Who's where for Aug. 1, 2013

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Kareesa Wilson, Special to the Gazette
Thursday, August 1, 2013

Heartless Bastards

9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, High Noon Saloon, 701 E. Washington Ave., Madison. Hugh Bob and The Hustle also performs. Tickets: $15. Call 608-268-1122.

Heartless Bastards is a bluesy rock band from America's heartland. The group started 10 years ago in Cincinnati and is led by the charismatic Erika Wennerstrom, whose haunting vocals channel Amy Winehouse's rich quality.

The band snagged a contract with Fat Possum Records a year after forming. Rolling Stone praised its debut album, “Stairs and Elevators,” saying, “The Heartless Bastards are a small-town band who are ready to show the big city no mercy.”

Three other albums came afterward: “All This Time” in 2006, “The Mountain” in 2009 and last year's “Arrow.” The current lineup includes Wennerstrom, Dave Colvin, Jesse Ebaugh and Mark Nathan.

Steve Earle & The Dukes

8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, Barrymore Theatre, 2090 Atwood Ave., Madison. With The Mastersons. Tickets: $37.50. Call 608-241-8633.

Also at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5, The Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St., Milwaukee. Tickets: $35. Call 414-286-3663.

Steve Earle, 58, is a Texas-born singer/songwriter and guitar player who first picked up the instrument at age 11. He eventually moved to Nashville and made a living writing songs in the thriving country music industry.

Earle released his first solo record in 1982, but it was his 1986 album, “Guitar Town,” that proved to be his breakthrough. Since then, he has released more than a dozen albums and has received 14 Grammy Award nominations, winning three times. Rolling Stone magazine named him country artist of the year in 1986.

Earle's songs have been recorded by dozens of stars, including Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill and Travis Tritt. He has appeared in film and television, and has written a novel, a play and a book of short stories.

His latest album is this year's “The Low Highway.”

The National

7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5, The Riverside Theater, 116 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. Tickets: $32.50. Call 414-286-3663.

The National is a fantastic alternative-rock band that started 14 years ago in Cincinnati (like Heartless Bastards). Band members include lead singer Matt Berninger and two pairs of brothers: twins Aaron Dessner (guitar/keyboards) and Bryce Dessner (guitar), and Bryan Devendorf (drums) and Scott Devendorf (bass).

Melancholy blues mixed with rock and grunge best describe their sound, and they've been compared to Joy Division, Leonard Cohen, Wilco, and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Berninger's lyrics tend to be hard to interpret.

The National has released half a dozen albums since 2001, including “Trouble Will Find Me,” released earlier this year.

Lianne La Havas

7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5, Turner Hall Ballroom, 1040 N. Fourth St., Milwaukee. Tickets: $20. Call 414-286-3663.

British songstress Lianne La Havas is a folk and soul girl, and the 23-year-old Londoner's star is on the rise.

La Havas wrote her first song at age 11 but didn't learn how to play guitar until she was 18. Now a gifted musician and songwriter, she worked as a backup singer before signing with Warner Bros. Records. Her 2012 debut album—“Is Your Love Big Enough?”—won the iTunes album of the year award and topped a BBC “best of” poll for 2012.

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