LIVE REVIEW: Cap’n Jazz @ Bimbo’s 8/27

It’s been around 10 years since the seminal Chicago indie band Cap’n Jazz has rocked the stage, and while they may have been lost they were certainly not forgotten. This was particularly evident on Friday night when they took the stage at Bimbo’s in front of a packed house of fired-up fans. Despite only releasing one album in the mid ’90s, and breaking up shortly thereafter, the avant-garde, post-punk group had an unbridled influence on the indie rock scene. Based on the crowd reaction, you’d guess that they’d never left.

The crowd was buzzing from the get-go with young rockers talking about how excited they were to see the band for the first time and aging hipsters arguing about who’s been a fan longer. It was a diverse audience to say the least, but despite the age variance, one thing everyone had in common was a love for Cap’n Jazz. When they finally took the stage, it was as though they were still spunky teenagers dancing around the stage, jumping into the crowd, and whipping their fans into a frenzy. It was obvious that the band missed the thrill of performing. They joked with each other and played their songs with passion and energy.

Cap’n Jazz started promptly at 10:15PM. Maybe timeliness is something that comes with age, but we sure wouldn’t mind if today’s bands followed suit. Note to bands: It’s very much appreciated when you start on time. They proceeded to power through every song in their repertoire, which is less than extensive, but nonetheless epic. Lead singer Tim Kinsella took every opportunity to dive into the ravenous crowd as he shrieked his lyrics. The rest of the band looked like they wanted to join if only they weren’t brandishing corded instruments. In between each song there was plenty of banter, sometimes poignant, and sometimes rambling and incoherent, but always entertaining. It could have been the few reunion shows they’ve already played or the excitement of reforming something that was so vital to the music world, but Cap’n Jazz didn’t miss a step. No dust to shake off, no rusty hinges, just classic, raucous, emo, Cap’n Jazz. There was no need to reminisce because the good old days were alive and well at Bimbo’s that night.

It was a night of rejuvenation. The band appeared exhilarated while playing their entire one album catalog, and the crowd went nuts dancing, starting mosh pits, and crowd surfing, etc. Let me tell you, 30-year-old dudes crowd surfing is quite a site to see. It made everybody feel younger, and those still in their youth pictured their future in a much brighter light. Maybe they too can still rock out in 20 years.

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