This Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nights Sweats article was written by Kieran Stowell, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Gavin Wells
It had been two hours since the venue’s doors had opened and the initial excitement and positive atmosphere that had filled the room upon entering was beginning to die out.The floor was sticky, the merchandise was lacking (although the band apologised for this later) and the opening act came and went with nothing more than a whimper.
Yet when Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats finally stepped out onto the stage, picked up their instruments and began the engaging riff to “I Need Never Get Old” all thoughts of negativity began to disappear, but it was Rateliff’s whisky soaked roar over the blaring horns of the track’s chorus that reinvigorated the crowd.
It was from this point onward the band owned the room, putting their hands together and singing the opening lines from their latest single; “Look It Here” acapella while the audience followed suit in a hypnotic trance before breaking into a dance as the band effortlessly burst into a barrage of electric guitars.
The majority of the set consisted of tracks from the band’s debut album that was released over a month ago via the infamous STAX records. By no means were they just replaying the record in a live setting. In fact on some of the tracks, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats make what seems like small but unique twists to their recorded counterparts, but instead they make the record sound somewhat civilian in comparison. For example; the track “I’ve Been Failing” does nothing more than just raise the tempo, but the subtle change was enough to break down the stubborn few in the crowd who had so far been quietly stood just watching to lose their inhibitions and dance.
The highlight of the show was “Shake,” a sensual track that was a rather weak album track, but live it became an entity of its own as Rateliff refuses to let the song end, Putting the band through their paces while Rateliff himself looks relaxed as he effortlessly shreds his guitar, creating a sound that could only be improvised.
The set closed on the highest of high notes, with the band performing “S.O.B” an infectiously catchy song which Rateliff toyed with the audience, getting them to sing and clap along even after he and the band had left the stage.
However, not one to leave people hanging, they did return to the stage to perform a short cover of The Band’s; “The Shape I’m In.”
As a whole the set was relatively short, but not once did the band become complacent, performing with a constant passion and intensity which on its own was enough to keep the crowd thoroughly entertained, however Rateliff takes it just a little bit further with his amusing interactions with the crowd such as; asking the crowd for Jack Daniels whiskey or offering sexual favours as an apology for his misplaced copies of the band’s record.