Music Reviews — 03 November 2015
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats Explode in Brooklyn

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

A LocalBozo.com Concert Review
Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
November 2, 2015

Concert Review: Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats at Music Hall of Williamsburg

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Backed by a seven piece band that produced enough energy on their own to fill the already sold out ballroom space at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats managed to rev an excitable crowd to an even further frenzy on a Monday night in New York City. The band’s first of two local shows- they return Wednesday evening at a sold out Bowery Ballroom- was streamed live on SiriusXM’s ‘Spectrum’ channel to fans listening around the world. But for nearly 75 minutes, the utterly nonstop show was all about the experience for the few hundred fortunate enough to be in the house to appreciate the bluesy blend of soul and rock that the frontman brings with him to each show from his humble Missouri upbringing. And based on the singer’s charismatic penchant for performing, he’ll need every bit of that humility as he attempts to remain grounded as the band continues along on its meteoric rise.

Following a brief set from support act Land Lines, the show would begin streaming live on SiriusXM shortly after 10pm where the cavalcade of band members would begin pouring onto the stage. Despite their frontman’s powerful stage presence and a bellowing voice to match, the pairing of the group’s frenetic keyboardist Mark Shusterman and a brilliant horns section complete a layered and dynamic band which caters exceptionally well to the group’s classical style. Rateliff meanwhile infectiously shuffles his black boots around the stage floor in between playing lead guitar and shimmying around his tambourine, all while harnessing a touch of Joe Cocker with his throwback voice.

For fans looking to stomp their feet and dance around in place, their hunger had been naturally appeased with the likes of “I Need Never Get Old,” a wonderfully appropriate show opener that makes the best use of the collective group’s talents- namely, isolating Rateliff’s voice in nearly silent harmony with his mates before the entire band rhythmically jolts back into song enthusiastically. The group’s minimalist approach- from its stage setup to its crowd banter- truly allows their musicianship to shine both in vocal harmonies and when playing together cohesively.  Cuts like “Look It Here” and the infectiously soulful “Howling at Nothing” were particular highlights during a set that was rife with plenty of them.

Though the show was without much in the way of mellow moments, the sultry “Shake” and the good spirited “I Just Want to Thank You” acted as well placed precursors for the evening’s most anticipated moment.  In August, defiant drinking anthem “S.O.B.” launched Nathaniel Rateliff into prominence with a performance on The Tonight Show that ended with a standing ovation.  On Monday, the song was the long awaited catalyst for a Brooklyn crowd eruption- the type of memorable experience that strangers sharing a standing room space can similarly enjoy together.  The entire first floor transformed into a folksy dance party, with drinks being held overhead, hands clapping in unison and the song’s familiar melodic hum acting as a rallying chant throughout the venue.  So transfixed in fact was the vociferous audience that the chanting continued long after the wildly fun live song’s conclusion and through the encore, welcoming the entire band back to the stage as has become customary.  Yet the moment seemed so classically organic and a representation of experiencing the exuberance of a live concert in its absolute purist form.

 - Jane Van Arsdale

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