Heartless Bastards headline Hattiesburg
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 00:09
Singing songs of sadness, sorrow and soliloquy, The Heartless Bastards’ music can only be described as painfully beautiful.
The power of front-woman Erika Wennerstrom’s voice alone grants the band an effervescent presence without straying far from a sense of melodic melancholia.
Hattiesburg locals were fortunate to have the opportunity to witness this raw talent Wednesday night at T-Bones Records and Café free of charge.
Usually backed by driving, primal guitar licks, Wennerstrom caterwauls through a sultry slurry of songs that rivals The Black Keys and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in bridging the gap between classic blues and modern rock.
However, attendees had the opportunity to see a simple, immensely personal and soulfully emotional acoustic set.
This allowed all the more for Wennerstrom’s vocal intensity to ring out and punch audience members right in the heart. The Bastards’ music is not of the kind that can be heard without being felt. With one look around, it was obvious that this was a harmonious, collective feeling amongst attendees.
At one time, the crowd, which consisted of roughly 30 people, some sitting in a semicircle at the foot of the stage, others standing in back, swayed in unison to the music.
Aside from Wennerstrom, the band consists of Mark Nathan on lead guitar; Jesse Ebaugh on backup guitar and vocals; percussionist David Colvin, who sat atop a Swan knock box with tambourine under foot and Heidi Johnson with occasional backup vocals.
The band has released four full-length albums over the span of seven years, from 2005 to 2012, with their most recent release on Partisan Records entitled “Arrow.” The first three songs played Wednesday evening were from this album, including “Only For You, Skin and Bone” and “Got To Have Rock and Roll.”
“We’re used to doing these particular songs in this type of setting, and, of course, we have to promote the new record,” lead guitarist Mark Nathan said.
“I feel these songs work best with an all acoustic setting,” Wennderstrom said. “A lot of our other songs don’t translate as well.”
And translate they did. The swaying crowd and the intensity in their eyes presented the sense that at that one moment everyone was connected, given one collected heart and all by a bunch of Heartless Bastards.