The three members of Jawbreaker sit on a couch together
Credit: John Dunne

It’s been five years since iconic New York punk band Jawbreaker reunited—though two of those were inactive pandemic years—so that now the band’s second run has nearly matched the length of time they spent releasing records together in the early 90s. Their current tour, originally planned for 2020, is a belated 25th-anniversary celebration of their fourth album and major-label debut, 1995’s Dear You (DGC). It’s a chance for Jawbreaker to celebrate a record that didn’t get its due upon its release, in the process highlighting the wide-ranging appeal they’ve always had among tightly knit underground scenes. Because Jawbreaker are supported here by indie-rock institution Built to Spill and local Jawbreaker worshippers Smoking Popes (plus comedian Irene Tu), their Chicago shows effectively bisect punk, emo, indie rock, and alt-rock all at once. These were all scenes Jawbreaker had a foot in back in the day, but (much to the chagrin of genre purists) they never fully conformed to any one of them. As much as this tour is a way for the band to finally play “Fireman” to a room full of receptive fans (in the mid-90s, they were sometimes heckled for playing songs from Dear You due to its major-label connections), it’s also a chance to remind people that Jawbreaker have always done things their own way. And if you don’t think they still have that in them, look at—notwithstanding the trend of full-album sets, so far they haven’t played through Dear You in order even once. Jawbreaker are many things, but predictable has never been—and hopefully will never be—one of them.

Jawbreaker Irene Tu, Smoking Popes, Built to Spill, Wed 4/13-Sat 4/16, 7 PM, House of Blues, 329 N Dearborn, $55 – $68.50, 17+