Tonight: The Thorns Of Life will play a show at 924 Gilman in Berkeley.
A band at a venue, simple as that. And so much more than that.
Blake Schwarzenbach was the front guy for Jawbreaker, a band that defined a lot of the early 90s for many a Bay Area punk. The band's sound was one of bad decisions, sleeping in strange places, getting your heart smashed that first time, withering recriminations, and trying to catch that last BART towards home. It was late night in The Mission, walking home after midnight in bad weather, illicit East Bay rooftop parties, early spring honeysuckles and hand-written notes. The band's songs cut deeper into the listener as years lengthen.
Jawbreaker broke up. The music kept spreading. Blake had another band. They were poppier-ish (there were keyboards involved) and Blake's skill with words shone again. Then back to college/teaching he went. Now he's back in music with a veteran-staffed three piece band making punchy tunes. Old punks all around the Bay are shuddering under their faded tattoos in sheer anticipation of seeing/hearing this new iteration of Blake.
There's been shaky hand-held YouTube clips, the band near-mythical in them, like sighting a far-off cryptid.
Now The Thorns Of Life are here.
They've been at Hemlock, they've been at Thrillhouse, and tonight they take the stage in that tiny graffiti-filled concrete box where wonderful things happen.
Get there early, old punks.* Photo by "Shanty" Cheryl Groff via SFWeekly.com