Getting bent

In keeping with the popularity of Portland’s multiple weekend-long music festivals, Slabtown’s third annual Bender brings the Rose City three days of the goods.

In keeping with the popularity of Portland’s multiple weekend-long music festivals, Slabtown’s third annual Bender brings the Rose City three days of the goods.

Whether you’re springing for the $28 wristband or paying the $12 nightly cover, Bender should have enough no-nonsense bayou-blues and debaucherous rock ‘n’ roll to sate your needs.

Slabtown seems to have corralled something for everyone into this three-day celebration of debauchery, and since finding your way through that much hangover-inspired (and inspiring) music is no easy feat, the Vanguard is here to help.

Friday night brings Tacoma’s The Fucking Eagles, who sound something like The Ramones wandering through Johnny Cash’s forest fire.

Though you might be thinking, “this is just another group of bearded dudes with the word ‘fuck’ and the word ‘eagles’ in their name,” the inappropriate lyrics and freaky organ work of “He Won’t Love You Like I’ll Leave You” or the gutter-guitar energy of “Hurricane Lucy” will be worth catching.

Get there early because Thee Headliners, appropriately enough, get the night started around 7 p.m. Local slosh-rockers Pure Country Gold are bound to keep the momentum going with their one-two punch of hyper-Chuck-Berry-ism and beer-guzzling blues.


Saturday gets the bender started early with free matinee shows starting at 2 p.m. Get your Bloody Mary and see the spaced out basement psychadelia of Portland’s The Whines. This local trio throws in just enough lo-fi slop-pop, doom-organ and drugged jamming to feel alternately adorable and frightening.

Reptilian Civilian takes the stage around 7 p.m., and should really get the party started with their relentless, junked out speed punk metal. They’ve been known for drunken antics (rolling around on the floor, dog piles, etc.) so they should be essential to a festival centered on getting tanked.

As it stands now, Saturday night’s show is certain to sell out, and no wonder, considering Northwest legends Mudhoney share the bill with Deadmoon reincarnation The Pierced Arrows.

Grunge pioneers Mudhoney will be on around 11:30 p.m., and while they may be ancient, there’s no indication that they’ve slowed down or that this weekend’s performance, in a smaller setting and in front of a packed house, should be anything less than explosive.

Make sure to stay late too, because afterward PDX legends Fred and Toody Cole take the stage in their logical extension of Dead Moon, The Pierced Arrows. The Coles are still killing it, now as much as ever, and finding them onstage after Mudhoney might just mean euphoria.

By Sunday afternoon the hangover will be setting in but hitting up Slabtown for another dose of rock ‘n’ roll will not disappoint.

The free matinee’s highlight will be The Wires, a local standout who harness enough Dead Moon and Jim Morrison to jolt you from the haze and get you back off the wagon.

You can get more mileage from that pricey wristband Sunday night as well, with the likes of Howie and the Hotknives keeping the party going well into Monday, while the ladies of Vancouver’s Vancougar might just drag you to their house across the Columbia.

Like any good bender, you know where they start, but who knows where they end.