Nathaniel Rateliff

Nathaniel Rateliff

 – THE RITZ, MANCHESTER –

“I don’t know whether you’re newcomers or whether you’re fans of my old acoustic-y shit.’’ I am a fan of it all. It’s not yet been much more than a year since Missouri-born frontman Nathaniel Rateliff last released his lone EP Closer but a lot has changed. He’s now a seven piece alongside The Night Sweats. He’s changed musical tacks, being compared to the likes of Van Morrison and Otis Redding. And he dances. And what cool dance moves he has.

From the start, it is high tempo feel good stuff. To great effect you can almost imagine standing in the middle of an old western saloon with a drink, and when the chorus hits, there goes a bar brawl. It may not be the intended effect, but it has a feverish rowdy nostalgia about it, that’s both infectious and evocative. The look is completed by Wild-Western-esque Rateliff’s cowboy hat, tasselled medallion, waistcoat and sought-after rock and roll beard. Not the only mover and Wild-Westerner in the band, Rateliff is accompanied by the charismatic Night Sweats which consists of bassist Joseph Pope III, Mark Shusterman on the keyboard, Patrick Meese on drums, guitarist Luke Mossman, trumpeter Wesley Watkins, and Andy Wild on the sax. Together they are one hell of a raucous band, a-swinging and a-swaying, and showing the crowd what a good time can be had by being passionately into the music that they play. They’ve been on the road with their self-titled album since it came out last August, but from the atmosphere and their enthusiasm it feels like it came out only yesterday.

Received with such warmth, there is a moment where Rateliff pops his head out of a side door before they are due on stage to gauge the crowd, before coming out with the rest of the band during their support Matthew Logan Vasquez’s set, building the tempo ready for the body-vibrating rise into soul. There are still hints of Rateliff’s roots of folk-rock on ‘Howlin At Nothin’ slowing the song down and almost speaking the lyrics as if to you. And it really is good to hear Rateliff’s husky murmur, as he hums and croons through blues, jazz and soul, infused with a good ol’ feel of rock and roll. While fist pumping during ‘Thank You’ makes you aware that he’s grateful to not only yourself but for what has been achieved in the last year alone; with appearances on Jools Holland and TFI Friday reigning in the fans. It’s great to be a part of this and know that not only does the feel good music truly make you feel good but makes Rateliff and the Night Sweats feel good too.

From the floor to the balcony, the sold out gig’s crowd is joyous and happy, and we stomp our feet and join in hoping at some point to be introduced as the eighth member of the band. And for while we are there, tonight we are. Leaving the stage after their hit ‘S.O.B.’, allowing us all to curse ‘Son of a bitch, gimme a drink…’ as if that bar brawl is going to happen any second, we continue to bawl out the song’s undercurrent hoping for an encore. Never to disappoint, so they delight the crowd shimmying back onto the stage satisfying us to leave even happier than when we came in and ready to get that drink.

Newcomers there may be, but really Rateliff has always had a lot to offer. For Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats they are the newcomers, but continue on and there will be plenty more latecomers. Son of a bitch, give them a drink.

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Danielle Kenneally

Silent Radio enthusiast: Silent Radio News Editor. Silent Radio Newsletter Editor. Silent Radio Reviewer. Dangerous Panda over and out.