Heartless Bastards, Susto
March 1, 2016
Returning to Charlotte for the first time since opening for Wolfmother at The Fillmore in 2009, Heartless Bastards played at Neighborhood Theatre last night to a decent crowd of passionate fans that seemed elated to see them in town for the first time as headliners.
The show kicked off with Susto (rhymes with Jacques Cousteau, not gusto), a younger band from Charleston that calls Charlotte its "second home." The band's Southern roots were evident in the rebel yells (more like screams) let out by singer Justin Osborne as the band peaked its energy levels.
Susto's "Cigarettes, Whiskey & Wine"-fueled lyrics (that is the name of one of their best songs, see above) were a good intro for Heartless Bastards, as the transition between the two bands was like the parents coming home and kicking out the partying kids and their friends so they could hold their own, more mature wine party.
The Bastards' set had a more laid back vibe, for better or worse. (Wikipedia comparing the Ohio natives to fellow statesmen The Black Keys is a stretch to say the least, and perhaps the only thing the bands have in common is the definitive voice of each group's lead vocalist.)
Heartless Bastards draw a more grown-folk crowd, as could be seen Tuesday night in the fact that not everyone spent the night watching the show through their phone's video app. In fact, hardly anyone was recording at any given time, and that was cool but immediately noticeable to a millennial like myself.
The band played for a little over an hour and ebbed and flowed from softer, twangy songs inspired by the southwestern desert to the harder riffs in which the band seemed to all come alive together for short periods. The entire night felt like a good balance of chill with bursts of intensity hitting here and there; a good way to spend an early weeknight in my book.