Sunday, September 9, 2007

Heartless Bastards at Southgate House

Saturday night some friends dragged me to to the Southgate house to see the Heartless Bastards. I say dragged in that I wasn't really up for seeing the Bastards again, but Southgate is such a great venue and I knew I'd see tons of friends at the show. Well, I wasn't disappointed, in that everywhere I turned I saw someone I knew. That was pretty cool. But the show...

It's not that I don't like the Bastards, but I guess I never really got into them. Though I seem to be in the minority, and that's what I don't understand. Everyone I know from Cincy seems to be huge fans, and I think I have some theories, but I'm not sure. My first idea is that guys like them because they think that Erika is hot (she doesn't do it for me), and her ballsy vocals project a strong, confident exterior, which is also a reason I think women like her.

Unfortunately that's exactly the reason I don't care for her singing that much. On the first album (and in every show I've seen) Erica seems to be belting out her lyrics with such force that it seems to narrow her range into almost a monotone sound. Many of my friends not familiar with the Bastards have remarked that they thought it was a guy singing when they first heard the album. I just wish she was more dynamic. It almost sounds like she's already tired from a week of singing shows and is at the end of the night, struggling to push out her parts - even on the album.

For these reasons I never bought the first album - got a rip from a friend. I tried really hard to get into them, since EVERYONE I knew was and I kept being dragged to their shows. So then the second album came out and I thought that her vocal range expanded and that she intoned a great deal more. But she never really brought that articulation to any of their stage shows. This Saturday she was a bit more dynamic, but as soon as she got to songs from the first album (which made up all of the end of the show and encore), she slipped right back into her monotone roar.

And my other bitch is that the show was $15. For someone who has seen them for years for free, it's hard to pay that much. It was a decent show, I saw a ton of friends, but I enjoyed Pearline (who opened for them and I hadn't seen in a while) much, much more.

And there was some other group called White Girls in the first opening slot - notice I didn't say band. They sucked so bad, and even though I like punk - which is what I thought they were trying to go for - I couldn't take them for much more than a few songs. I turned around to say that we should go outside for a bit and my friends had already left (about halfway through the first song) and were sitting on the porch.


Dave P. said...

I'm with you on the HB. Erika has an interesting voice, but it's not my thing. Aside from that, it's generic, pedestrian guitar rock. Put a boy out front and no one would care. Put a skinny woman playing guitar out front and it's the best thing since Velveeta in a box. I wish them well, but I don't like their music.

Cinti's music scene suffers from a serious lack of critical judgement, but that's another post for another day.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused by the comment here. First, saying the Bastards would be generic, pedestrian guitar rock (besides being wrong) is kind of like saying Dylan would be a lousy act if he weren't such a great songwriter. The band showcases her voice, and once you get over the fact that it's coming out of that teeny frame, it's still got an amazing sound to it, which is a substantial part of their sound, whether you dig it or not.

Also, it's pretty weird to be talking about the lack of critical judgment in Cincinnati considering that pretty much everywhere this band goes, they are well-received critically. I recognize that it's fun to beat up on the local tastes for lacking sophistication, but you have to swim pretty far upstream to do so here.

It's one thing to not like a band because they're not to your taste. It's another to lack the critical facility to appreciate bands with heavy traditional blues influence.

Anonymous said...

please look up the work "monotone."

Anonymous said...


Douglas said...

white girls isnt punkrock

its CRUNKrock

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