The stage is set for Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.
Nottingham’s ever atmospheric Rock City is the venue and believe me when I tell you, the place is heaving. So much so that when a young, bright eyed couple have a full blown argument behind me, a group of us get covered in fruity cider when one of the little lovers has enough and launches her pint in a fit of passion. Beats the smell of sweat I guess.
The night was kicked off by the raw and ready sounds of Reverend Deadeye. Admittedly, I’ve never heard of them but the moment they walked on stage and started to get dressed in shirt and tie, yes, they got dressed on stage, I was intrigued. Imagine the Eagles of Death Metal on a rickety, beaten up guitar and a drummer who only hits hard and you’ve got Reverend Deadeye. They look like the type of band with a cult following, exactly what Nathaniel Rateliff had but never will have again.
This set the tone for the 7 piece main attraction to bound on to the stage like eager kids at the top of a slide and launch in to ‘I need never get old’. There’s so much energy on the stage that it’s impossible for the crowd to stay still, erupting like the cider from aforementioned scorned ladies pint. Each member is having a ball. The Saxophonist and Trumpet player seem to be in competition for who can keep moving the longest. Arms flailing, legs a kicking they own the stage and draw the eye from Nathaniel Rateliff who fights back with his howling, soulful voice. It’s powerful and alluring. The kind that makes you wish you could sing and leaves you eternally jealous.
There’s little talking between songs, other than to raise a glass and celebrate everyone in the room. They are all genuinely humble and happy to be here, “you’re so much better than Leeds last night”. We know they all say that, we’ve come to expect it but it gets a rasping cheer from the crowd.
They slink and slide through songs from the album that has broken so much ground in the UK and each song is greeted like a new friend, starting with a hand shake and ending with a full blown hug. Songs like ‘Shake’, usually so mellow are kicked up a gear and this gives the The Night Sweats the chance to show off their talents, with elements of rock and blues creeping in to their folky, tone.
The night ends with the song that the UK has really taken to, S.O.B. It’s catchy hook and chorus grabs the baying crowd by the vocal chords and they scream the words right back. When they finish, there’s no cheering or clapping. Oh no. Instead, they stand choked up by the song being sang right back at them and indeed, sang until they return to treat us to another round and another drink.
The band sure earned their sweat and earned new fans. These guys are the real deal and bring a much welcomed sense of enjoyment to their performance which resinates with everyone in attendance. It certainly felt like an ‘I was there’ moment.
Go out. Buy the record. See the show. You won’t regret it.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats are:
Joseph Pope III