Heartless Bastards at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club

Paul Wellman

Heartless Bastards at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club

Heartless Bastards at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club

Austin Quartet Conquered State Street’s Stage on Friday, March 29

Heartless Bastards is a band made for SOhO’s stage. They’re made for sweating under a handful of dusty can lights, playing on a riser barely two feet off the ground, and being so close to the crowd that you can make out the smeared entry stamps on the back of their hands from four rows back. Otherwise talented bands sometimes struggle at SOhO, forced to vie for space and sound control with a busy bar and bustling kitchen, but the Austin quartet seemed right at home.

Frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom

They began with little fanfare — leading off the show with “Marathon,” the slow-building first track on 2012’s Arrow. Somewhere in the middle, the bar cleared out, the crowd pressed closer, and the show really took off. Frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom’s voice is an anomaly in modern indie music — a jagged croon outside of the norm for a female singer that blends perfectly with the band’s polished, fuzzy distortion. Songs tend to run long — Wennerstrom’s catchy hooks and refrains often give way to guitar and bass interludes that rock hard enough they don’t seem to drag. “Winter in the Blood” saw openers Jonny Fritz (who played a solid folk-country set shortly before) return to the stage before guitarist Mark Nathan, bassist Jesse Ebaugh and drummer Dave Colvin let loose on “Down in the Canyon.” The Bastards dipped behind the curtain briefly after around 17 songs before coming back onstage with two more, ending with a crushing performance of “Sway,” The Mountain’s closing track.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Biggest Storm Since 1/9 Approaching Santa Barbara

The storm system brings increased threat of flash floods and debris flows.

Jack Johnson Tours Montecito Disaster Area Ahead of Benefit Concert

Jack and Kim Johnson met with Bucket Brigade leaders to see the destruction firsthand.

Iron Chef Caused State Street Pedestrian Death

Famous Chef Larry Forgione charged with misdemeanor for driving into Gilbert Ramirez on February 24.

Lavagnino’s Sudden Victory

5th District supervisor a shoo-in as filing window closes; Gregg Hart also unopposed for 2nd District.

One Half of Old Town Streets to Get Sidewalks

Walkways planned for one side of Goleta neighborhood streets; parking, lighting talks at community meeting March 22.