Riot Fest pulls off another coup: Jawbreaker’s first public performance since 1996

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Jawbreaker - COURTESY OF RIOT FEST
  • Courtesy of Riot Fest
  • Jawbreaker

Hell must have frozen over last year, because Riot Fest managed to convince Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only to tolerate each other long enough for a partial reunion of the original Misfits. This morning the festival made its first lineup announcement for 2017, and it's pulled off another triumph in the improbable-reunion category: Jawbreaker, who broke up in 1996 after guitarist-vocalist Blake Schwarzenbach and bassist Chris Bauermeister got into a fistfight. This legendary pop-punk trio (with drummer Adam Pfahler) helped build the Bay Area’s unparalleled early-90s underground scene, drawing a fiercely dedicated fan base—an outspoken faction of which derided the band for signing to DGC (which released Dear You in 1995).

An amicable reunion seemed like the last thing we could hope for from Jawbreaker, but people never stopped hoping—not least because the band had a monumental influence on punk, pop-punk, and emo. I wrote a novella-length oral history of my favorite Jawbreaker album, 1994’s 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, for a 2015 issue of The Pitchfork Review, and needless to say, I’m stoked to see them play their first public set in more than 20 years—they wrap up Riot Fest on Sunday, September 17, and I might camp out for a good spot in July.

Riot Fest takes over Douglas Park for three days beginning Friday, September 15. The other big headliners are Nine Inch Nails on Friday and Queens of the Stone Age on Saturday. Also high up on the bill are New Order, Paramore, M.I.A., and Prophets of Rage, the supergroup featuring members of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill. Riot Fest veterans Wu-Tang Clan return for another go, and the Beastie Boys’ Mike D will perform a DJ set; other hip-hop acts announced so far include Action Bronson and Chicagoan Vic Mensa.

Among the other locals are Ministry, the Lawrence Arms, the Orwells, Real Friends, and Knuckle Puck—and I imagine that number will grow when the organizers announce the rest of the lineup in May. As usual Riot Fest has booked plenty of repeaters (hello again, Gwar and Andrew W.K.), but I find it hard to complain too much about that when the bill also includes Bad Brains, Peaches, Alice Bag, and TV on the Radio.

Three-day passes for Riot Fest go on sale today at noon. Below I've listed every act announced thus far, and where possible I've linked to previous Reader coverage:

Jawbreaker
Queens of the Stone Age
Nine Inch Nails
New Order
Paramore
Prophets of Rage
M.I.A.
Wu-Tang Clan
Mike D (DJ set)
A Day to Remember
Gogol Bordello
Taking Back Sunday
Vic Mensa
Dirty Heads
TV on the Radio
Ministry
Dinosaur Jr.
New Found Glory
Death From Above 1979
Bad Brains
FIDLAR
Action Bronson
Pennywise
Built to Spill
X
Peaches
The Lawrence Arms
Mighty Mighty Bosstones
The Orwells
Bayside
Say Anything
Mayday Parade
Streetlight Manifesto
Dead Cross
Minus the Bear
The Menzingers
Liars
Gwar
Buzzcocks
GBH
Real Friends
Hot Water Music
Shabazz Palaces
Andrew W.K.
Fishbone
The Story So Far
State Champs
Four Years Strong
Beach Slang
The Cribs
That Dog
Knuckle Puck
Chon
Slaves
The Hotelier
The Flatliners
Dessa
Saul Williams
Nothing More
Alice Bag
Tobacco
Sleep on It
Downtown Boys
Engine 88
The Smith Street Band
The Regrettes
HDBeenDope
Gazebos
Kitten Forever

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