Written by Bill Whiting
The Heartless Bastards took the stage at the Madison Theater on Friday, February 17, and put on a stunning tour de force of garage rock anthems and cultivated, homegrown roots oriented compositions. Led by singer and guitarist Erika Wennerstrom, The Heartless Bastards launched the show with the opening track, “Marathon,” from their new album, Arrow, which has been released on Partisan Records. The project is a change of pace for The Bastards with highly refined song craft on tunes like “Low Low Low” and “The Arrow Killed the Beast,” all of which the group performed on Friday night . Also, Wennerstrom’s deep southwest leanings pop up on the riveting number, “Skin and Bone” and the colorfully expansive sonic treatment of “Down in the Canyon.” Assisted by the elite rhythm section of Jesse Ebaugh on bass and Dave Colvin on drums, lead guitarist Mark Nathan had a wide range of instrumental space to inhabit on The Heartless Bastards’ originals like “Gray” from 2005’s Stairs and Elevators, and the haunting melodies of “Into the Open” from 2006’s All This Time. And, Wennerstrom is still a galvanizing personality to behold, as she belted out “Witchypoo,” “Sway” and the title track from the excellent 2009 long player, The Mountain. Indeed, it was evident that this quartet has matured, and mastered the art of song writing and concert pacing to deliver one of the most satisfying experiences of 2012. It left one in rabid anticipation of a return event from one of America’s best hard rock bands, The Heartless Bastards.