It’s a disjointing feeling when something is so significant to you, yet completely irrelevant to the preponderance of humanity. Like a hippie whose chained themselves to the last tree in their city park, looking around wide-eyed in disbelief that the rest of the world doesn’t share their passion. When I heard Drive Like Jehu was reuniting after 20 years I wondered why they didn’t interrupt my regularly scheduled programming. Why wasn’t my Facebook ablaze with OMGs? How come there wasn’t a Twitter meltdown?
In this musical era where the 800 pound gorilla of Coachella routinely reunites bands thought fractured beyond restoration, their get of Drive Like Jehu should have shot seismic waves ripping through the musical fabric. This was it. They raided the tombs and resurrected the King. Surely things would never be the same. Yet when I ran to the top of the hill fervently ringing my bell the villagers stared back at me blankly, “Who is Jehu? Calm the fuck down.”
They joke that when Velvet Underground originally released their 1st album it sold only 1000 copies, but everybody who bought one went on to make the next decade’s music. So maybe that’s how it is with Jehu. Maybe their legacy is meant to be measured not by the breadth of their reach but by the depth of those touched.
Both the show at the Glass House and the hometown show the preceding night at The Casbah were family affairs. Sure there were friends I knew who were afflicted with the same insanity, but even the strangers were brothers and sisters (let’s be honest mainly 45-year-old brothers) all bound through Jehu’s music. People were not at Jehu because they stumbled upon them during Morning Becomes Eclectic, they were there because at some point or another Jehu shook their cage.
Even though I grew up in San Diego, Jehu’s zenith was while I was still in my tweens, and I was not near with it enough to have been listening to them back then. My freshman year of college a buddy introduced me to Jenu and Hot Snakes all in one sitting, and all like that the levees broke and flooded my world. The Rock I thought I was listening to turned to sand, the façade withering away in my hands. Jehu was granite. Jehu would stand the test of time.
I was resigned to the fact that I would never see Jehu play live since by the time I discovered them was at least 8 years after their last show. I was okay with that, compartmentalizing them with the bands that we all talk about, wouldn’t it be cool if we had seen… And then it happened, a limited run Jehu reunion was announced, I bought tickets, and waited with two fistfuls of disbelief that it would actually occur.
I spent this entire article trying to provide context to the significance of these shows for me personally because attempting to review them in the same manner I’ve reviewed so many other gigs is impossible. Seeing Jehu perform exceeded all the ridiculously lofty expectations I had. It was transformative, life-affirming, and religiously cathartic all in unison. Washed away was the confusion and irritation towards the apathetic music public I held leading up to the show. What it was replaced with was a sense of wholeness, the type that, like Drive Like Jehu, will last a lifetime.