Live ReviewsMusic

Heartless Bastards Hit on All the Emotions at Visulite Theatre

Sept. 19, 2023

Erika Wennerstrom (right) performs with Heartless Bastards at Visulite Theatre. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

It’s not a dig or criticism to say that Erika Wennerstrom lacks vocal range in a sonic way. For all the emotion that the Heartless Bastards singer/guitarist conveys, it’s done through power — the lyrics, the tone and hints of anguish that come through the notes.

Wennerstrom doesn’t need to hit high notes when her words come rolling through the crowd like syrup — dense and likely to stick with you for a long time.

Erika Wennerstrom stands on a staircase wearing a feathery red top
Erika Wennerstrom backstage at Visulite Theatre. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

The group is as much a rock outfit as they are an alt-country flagship. Though based out of Ohio, their sound often comes across as something straight out of Texas.

Wennerstrom is able to balance time between poetic slow-rollers and upbeat rockers with equal aplomb. One can only hope that the sparse crowd at Visulite Theatre on Tuesday was due to a hangover following the Monday Night Football home loss from the Panthers.

Heartless Bastards perform at Visulite Theatre in front of a blue curtain. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)
Heartless Bastards perform at Visulite Theatre. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

The night opened with a 45-minute set from Charlotte’s own It’s Snakes. Singer/drummer Hope Nicholls always commands attention on stage and her stand-up drumming combined with singing set the perfect punk-meets-alt-country tone for the evening.

Hope Nicholls sings into a microphone while drumming
Hope Nicholls performs with It’s Snakes at Visulite Theatre on Sept. 19. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

It’s worth noting that Nicholls will be inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame next month along with her husband Aaron Pitkin and other members of their early band Fetchin’ Bones.

Heartless Bastards setlist
Swamp Song
How Low
You Never Know
A Beautiful Life
The Arrow Killed the Beast
The River
Only for You
Extraordinary Love
Lawyers, Guns and Money
Parted Ways

The Mountain

Be sure to check out Queen City Nerve’s Soundwave, Charlotte’s most comprehensive live music listing, so you don’t miss out on any shows or concerts coming up. And hell, if you’re looking for something else to do, you can check out our events page as well, which runs the gamut of things to do in Charlotte. You don’t ever have to be bored again. You can check out more of Jeff’s pics and live reviews here.

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