Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
bout half-way through the concert, Nathaniel Rateliff, who had built up a pretty good pool of sweat by that point, lamented to the supportive throng to the effect "it's hot in here." Nice try. In reality, Rateliff only had himself and his backing band The Night Sweats to blame.
The comfortable, pleasant evening was punctuated for a good 95 minutes of top-of-the line ditties from Rateliff and his ace backing band who brought it from the get go ("Look It Here" and "I've Been Falling") and never ever let up (closing with the propulsive, clap along, crowd-sourced "S.O.B." and "Love Don't") in what felt like a summertime soul revival.
Rateliff has perfected the merger of soul, Stones-styled rock ("Intro"), gospel and a touch of Americana for an uplifting night. Rateliff, 43, has one big voice that simply dominates. No wonder it was mixed right out front throughout
The Night Sweats more than lived up to their name because it's certainly not only Rateliff who made the evening a music gem. Sometimes horn sections are employed only intermittently. Not with Rateliff. The trio of Andreas Wild (saxophone), Daniel Hardaway (trumpet) and Jeff Dazey (saxophone) time and again packed a musical wallop with Dazey's baritone sax particularly expressive. They drew deserved a hearty round of applause for their extended burn of an intro to "Face Down in the Moment."
Keyboardist Mark Shusterman added numerous flourishes as well. Credit as well to the ever-steady drumming of Patrick Meese, who worked hand in hand with bassist Joseph Pope II.
And Ratefliff - or at least his sound person - readily recognized that this is indeed a musical collective because of an excellent sound mix where multiple instruments could easily be heard. Not to mention Rateliff's vocals, which were almost easy to decipher, particularly welcome because this was not some quiet music. Rateliff also showed he was a superb lead guitarist.
This was a show where there was no time for a bathroom break. One of the few occurrences where the set did not plough full steam ahead was on the contemplative "And It's Still Alright," (it's about hard times and death and written following the untimely death of Rateliff's producer) featuring Rateliff on acoustic guitar and occasional input from Shusterman and guitarist Luke Mossman. The song may not have packed the musical wallop of the rest of the set, but that was not needed. Filled with heartfelt emotion, Rateliff's full-bodied baritone may you listen with rapt attention.
Now, if he would only do this in the dead of winter, it'd be even more appreciated.