Photos by Jon Ching
There’s something incredibly comforting about Benders: a dive on the corner of 19th and South Van Ness the bar is a host to a multitude of late night debauchery and live music.
Bicycle Day took the stage first to a crowd who was mostly preoccupied with feasting on Bender’s famous burgers and tater tots. However, despite the lack of complete audience engagement they delivered a performance that was full of vivacity and life.
Interjecting their surf-drenched set with banter about kale and being from Berkeley, there is something to be said about a band like Bicycle Day. They’re the kind of group that you find yourself immersed in. Their sound, a mix between surf and psychedelic stoner-esque tracks, are engaging regardless if you have ever heard of them before.
Afterward Skate Laws then quickly took the small stage at Benders; what came next was a whirlwind of synthesizers and pure raw emotion. The vocalist was like a possessed, angry toddler as he thrashed and howled throughout their set. The weirdo, art punk of Skate Laws left you kind of confused and unsettled in a good way.
Finally, San Francisco’s very own CCR Headcleaner entered the scene.
CCR Headcleaner is the kind of band that was made to play a dive like this Benders. Sporting cut off classic rock muscle tees, the boys of CCR Headcleaner are the kind of dudes you can actually “smell” from the stage. By now, the small viewing area had become completely packed, and onstage their two drummers stretched and readied themselves to begin.
Rather than the typical cinderblock or sandbag, a removed parking meter set the kick drum in place and a strobe light blared brightly at the crowd. A guitarist adjusted an admittedly impressive makeshift duct-tape guitar strap, and as such the boys of CCR Headcleaner plunged into a set that punched you in the stomach.
A tidal wave of sound, CCR Headcleaner was loud, rambunctious, and near stroke-inducing. The band finally brought their memorable set to an end with a cover of “Ceremony” by New Order. Completely from left field, the cover was a pleasant surprise that the audience seemed to be really taken with. Kudos to CCR Headcleaner, as they really know how to put on a show.