Written by Bill Whiting
Photos by Scott Preston
The Heartless Bastards returned home to the new Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky on January 26 with a tight, powerful set that featured selections from their past recordings and recent disc, Arrow. Opening with a visceral take on the jamming monster title track from their 2009 album, The Mountain, Erika Wennerstrom strummed her guitar and sang with gusto as Dave Colvin’s wall of percussion shook the interiors of the church’s walls. Going back
in time to their 2005 Fat Possum debut, Stairs and Elevators, with a stinging romp through “Done Got Old,” the Heartless Bastards dug deeply into the garage rock aesthetic of the material. The Mountain’s “Witchypoo” provided ample opportunity for bass player Jesse Ebaugh and lead guitarist Mark Nathan to shine, and they traded fluid improvisational lines to accompany Wennerstrom’s bruising vocal attack. The ensemble introduced the delicate rhythms of Arrow’s opening tune, “Marathon,” as the sold out floor danced gently to the composition’s subtle, building peaks. Colvin’s masterful pacing on drums was a steady anchor for Wennerstrom, Ebaugh and Nathan to launch off of, and the Heartless Bastards dove into the epic world of Arrow’s gems, “Got to Have Rock and Roll” and “Down in the Canyon” with audacious verve and aplomb. The power shredding punk of “Gray” from Stairs and Elevators reached an intense volume inside the Southgate House Revival’s intimate confines. And, Wennerstrom and co. nailed down the twisting melodies inherent inside of “Runnin’.” To close out the evening, the Heartless Bastards chose to leave with the transfixing forward slam of “Sway” from The Mountain. The killer finale was an appropriate choice to end their first two night run at the Southgate House Revival. It leaves one in anticipation of their return to the Newport, Kentucky landmark.
** photos are from 1/25/13 at Southgate House Revival