Gig Review: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats @ Bristol o2 Academy 9/3/16

by Polly Hember


Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats are a rag-time septet that sees rootsy and raucous Americana, vintage rhythm and blues, and classic rock and roll collide. This electric amalgamation of big-band sounds is held together with an infectious energy, one that was felt throughout the sold-out o2 academy in Bristol last week.


Rateliff has a rich, folky background and has been on the acoustic Americana scene for quite some time. The Night Sweats joined him in 2013, bringing big brass sounds, sexy saxophones, and a dynamic vivacity that epitomises contemporary modern American soul music. However, one can see Rateliff’s folky roots woven deep into each song, pouring soulfulness into their soul music. His pensive lyrics and raspy tenor vocals roaring alongside the feverish energy of the Night Sweats, is where the authentic and the enjoyable collide.


Performing songs from their eponymous debut album, they performed the tender ‘Thank you’, the hip-swaying ‘Howling at Nothing’, the highlights of a tight set. They built up to a rowdy rendition of ‘S.O.B’, the quirky novelty song has launched them into public attention. The dense crowd exploded with excitement as the distinctive rhythm and opening hummed notes closed the set- the dense crowd moved, twirled and clapped along to this giddy climax, shouting the lyrics back at the stage: “Son of a bitch, get me a drink!”.

The uncontainable energy carried on long after the band left the stage; the crowd hummed the 8-bar rhythm of ‘S.O.B’ repeatedly as a musical and fitting call for an encore, which the Night Sweats delivered with vigour and gratitude. Pausing in between songs at many times throughout the night, Rateliff told Bristol how much they appreciated their audience and the enthusiasm for their music. It is always a pleasure to see a band enjoy the night as much as their audience; each of the beaming band members variously clapped, danced and moved to their music. The trumpet-player, donned in a peak-cap and waistcoat, did not stand still for a single second, constantly moving along to the contagious and catchy rhythms. Standing outside signing tickets, posing for photos and still beaming, he was asked where his energy came from. He replied simply: ‘Just grateful, just grateful, just love what we do.’

Raw, humble, and whiskey-soaked – Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats performed their brilliantly penned and catchy songs with a vitality that was a pleasure to behold and be a part of. Achieving widespread acclaim for their authentic rootsy soul, On the Beat are excited to see where the Night Sweats will take their fever and enthusiasm next; this is an exciting year for a brilliant band with a big sound, with only bigger things to come.


They will be returning to Bristol once again in the Autumn – book your tickets now.

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Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweat's official music video for 'S.O.B'.

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