I have a considerable archive of images of live shows that have for one reason or another never been published before, so I have decided to start sharing some of those because why let them just sit on a hard drive or in a box of 35mm negatives? I will share photo sets as I have time and as I sort through things (as some of the older parts of my archive are very disorganized) and write up any details I may remember from the particular show. Stay tuned for more…
For this first throwback, I wanted to share my images of Jawbreaker from March 30th 2019. I shot two shows back then, one of which was published in Dying Scene, the other didn’t have a home (which I don’t remember why now), so they’ve kind of just been hiding out orphaned on my external hard drive for two and a half years. I always felt this was the stronger of the two sets, and did include a few of the images in a print show I did in 2019, but this is the first time the whole set is being published.
This was the last show of that particular tour and just my second time seeing Jawbreaker and Pohgoh, the first having been just a week before, though I’d seen War On Women several times prior. I am just a shade too young to have seen Jawbreaker in their first run and to quote myself from my recent International Lefthanders Day post:
I don’t have a cool story about how I got into Jawbreaker, I found them on MTV, that’s it. Not going to lie and say I magically saw them at Gilman in 92 when visiting a fake older cousin who snuck me in or anything, it was definitely on MTV. And while I never got to see them play during their first run and was aware of them for about five minutes before they broke up, I did discover them in the 90s at least. Back then, my world was smaller since I was a kid who didn’t have internet access (the web was also a much smaller place at that time anyway and there was no digital social media), and I had a limited amount of places I could go in the early to mid 90s; I couldn’t go to shows (and didn’t really know where any where happening anyway) but I did have a portal into the world and that was through music magazines and late night MTV.
It was watching 120 Minutes one night late in 1995 that I came across Jawbreaker and seeing a lefty guitarist on screen definitely made me perk up. I ended up really enjoying the song and wrote down the name of the band, song, and album as one did in those days. I had never heard anything quite like them at the time so I saved up my extra lunch money and made my way to a cd store (probably in the mall) and bought a copy of ‘Dear You’. I immediately loved the album and became obsessed with it for several years to come. I had no idea til much later that there was any drama surrounding the band or the album or them signing to DGC or opening for Nirvana, none of it really. I just knew I had a cool cd by a mysterious (at least they were to me) and awesome sounding band that none of my friends knew about that ended up breaking up not long after I got the album. I used to write a little piece about them in every issue of my high school zine too; I was in deep for a few years there!
Over the years I did get to see Blake play in both Jets To Brazil (need to dig out those 35mm negatives) and forgetters, but nothing was really going to do it for me until I saw Jawbreaker. I really never thought I’d get that chance until all of a sudden they re-united in 2017 and 2018. Those tickets sold out in a flash and I was really bummed to miss out, but figured I’d eventually get to a show at some point, I was definitely not ready to lose hope. And it worked out because a year later I did get to see them and I was able to much more easily get tickets. Honestly looking back now too, I’m glad I missed the insane rush for the initial shows because it was a lot less crowded and intense so more enjoyable overall because I could fully engage with the songs in my own way. I was able to see them twice on that 2019 tour and shot both shows which was an absolute dream come true for me as a fan and as a photographer. It has been unclear ever since if they will write and record new music, but here’s hoping that they do.
This really was a dream come true as Jawbreaker was, and still is, such a crucial band to me. I learned so much about playing drums by playing along to their songs and just trying my best to mimic what I was hearing. I spent so many hours listening to them and memorizing lyrics and wishing I could go see them, but never thought I’d have the chance. To finally have it happen at 38 was sure a long wait, but better late than never and totally alright by me. Nothing can compare to seeing a band you’ve loved for so long live and it was everything I’d hoped for and expected.
I used to stare at the pictures in their records wishing I could have taken some of those pics, so it was really important and special to me to get to make my own images of them finally; those earlier images were part of what inspired me to pick up a camera in the first place. To get to do/experience all of this and also have it paired with Pohgoh, another indie/emo band that I had been marginally aware of in the same era of the late 90s (via the Deep Elm Records Emo Diaries comp series) but never got to see, and the spitfire hardcore of War On Women, one of my favorite bands, just made it even more incredible of a time.
Scroll down for more pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)
WAR ON WOMEN