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Heartless Bastards Rock First Encore at Mohawk’s Reopening





Heartless Bastards Rock First Encore at Mohawk’s Reopening

 On Thursday, May 27th, Heartless Bastards kicked off Mohawk’s first sold out show since the apocalypse. Demand was high enough for Mohawk to add a second performance to the weekend’s roster. The venue’s capacity was set at 50%, approximately 450 people, so the sold-out show felt comfortable and spacious (and wow, wait until you see the renovated bathrooms at Mohawk). 


Tender Things opens the show with country, hippie charm. From Northern Kentucky, they toted their 6-piece to Austin including a fiddle player and a cowboy on a pedal steel guitar. The Austin crowd receives this country folk getup with open hearts and roaring applause. They play songs from their new album, How to Make a Fool, most notable was “I Don’t Know How to Love You.” The atmosphere is pure elation and joy as this is the first live show for most folks, especially at a venue that feels like home.

 

Everything feels new but with a familiar air. Austin has been home to Heartless Bastards since 2007, and it feels poignant and right that they play one of the christening shows of live music’s return. Energy climbs as Heartless Bastards take the stage with lead singer, Erika Wennerstrom in a black-velvet-fringe romper with rainbow stripes. Wennerstrom announces that their new album will be released this fall 2021. They play new songs from the upcoming album, songs drenched in rock and marked by Wennerstrom’s throaty voice and lyrical talent and featuring sublime guitar moments by Lauren Gurgiolo, another Austin treasure. Wennerstrom sings, “it’s a beautiful life if you let it be,” from the new album’s namesake track, “A Beautiful Life.” 

 

Among the new sounds, old favorites are mixed in like “Only For You,” and “The Mountain,” as well as “Extraordinary Love” from Wennerstrom’s solo album, Sweet Unknown. They gracefully and appropriately close with “Revolution,” their 2020 release, before the audience beckons them for a mutually deserved encore. 

 


The bands continually pronounce and pour out their gratitude to play music, the crowd showers the musicians with cheers and hollers, the full moon rises in the Eastern sky. Half way through the set, Wennerstrom seals the moment by saying we should never take these times together for granted. Both bands will be performing at Austin City Limits this fall season.

 

-- Mel Green

Photo credit: David Brendan Hall

Published: June 16, 2021 |

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