Image: 303 Magazine
It started about 4 years ago when his label passed on releasing his solo album Falling Faster Than You Can Run (he would eventually release it on his own and it would go on to get a glowing review from the New York Times among other outlets). Depressed by the situation, and even considering giving up on music, Nathaniel penned his first Nightsweats song about the whole ordeal, Trying So Hard Not To Know. And the songs kept coming…
“We’ve been playing these songs for 3 fuckin’ years” -Nathaniel Rateliff
Even so, the band Monday night (the first of two at Red Rocks) attacked the songs like it was the first time. Now 10 strong, the Nightsweats took the stage in matching black denim jackets, an embroidered eagle on the back and Nightsweats across the shoulders. The band leaned into the intro music as the crowd waited for Rateliff to walk on from the wings. Once he did, the party was on.
While the setlist has not changed a lot (tough to do when you only have one album out) there were some surprises. A few of the songs were stretched out beyond their album length with psychedelic flourishes and occasional Yardbirds-like guitar rave ups. After reverently talking about singing on Chuck Berry’s last record, Rateliff launched into a reved up reworking of his solo song Boil & Fight complete with Nathaniel’s take on Berry’s signature duck walk. Chuck would have approved. The evening ended with raucous cover of Leon Russell’s Delta Lady
3 new songs were unveiled too. The first was similar to the R&B stompers on the current album. The second was a midtempo number that had Rateliff channeling his inner Ray Charles and the third was some country soul that would not have sounded out of place on side two of Exile On Main Street. Which begs the obligatory question about a new album. I spoke to Nathaniel the previous week and he said he thought he had it wrapped up but was tinkering a little more with it. He also thought he might have a few more songs in him for it as well. Look for it to come out early 2017. Until then the band remains on the road through November.