Heartless Bastards @8:00pm, Buffalo Nichols @7:00pm – $22 Advance tickets. Will Call @6:00pm – No hard or electronic tickets. 21+ only.
On the new album A Beautiful Life, Heartless Bastards share a wide-eyed and radiant vision for harmonizing a broken world. The Ohio-bred and Texas-transplanted band’s first new music since 2015’s Restless Ones, A Beautiful Life affirms frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom as a songwriter with the power to profoundly influence our state of mind, often by alchemizing her idealism into viscerally potent rock-and-roll songs. With its delicate coalescence of so many eclectic touchstones—French pop and Celtic folk, space rock and symphonic pop, Disney scores and post-punk—the result is an album that immediately lures the listener into a more receptive mindset, one that leads to deeper generosity, greater compassion, and a restored sense of possibility.
For all the moonlighting he’s done in other genres over the years, Carl Nichols always comes back to the blues. At various points in his career Nichols has played gospel (despite being an atheist), West African music (despite being born and raised in Milwaukee) and, as one half of the acclaimed folk duo Nickel & Rose, Americana (despite having some deep reservations about that genre’s long history of appropriating black music without always welcoming black musicians). None of those gigs, however, extinguished his desire to play the kind of traditional, acoustic blues he grew up admiring. “I always related to the blues,” Nichols concludes. “I grew up in abject poverty. I experienced racism. And when I would sit down with a blues record, I could hear that in the songs. Now I want to be that person that I never got to see on stage.”