Singer-guitar player Erika Wennerstrom and drummer Dave Colvin are no strangers to The Beachland Ballroom. The two members of Heartless Bastards have played the familiar Cleveland venue as members of the Dayton group Shesus as well as with their current band of greater renown. So the comfort level with which they and bass player Jesse Ebaugh, guitarist Mark Nathan and fiddle player Zy Orange Lyn hit the stage with was aptly familiar. Wennerstrom strolled out onto the stage, sporting a mid-length, creme-colored business dress and rattle snake pumps. How was she going to rock the house in that? The answer was quite simply – she just did. The Bastards played before a crowd of 250 and blazed through a 70-minute set which included a balanced offering from its three albums, Streets and Elevators, All The Time and The Mountain. Not one to provide much banter in between numbers, Wennerstrom used her powerful and unique vocals to sway the crowd into a fixed rock’n'roll hypnosis as she opened with the hard rocking “Done Got Old.” The crowd favorites were all there, from the head-boppin “Out at Sea”, “Sway”, “Into the Open” and the trance-like “Nothing Feels the Same,” to the calming, more folksy sounds of “Be So Happy” and “So Quiet”. The latter was enriched by fiddler Lyn’s melodic playing. Wennerstrom pleaded with the electrified crowd to tone down so she could be heard on the ballads. They complied and were treated to the softer side of this lady rocker known for her raw and powerful chops. Additional key numbers were “Had To Go” a number that began slow and built to a frenzied crescendo and then back down. “Hold Your Head High” and “All this Time” also followed. It was on the Bastards’ third album title track “The Mountain”, most familiar with the teeming crowd, that many sang along with Wennerstrom as Ebaugh deftly played the song’s trademark slide. The band encored with two numbers highlighted by “Runnin’”. Heartless Bastards will more than likely be back after its next album is out, and if the show Thursday is a foreshadowing to that future date, even more familiar fans will know that this band comes ready to play all the time. Two-piece Minneapolis band Peter Wolf Crier opened the night with a hard edge sound as can be expected from two. However, it was second act, The Builders and The Butchers, who set the table for the Bastards with their unique American Gothic sound that quickly got the crowd’s attention.