In 2013, Denver-based Nathaniel Rateliff teamed up with longtime friend and bandmate Joseph Pope III to launch Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. Five years on, the eight-piece American outfit released their sophomore album, ‘Tearing at the Seams’, which saw the wider band take a more active role in the creative process. Off the back of this second album, the band headed out on tour, which will see them on the road until at least November 2018.

As an early destination on the tour, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats hosted a three-night mini-residency at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. The band kicked off the first night’s gig with the opening track from their second album, ‘Shoe Boot’. The song’s instrumental one minute plus intro proved a strong choice to build excitement and anticipation with a boisterous Empire crowd. ‘Shoe Boot’ was followed by ‘Be There’ – the second track on ‘Tearing at the Seams’ – and ‘Look It Here’ – a single from the self-titled first album.

After a few uptempo openers, the band showcased a little more of the range of their work across the two albums, as well as their 2016 EP, ‘A Little Something More from Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats’. Across these tracks, frontman Nathaniel swapped between electric and acoustic guitars – and even threw in a few tambourine shakedowns for good measure.

Before the band launched into ‘Say It Louder’, a track from the new album, Nathaniel stopped to tell the crowd that the song had been inspired by the youth movement aiming to change the legislation on gun control in the U.S.. With its raw, emotive lyrics, ‘Say It Louder’ typifies the somewhat deeper lyricism on ‘Tearing at the Seams’, most of which is about Nathaniel’s personal life.

The band closed the pre-encore set with fan sing-a-long favourite ‘S.O.B.’. A “joke song”, which the band had not initially intended to record due to its not-so-radio-friendly chorus lyrics, “Son of a bitch”. Notably, the song features a woah outro section, which had the packed Empire crowd in full voice. The crowd sustained this chorus of “woahs” until the band returned to the stage to encore with ‘Trying So Hard Not To Know’ and ‘Tearing at the Seams’.

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats are undoubtedly one of those bands whose songs really come to life on stage. Their energetic, fun-filled live performances, which contain several impossible-not-to-dance tunes and encourage plenty of crowd participation, are a truly enjoyable experience. One that is worth checking out if you get the chance.

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats’ U.K. and Ireland tour continues with dates in Manchester, Liverpool, Dublin, Belfast and Edinburgh. The evenings set list was…

Shoe Boot
Be There
Look It Here
I Did It
Howling at Nothing
A Little Honey
Coolin’ Out
Out on the Weekend
You Worry Me
Wasting Time
Early Spring Till
Babe I Know
Intro
I Need Never Get Old
Baby I Lost My Way, (But I’m Going Home)
Say It Louder
Hey Mama
S.O.B.

Trying So Hard Not to Know
Atlantic City
Tearing at the Seams