It’s a wet evening and Tottenham Court Road Station is still closed for the cross rail development making it a bit of a trek across from Holborn to The Borderline. Fortunately, this diversion necessitates a stroll along the Guitar Porn haven of Denmark Street. Those windows full of guitars in all shapes and sizes whets my appetite for some awesome music from Heartless Bastards. Arriving at the venue, I make my way downstairs to the bar, it’s hot and humid and by 19:45, already packed.
Opening for Wennerstrom et al is London’s own art-popsters, Hatcham Social. They bring half an hour of their Clash/The Jam esque musical talents to the fray and also, quite fittingly to Soho. They give in an energetic performance to a captivated crowd, leaving us suitably limbered up and ready for the main act.
Following the success of Restless Ones, tonight’s show is a well deserved sell-out and by the time Heartless Bastards take to the stage at 9PM, the venue is packed to the rafters with a number of people having to stand on the exit stairs to get a view of the stage. They’re a well dressed, humble and polite bunch and Erika quickly announces her excitement at selling out a London show for the first time. The crowd whoops and cheers and the band launch into their opening track, ’Gates of Dawn’.
They play a little of their older material tonight but the set really is about Restless Ones. The first half of the set is taken straight from the new LP and whole set is dominated by it, but this is far from a bad thing. The band is on fire and Erika’s syrupy vocals cut through the quiet and appreciative audience like a knife. The band are known for their obvious love for what they so and this performance is no exception, they rock out, dance and grin their way through the whole thing and their boundless energy carries their blues-rock through an enthusiastic crowd.
The set finishes with Erika introducing each band member by name and they perform a short solo, a little cliche maybe, but I think this can be overlooked! They leave the stage briefly but the crowd want more, they return for a 2 song encore ending with the wall of noise that is ‘Tritessa’. This finale sees all but Erika leaving the stage mid song while she sings and dances like a siren, it’s a fitting end.
Overall, this was one of the best gigs I’ve been to this year and if you get the opportunity to see Heartless Bastards supporting My Morning Jacket in the coming weeks, go, you won’t regret it.