by Lane Speas
The Heartless Bastards are a five-piece garage/ country rock band out of Cincinnati, Ohio. The group stopped at the Blue Bird theater on Tuesday November 3rd touring the new album Restless Ones out on Partison Records. In accompaniment of the Heartless Bastards was a trio from Brooklyn, New York called Slothrust.
I arrived at the Blue Bird theater about twenty minutes after the doors opened to a sparse audience. After walking around a bit I situated myself right up next to the stage and Slothrust took the stage and immediately surprised me with the quality of their set. The bands sound was raw with a grungy dirty take on traditional indie rock. Definitely not a group I was anticipating touring with the Heartless Bastards, who have a much more garage rock blues sound. Vocals and guitar were held down by Leah Wellbaum who had a knack for connecting with the audience and being extremely comfortable on stage. The bass and drums where locked in on point the entire show, incorporating intricate bass lines as well as complicated stops in the songs. In addition to the bass and drums Wellbaum shredded on the guitar creating a high energy vibe through out the entire set.
The Heartless Bastards took the stage with a rocking set incorporating much of the bands discography. The new album Restless Ones was the focus of the set how ever which incorporates a more country rock sound then the bands previous garage rock tone. Before playing a few of the songs lead singer Erika Wennerstrom described what inspired her to write them. This definitely gave an even more personal feeling to the set and helped Wennerstrom connect with the audience. Among regular switches from material that showcased electric and acoustic guitars the band kicked off their set incorporating a slide guitar setting a bluesy tone The Heartless Bastards put on a great show that demonstrated the utility of the band by playing a wide range of their discography. In addition to the Heartless Bastards Slothrust was a heavy hitting opener that while not what I was expecting definitely made a great impression. Overall the show felt personal and heartfelt. Accomplishing this when on the road for weeks at a time is not an easy task. I would definitely recommend checking out both Slothrust and Heartless Bastards. Their new album Restless Ones is out now on Partison Records.