Thursday, July 8, 2010
Their Ohioan brand of dirty blues-rock spread throughout the venue’s air, blocking out the deafening metal band performing in the upstairs “Heaven” venue of the multi-leveled Masquerade. Erika Wennerstrom slowly meandered her way into their set with numbers such as laidback piano-laden “Into the Open,” and a reworked Junior Kimbrough classic “Done Got Old.” Like fellow Fat Possum label mates The Black Keys, the Heartless Bastards remain indebted to Kimbrough's delta-blues legacy, and it was great see them continuing their honor of the blues great.
On the whole, the Heartless Bastards are the kind of band that you can walk into a show without any prior knowledge about the performing artist and instantly become absorbed. Wennerstrom's voice is that enthralling, their grit is that familiar. On one end the Heartless Bastards as a whole show off their warm and growling tracks like on “The Mountain”—which stands as epic as the title suggests. On the other hand, Wennerstrom’s voice stands solely at the forefront of folksier songs like “So Quiet” and “Had To Go.” Her voice possesses a unique combination of earnestness, heartbreak and despair far beyond her age. And it’s that sense of maturity along with their cohesiveness as a band that allows for the Heartless Bastards to continue demonstrating their prowess as the one of the most promising rock acts today.