This weekend in Portland, Oregon at the slobberific Slabtown bar, the second annual Portland Bender is taking place and will force the locals to lock up their windows and take cover from all the spraying beer and menacing rock'n'roll racket that will echo through the town, once again. It's really good to see these multi-day fests reach out to the Northwest as the criminally overlooked local talent that rounds out each day's shows is one of the best chances to catch onto all the weirdness and soak it all in.
Friday's ball-busting lineup kicks off with local Portland heathens the Pity Fucks who really know how to combine dignity and class into one hell of a rock'n'roll shit storm that will leave permanent reminders on all your frilly delicates, so be prepared and bring a stain stick. Another in the long line of Portland-area bands that you'll no doubt be hearing more about in the next months, the next act, Leaders, have come back from a fantastically ugly futuristic place, dragging their torturous synth-singed songs of despair and ruin back across the threshold of your miserable existence. Featuring a member of Meercaz, they take you on a twisted and perverse trip through an uncomfortably desolate aural plain that assures that Leaders are one of Portland's best unnatural resources, and another reason why you shouldn't be late and miss their set.
Up next are Ladies Night and then The Eegos, two of the Northwest's stalwarts of stripped-raw noise pop who have no agenda but to blow the doors off the bar and not to give two shits as to who's paying attention. Die Rotzz and Knights of the New Crusade are as polar opposites as they come in the underground fringe contingency, but both camps bring counterintuitive ideals up to the plate and as the "good vs. evil" paradigm comes to an insidious head, they blast out the remaining wail before Top Ten and HEAD scurry up to the plate.
Tina "Boom Boom" Lucchessi is no stranger to the pop platform ever since her pioneering days in the Bobbyteens in the mid-late 90s, so it's with no surprise that her newest machine, Top Ten is set right to blow up like a hot dog stuffed in a tailpipe. HEAD finishes up the Friday night lineup and will undoubtedly reign in any stray nay-sayers and engulf Slabtown in a deafening jackhammered dose of uber-anthemic pop brilliance spanning nearly 20 years, that needs to be seen in person to be believed.
After Saturday's matinee show featuring the likes of The Flip-Tops, Cafeteria Dance Fever, Thee Manipulators and the ever-lovin' Coconut Coolouts, get ready for yet another night of expanded limitations and lowered physical standards as Reptilian Civilian, Epic Sessions, and the Pleasure Kills strangulate what's left of your second wind of endurance. Howie & the Hotknives and Les Hormones are next up and are sure to keep the room rockin' and get the asses moving in the lo-fi tradition that's always a crowd pleaser, but next up on stage is a new project called Buzzer, featuring Andy from The Cuts/Time Flys which might turn out to be yet another surprise hit of the weekend. Oakland's pop-perfect protagonists, The Pets have cavorted their way across the country and released a handful of singles to great acclaim over the past two years, and their appearance at the Bender on Saturday should be nothing short of spectacular. Check out their singles on Sweet Rot, Raw Deluxe, and Douche Master for further reinforcement of this theory and to saturate your skull in their irresistible stab at modern pop, which should be irrevocably flipped right back into scumbag mode once headliners LiveFastDie decimate the venue and petrify your genitalia with a strangely familiar aroma of fuck-it-all ferocity.
As Sunday rolls around and you still can't see straight, you've just gotta pull yourself together enough to see Meth Teeth. Even with yet another matinee, this time packed with the Wittdrawals, The Pack AD, Mean Jeans, and Silver Lions 20/20, it might just be too much. Seriously though, don't miss Meth Teeth, or you'll really be sorry, and with an upcoming 7" due out any day on the always impressive Sweet Rot Records, you already know it's gonna be good. By this point in a 3-day bender you'd more than likely be teetering on the edge of either mildly hallucinating, or falling asleep while standing up, so it's really important to try and stay awake for the final night of the show, wonderfully adorned with such high-visibility acts as the Foxgloves, Fe Fi Fo Fums, and the unwavering impressiveness of the post-Dead Moon outfit, Pierced Arrows. Trying to gain your second wind by doing shots of tequila might be a good answer to the big question of how you're gonna withstand the rest of the day's lineup, but with another solid round of Portland-area talent like Sleepwalkers RIP, Pure Country Gold, and Night Slaves up in the club, your uncontrollable shaking may just be able to be disguised as enthusiasm for the seemingly endless stream of rock'n'roll that Portland will be soaked with this epic weekend.
Check out a video clip of Pierced Arrows live at The Annandale, Sydney Australia, courtesy of SerenaFB, right here...