The Thorns of Life!

Anyone who knows me well knows that two of my favorite bands of all time are Jawbreaker and Jets to Brazil, which obviously means that one of favorite songwriters of all time is Blake Schwartzenbach.

So, with that in mind, you can only imagine my glee when I read the below article from Alternative Press that my friend, Ja from Atlanta, emailed it to me this morning.

I can’t believe I’m only finding out about this two months after the fact….

(click on the link below the article to see some videos of the new band, The Thorns of Life, that Alternative Press has compiled.)

AP EXCLUSIVE: A REVIEW OF THE THORNS OF LIFE (BLAKE SCHWARZENBACH, AARON COMETBUS) SHOW

Posted by Scott Heisel on 15-Nov-08 @ 02:03 AM

UPDATE: There are now multiple live videos of the show below.

The Thorns Of Life played their second show ever earlier tonight at a party in Brooklyn at a house that looked straight out of 1982: worn, dog-eared books lined the high shelf bordered along the walls of the room while the wallpaper cracked, and various flyers hung from corners with images of Ronald Reagan on them. The living room couldn’t have been more than 18′ x 15′ x 12′.

I couldn’t think of a better place to see the newest band from Blake Schwarzenbach and Aaron Cometbus.

Schwarzenbach is essentially a punk legend for his stints in Jawbreaker and Jets To Brazil while Cometbus has practically attained the same level for helping establish the East Bay scene in a variety of bands like Crimpshrine and Pinhead Gunpowder, as well as his long-running Cometbus zine.

Here, they teamed up with Daniela Sea, from Showtime’s “The L Word,” on bass, as previously reported.

When my friend and I paid our $5 cover and walked in a little after 8:00, there couldn’t have been more than 40 people spread around the house and backyard. This struck us in a weird way considering the news had been all over the Internet since early that day.

By 9:10, when the band began setting up to open the show, the room became more and more crowded until it became a dense mess of people all hoping to cop a glimpse of what’ll probably be “the” punk rock buzz band in the months to come.

Without a word to the crowd, the band ripped into song number one, treating us to the patented uptempo, three-chord East Bay punk sound. It’s clear Schwarzenbach hasn’t forgotten about his past: There are definitely elements of the Bay sound as well as Jawbreaker and JTB mixed in–and one of the songs was described by him as “losing your virginity in 11th grade in Santa Monica, California…to the right one.”

Another song was purported as a fairytale with a healthy amount of mythology–no shocker considering Blake’s love of literature.

Musically, there was a certain temper about the band even as they chugged through songs that tended to be basic punk rock romps with subtle dynamic changes. There were plenty of little ‘breaker-esque jam-outs too, though most of them were teasingly truncated. The sixth or seventh song even bore a structure resembling “Fine Day.”

Though Schwarzenbach could just barely be heard over the instruments, his voice definitely sounds different. It vaguely seems a little smoother and less rugged somehow, but retaining that certain bite and snarl that the Dear You / Orange Rhyming Dictionary era had.

Cometbus was quite reliable on the kit, but that was to be expected. Him and Sea held the rhythm down perfectly, which was needed considering the consistent pace things seemed to go at.

Obviously, the crowd was receptive. All along the first few rows closest to the band, some bounced around in typical house show bliss while others calmly looked on with a more focused awe.

With little banter to the crowd, the nine-song set suddenly finished and the room flushed out, though a few other bands (Vivian Girls, Stupid Party and one other I believe) were still raring to play for a crowd.

Asked if a demo or 7″ was planned, Schwarzenbach merely replied he didn’t know.

I guess we’ll have to settle on the copious amounts of video and photo one can only hope will begin flooding in this weekend. –Brian Shultz


Click here and go to the bottom of the page for videos of The Thorns of Life compiled on Alternative Press’ website

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3 Responses to “The Thorns of Life!”

  1. mr. mouth Says:

    this tickles my fancy.

  2. jawbroken Says:

    It looks awesome on youtube and all…. but Blake writing a lame song about Hillary Clinton and even political mumbo jumbo like Joan Jett’s “talking heads are talking” barf of a few years is gross. I never expected the rocking chair whiny type crap from Blake or Aaron for that matter. Sorry.

  3. Bijoy Datta Says:

    Thorns of Life officially broken up. So no real new project from Blake Schwarzenbach. Boo. http://www.bohemian.com/citysound/?p=2251

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