It's no question that Bleached has come into success within the past year with the release of its debut album, Ride Your Heart, on record label Dead Oceans. But how does the band gauge its success? By a younger man sneaking into their green room, which apparently didn’t happen the last time Bleached played San Francisco.
Initially seeing the name “Tropical Popsicle” on the bill, I tossed the band off as another kitschy garage-rock creation. But I was wrong. Despite it’s name that evokes visions of summer and dessert, Tropical Popsicle veers to the darker side of things.
As the band started its set on a dimly lit stage, a post-punk synth tune reminiscent of New Order played. As the set wore on, Tropical Popsicle picked up the pace slightly with spooky and moody psych tunes.
Then Mystic Braves walked on the stage, some members clad in floppy sun hats that could have graced the heads of many grandmothers in the ‘70s. Going for a contemporary psych-rock vibe, the band is in the same vein as Allah-Las and Froth. Mystic Braves showed great musical prowess, playing intricate and fuzzed-out riffs amongst shallow, subdued vocals.
Next up was Terry Malts, the only band boasting Bay Area “citizenship” on the bill. Playing what they call “chainsaw pop,” the Berkeley based band plays distorted, up-tempo power-punk with deadpan vocals.
Just like the speed of its music, Terry Malts barreled through its set. Vocalist and bassist Phil Benson was reluctant to play “I Do,” off the band’s 2012 effort, Killing Time. He was caught saying, “Well, I guess we’re playing this song” in an exasperated and apathetic-sounding voice. But that could very well be Benson’s normal voice.
As Bleached finally went on stage, the front of the room was packed, leaving very little space for breathing.
Before I delve into the exacts of the show, here’s a little background information on Bleached. The band is well known for having sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin in the mix. But before Bleached was even a glint in Clavin sisters eye(s), they were in a Los Angeles post-punk band, Mika Miko. Though Mika Miko may be gone and a thing of the past, the sisters Clavin have regrouped to form Bleached — a band decidedly more wholesome, hook-filled and poppy than its predecessor.
Playing a slew of songs that share common themes of having fun, boys, and causing a ruckus, Bleached whipped the audience into a frenzy in record time. It was only a few songs into the set before people started in with stage dives.
Bleached, from above
Clear-cut crowd favorites, such as “No Friend of Mine” and “Think of You”, were played. The band also lended it’s way in performing a few sonic treats, such as a cover of the Misfits’ “Hybrid Moments” and previously unreleased song “For the Feel.”
With three-quarters of the bands on the bill based in Los Angeles, sunny Southern California was brought to a dreary and rainy San Francisco, if only for a night. And boy, was it good.