I got into indie rock in the mid-’90s, but I was never a hardcore kid. During the early-’90s era when hipper kids my age were into hardcore, I was listening to Queensrÿche and later Alice in Chains.
So then I came to DC for college and got into post-hardcore via Fugazi, then other DC bands, then, to some extent, band in similar scenes from throughout the east coast.
This is a long way of getting around to saying I never listened to Cap’n Jazz before going to see their reunion show at the Black Cat. I never listened to any of those midwest post-hc/emo/indie bands, including the various Cap’n Jazz spin-offs. Ok, I know the Promise Ring a little bit, but I haven’t listened to Joan of Arc or any of those bands. And honestly, I never thought I would like them very much.
But one of my friends, who was more into hardcore earlier on, had some tickets, and I was curious enough about this gap in my indie knowledge to go check it out.
The opener was another reunited midwest band from the same time and era called Gauge. I liked them, and I’ve been vaguely wanting to find some music by them ever since. It was energetic and reminded me slightly of their contemporaries Hoover. They were the type of band that probably had some killer 7-inches back in 1993 or whenever.
Cap’n Jazz soon enough hit the stage to an adoring audience. It was a little weird, a little uncomfortable even. I’m not really devoted to particular bands in the way that some of the fans were, not so passionate about individual songs or albums. I love all music! But I don’t have such an intense connection to bands from my youth. Also, I guess I felt a little left out.
But I liked Cap’n Jazz more than I expected to. They reminded me a lot of Sunny Day Real Estate, though I am surely only 15 years behind the times in noticing the resemblance. Davey von Bohlen had a weird scarred head from his brain surgery or whatever, and also had amusing stories to relate, including his trip to DC being so delayed and having to get Eric Axelson to pick him up by motorcycle and take him directly to the Black Cat. Tim Kinsella came across as kind of a dick, and it was interesting to see the two of them interact, or fail to interact.
But I wasn’t really invested much in the soap-opera dynamics of this band that I didn’t really know. The music was more compelling, and I definitely enjoyed it.
And here are some so-so vids: