fine form with a tight and clean sound.  "Ashtray Monument"   is dedicated “to your parents” and its another quick attack of bass guitar and drums. Schwarzenbach might not have the widest range vocally but for the bands sound it works just fine. The longest track on the record (over 6 minutes) comes in “Accident Prone” a much slower than usual track for the band. Bauermeister has a great ring to his bass and its fun to listen to with the clean line. It builds and swells and it takes the audience on a ride for sure. The band really shines on quick blasting songs like  "Boxcar". In under 2 minutes they drive a catch hook at you and get your whole body moving. A great mid set track for sure. They follow this up with “Gemini” is the lone “new” song on the album in that it was not on any of the other releases prior to this live collection. Blake says its dedicated to folks of the Gemini persuasion. It has the same driving back beat and chugging bass line that makes their sound both familiar and unique with this punchy bass.   "Parabola" is dedicated to “mean people” and after a short intro from Pfahler it becomes the Bauermeister show. The bass line on this track just slays me personally. The back breaks on the drum line keep this track interesting and with its steady groove. “For Esme” is the track that ends the show this was recorded from. It is a rowdy affair and a perfect track to close out the set. As noted “Shirt”, which closes out this album, was not recorded on the same night. The mix is a slight bit off and the drums sound a bit more tinny but it doesn't take away from the fact the band means business and they seem to fire off one another in this quick rolling track.

Where are they now?  Once the band broke up the band went on to various projects. Schwarzenbach toyed with DJ work as well as some freelance writing. He formed Jets to Brazil (97-03).
Bauermeister returned to retail work and then joined a Chicago band “Horace Pinker”
Pfahler worked in a video store and played in band J Church. More recently Schwarzenbach taught English, fronted the band “Thorns of Life” and now is in a new band the Forgetters. Bauermeister performs in the Mutoid Men. Pfahler still works at the video store and works on releases of the Jawbreaker catalog.

FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting Off? - Yeah, its really pretty solid. I have to say I was late to the game with this band, although I did see them live. To read that fans turned their backs on them when they'd play the new stuff live is sort of odd. A good stepping offf point, the band is in fine form on this collection and gives you an idea of what you'd be in for if you decided to dive deeper in to their catalog.

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