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Jawbox began their reunion tour in Cambridge (pics, review, videos, setlist)

Following a warm-up show in Baltimore, reunited post-hardcore greats Jawbox properly began their first tour in 20 years at The Sinclair in Cambridge last night (6/14). Before the show even began, bassist Kim Coletta greeted fans waiting on line for the show outside the venue and chatted for a few moments right before doors opened, saying she was excited and nervous for the show, and then revealed that she had blown out her bass head during soundcheck but that “Bostonians really came through for me!” by bringing her two more as backups. To the delight of fans waiting up front, she shared a few quick stories about growing up not far from Boston and cutting her teeth on GG Allin shows before heading to college in DC because the music scene there was so good at the time.

When the band came on stage, J Robbins greeted the crowd by saying “it’s so lovely to see you” before Kim quickly informed everyone: “It’s J Robbins’ birthday today! He’s 28,” to which the assemblage immediately began singing “Happy Birthday.” J smiled sheepishly but was definitely flattered and said “aww you guys” before the band kicked into “Mirrorful” from their 1996 self-titled album to start their set. A few songs in, J quipped, “I was gonna say this is an old song but…”

The band attacked each song as if little time had passed since they were actively playing shows; Kim bopped and bounced with joy around the stage the entire set, J’s signature powerful powerful vocals cut through and centered everything, while both J and Bill Barbot’s nimble guitar work looked effortless and fun.

The crowd, mostly in the middle aged realm, remained largely subdued and were a mix of old diehards and folks slightly younger who seemed just a shade too young to have seen them in the ’90s. What was very obvious was this is a band that clearly meant and means a lot to the people who came out this first night of their reunion tour. Everyone was laser-focused on the stage in rapt attention and most were singing along to every song. The audience got a bit more animated towards the end of the set as the band slammed through some of the more energetic tunes in their catalog. A small pit opened during “Breathe” and “Cutoff,” the classic track from their 1992 album Novelty, and the band joked, “You got a little workout in!” Before they launched into the 1994 hit “Savory,” they took a moment to thank everyone for coming out again and sent the song out to the crowd saying, “we’ve been working towards this for a while, playing in a basement, and it’s really fucking cool that you came out.”

The openers for this tour vary by night, and all seem carefully curated to fit in with Jawbox. The opener for this show was Second Letter, a new-ish band with musicians who have a long history with the members of Jawbox and the hardcore/post-hardcore scene in general: drummer Peter Moffett was in Government Issue with J Robbins in the ’80s and also played in J and Bill Barbot’s post-Jawbox band Burning Airlines, and frontman Rob Haworth was in State of the Nation and Farside.

Pictures of the show are in the gallery above, and videos and setlist are below.

The tour continues with another Sinclair show tonight (6/15), and then hits Philly, Brooklyn, DC, LA, Austin, Chicago, and more. Other openers include The Velvet Teen, Shudder To Think’s Craig Wedren, No Knife, Motion City Soundtrack’s Justin Courtney Pierre, The Life and Times, and more. All dates and openers here.

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Jawbox at The Sinclair – 6/14/19 Setlist
Mirrorful
68
Desert Sea
Grip
Nickle Nickle Millionaire
Motorist
Tongues
Livid
Iodine
Cooling Card
Spoiler
Static
FF=66
Chinese Fork Tie
Won’t Come Off
Breathe
Cutoff
Reel
Savory
Cornflake Girl (Tori Amos cover)

Encore:
The Robbery (Drew O’Doherty cover)
Jackpot Plus!
Absenter

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