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February 20th, 2012 By Deirdre Kaye | Music | Posted In: Live Music, Reviews

Review: Heartless Bastards at Madison Theater

Friday appearance in the now-Texas headquartered band's hometown area lacks usual specialness

blog1126wideaHeartless Bastards

It’s been eight and a half years, four albums and an almost entirely new set of members since Heartless Bastards began performing as a new band in Cincinnati's small clubs. This time around, the Bastards came back to their breeding ground as an Austin, Tex., band and played to a packed house at Madison Theater in Covington.

For all intents and purposes, Saturday’s Heartless gig was very much a “homecoming” gig. As such, there are certain things one expects (and usually gets when the Bastards come home) — lots of heart, extra banter with the audience and, most importantly, one hell of a show. Going in with those expectations was probably a terrible idea. The concert was, at its worst, disappointing and, at its best, just OK.

Anyone who noticed the night’s schedule started off disappointed when they realized Heartless Bastards wouldn’t be on until two hours after the listed showtime.

Openers Hacienda were actually amazing, just as they were when they opened for City and Colour at Bogart's a few months back. But after Hacienda rocked out, the road crew took 20 minutes to set up the stage, followed by more than 10 minutes of absolutely nothing.  

Once the crowd was finally graced with the presence of the band, frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom spent another five minutes testing her vocal mic. Shouldn’t that have been done in sound check? Or, at the very least, during the 10 minutes of nothingness? Even drummer Dave Colvin sat leaning forward on his drum kit, staring at Wennerstrom with what appeared to be very little amusement.

When they finally kicked into gear, the show wasn’t bad. The Bastards sounded close enough to their albums to show they are a decent band. A good portion of the crowd was made up of dancing fans who seemed unfazed by the initial delay.  

The night was heavy on songs off of Arrow, the Bastards' lean, stirring new album just released Valentine's Day. Wennerstrom recently told Billboard, “I feel like this is the strongest record I’ve ever done.”  And she’s right.

The live experience, however, was lacking on Friday night. Seemingly devoid of love and respect for the audience, the show was hopefully just a rare off-night from a band that usually kills it in front of their old hometown's still-very-much-dedicated fans.

 
 
02.20.2012 at 07:09 Reply

I disagree respectfully with your assessment of the show. I thought it was equally as amazing as past performances by the band. I was watching the show intently, and in fact noticed some drastic improvements as far as performance goes. The band seems to now be in much more sync since the release of their past record, and the live performance showed that to me.

 

http://www.newsrecord.org/index.php/article/2012/02/bogart039s_wooed_by_heartless_bastards

 

02.21.2012 at 06:11

Dylan-Oh, they definitely got better as the show went on -- I said that. You know, I love live shows.  It's a little hippy-dippy, but I love feeding off the energy of a band that's excited to play.  I just didn't feel that energy from Heartless.  I'm glad you had a good time, though.  Honestly.  (PS-Nice plug for your piece.)

 

02.20.2012 at 07:09 Reply

Not sure what show you attended...clearly not the same one I did...Note: the time the band comes on has nothing to do with the quality of the music... which was exceptional...

Understand how lucky we are to see a star in the making (Erika) at such an intimate club...you will look back on this when she is famous and wonder what you were writing...

 

02.21.2012 at 09:13 Reply

Oh, hey, little brother!

 

02.21.2012 at 04:29 Reply

best band in the world.

 

why bother writing this review you moron.

 

 
 
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