Sometimes it’s easy to explain why a rock act is so good. Other times it’s almost impossible, as in the case of the Benders, who sound superficially like so much that has gone before, yet manage somehow to inject genuine, shiny warmth into the old moves. They’re all good players and they write clever, catchy rock-and-roll songs and I could bore you with a lot of cliches about how sincere and honest their music is, but what really matters is that they demonstrate what can be done by rock musicians of above-average intelligence who are mature enough to see through the bullshit of the rock-and-roll myth. They aren’t concerned with wearing cool clothes or showing you how angry and rebellious they are. They just want to treat you to a few very incisive and heartfelt stories about end-of-the-20th-century American life, told with an almost mind-boggling lack of pretention. They’ll also be happy to toss you some humorously grungy guitar riffs, a beat you can dance to, and maybe a couple of Dylan covers. Tonight, Phyllis’ Musical Inn, 1800 W. Division; 486-9862.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bruce Powell.