Released: 2004, Auburn Records
It’s amazing to me that Breaker never made it to the big time. They certainly had the music for it, and their local support in Ohio was unmatched. This disc, the COFFEE BREAKER CONCERT is a live document of the band near the height of their powers on July 27, 1983. Played live across Cleveland’s WMMS-FM radio, the concert was broadcast in the middle of the day…on a Wednesday! Despite the fact that Breaker had not released their one and only album yet (GET TOUGH!), the band played a set of 13 originals and only 1 cover – and the crowd absolutely ate it up, hanging on every note and every word from Jim Hamar.
Taken directly from the master tapes of the concert, the sound is completely unedited and sounds exactly as it did back in 1983. As such, the sound is a little weak, but shockingly clear, with each instrument shining through underneath Hamar’s a little too forward vocals. The band proves themselves to be in top form, flawlessly blazing through each song. Classics like “Blood Money”, “Silent Obsession”, and “10 Seconds In” sound excellent and really get the crowd of 1,000+ going. Even the host of the show (local Cleveland DJ, Matt the Cat) seems taken aback at the amazing reception afforded the band.
If there is a flaw with the show, it’s the fact that because the band hadn’t quite perfected their music yet, or had GET TOUGH ready yet (not until 1987), there are a few clunker songs aired. “Walking the Wire” is slow and dull and I’ve never been a fan of The Small Faces’ “All or Nothing”. As well, Jim Hamar relies a bit too much on the typical concert clichés, saying “all right” approximately 1,579 times throughout the show (OK, so that might be a slight exaggeration). That can be forgiven though, given the band’s relative youth (together not even a year when this show was taped).
Despite the flaws, this is an excellent package. You get a young, hungry band blazing through their classics in front of an appreciative crowd, sounding like nothing can hold them back. While the GET TOUGH! reissue is a better starting point for new listeners, COFFEE BREAKER CONCERT is an essential purchase for Breaker fans.