To be honest, looking back at the last 48 hours, I’ve really been kicking myself for never having heard of Nathaniel Rateliff. Sure, I had heard their hit song “S.O.B” several times, but I never knew who sang it or what they were about. When I heard Nate Rateliff was playing a concert at America’s largest landscaped garden, in Charleston, SC, on Sunday night, I did a quick Google search to notice they had played Bonnaroo this same weekend. OK…that certainly got my attention. Also on their schedule this year is the Firefly Festival, Austin City Limits, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, and the Glastonbury Festival. Where are my keys?!?!
Nate Rateliff and the Night Sweats are everything live music is meant to be. A seven member band consisting of organ, sax, trumpet, drums, and three guitars. The thunder in Rateliff’s voice should be filed in the must-hear folder, which was emphasized with how fast the crowd got frenzied on his first note. All members of the band danced as they played, which brought everyone to another level.
What stood out to me was how energetic and fine tuned the band was for this being their ninth performance in nine nights. I had the good fortune of running into Rateliff on the property by an old mill and we got to walk and talk for a few minutes in between selfie requests, which Rateliff was happy to do with fans. I steered the entire conversation to his Bonnaroo gig:
Me: “Is it true from what I hear from other artists that Bonnaroo is the rowdiest crowd of all the festivals like Coachella?”
Rateliff: “It’s certainly up there. I mean…Coachella is in a desert so…”
(for those that don’t know, Superjam is a two-hour set in Bonnaroo where multiple bands come together for a set)
Me: “Is the Superjam rehearsed or how does that work?”
Rateliff: “We were in a room with Kamasi Washington for an hour before hand. He had on this large dashiki and his sax and just started playing and that was it. We’re like, ‘OK!'”
Me: “Did you get to see any of the other acts?”
Rateliff: “I saw Tame Impala. Our sound guy does stuff for them. It was incredible especially the bass.”
Personally, I’ve been to over 500 concerts in my life and I can say this was one of the loudest.
Their self titled album, “Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats,” was released last summer on the infamous Stax Records, a Memphis institution credited with making stars of Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, The Staple Singers, Booker T. & the M.G.’s. In a phone interview with the Post & Courier, Rateliff best described his music:
He says his mission is to create a musical gumbo of Southern soul, honky-tonk, classic rock, something akin to “if The Band was doing Sam & Dave songs.” He says that soul, in general, is a subjective label. “I just want to be known as a songwriter.”
I highly advise checking out their upcoming tour and adding it to your schedule if it works. Here is some video I took early in the show:
Rateliff’s two performances on Jimmy Fallon are great views: