Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
August 1, 2017
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats wer4e formed in Denver, CO in 2013. The band's genesis occurred when Rateliff, a singer and songwriter who had released Desire and Dissolving Men on Public Service Records in 2007 (as Nathaniel Rateliff & the Wheel), a solo record on Rounder Records entitled In Memory of Loss (2010), as well as an independent released called Falling Faster Than You Can Run in 2013, realized that the new songs he had been writing required a full-band to bring them to life. As a result he formed the Night Sweats. Rateliff and his band play music that defies one specific label. It is best described a a music gumbo that mixes and is influenced by folk, funk Americana, rock, pop, roots, blues and R&B. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats have dropped two critically acclaimed Stax Records albums: the eponymously titled debut release in 2015 and A Little Something More from Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats in 2016. It has achieved success on the singles chart with "Look It Here," "I Need Never Get Old," "Wasting Time" and the group's biggest hit, the rockin' "S.O.B."
The band is known for its reputation as a "must see" live act. It is known for stage shaking shows that not only leave the performers dripping with sweat but the audience (from those upfront and pressed to the stage to the fan with the seat in the venue's very last row) members equally spent and sweaty. The group is comprised of Rateliff, the brawny front man on guitar and vocals as well as seven backing musicians including Joseph Pope III (bass), Patrick Meese (drums), Luke Mossman (guitar), Mark Shusterman (keys), Wesley Watkins (trumpet) and Andy Wild (saxophone) and another gentleman on sax.
On a warm evening following a very warm and humid day, Rateliff and his band stormed the stage at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater. The band's ferocious set opened with "I’ve Been Failing." Rateliff has such a bigger than life persona. When he paused prior to playing the new song "Cooling Out," the audience members were on the edge its seats as he asked, "How's everybody doing tonight?" He worked them into a frenzy with a simple statement of, "My name's Nathaniel Rateliff. We're happy to be here...I guess we REALLY are on our own island. Everybody ready to have a good time?" The crowd responded with rousing cheers, applause and whistles.
The energy on the stage was incandescent. Rateliff and his crew brought a nostalgic flair with a rocking and rolling esthetic to the powerful set. The band members strutted through kick-ass versions of "Out On The Weekend, "Wasting Time" and another new song "Why You Gotta Wait." Other highlights included the driving Memphis soul influenced "The Intro" and the horn-driven "Look It Here."
AS the show wound down, the band then stomped through an amazing version of "I Need Never get Old." As the first notes of the song were played the members of the standing-room only pit as well as the seated audience members jumped to their feet and bopped to the beat. Even the ushers and venue security staff were seen dancing in-place at their stations.
The band saved the best for last. "S.O.B." caused the mid-sized venue bay to shake, rattle and roll. Audience members danced and let loose with abandon. They sang along and took special relish in shouting the sound's epitaph "son of a bitch!" They even took it one step further as they sang along with Rateliff on the chorus:
"Son of a bitch Give me a drink One more night This can't be me Son of a bitch"
and the repetitious call-and-response "Oh oh oh oh oh" lyric.
As the lights came up, Ratelif took a moment to thank the audience when he stepped forward to say, "Once again, my name's Nathaniel Rateliff, and we are the Night Sweats. It's been a pleasure playing for you!"
It was a pleasure seeing the band. The performance was everything that a live concert should be--strong, powerful, raucous, rocking and fiery. Rateliff's voice was soft and sweet when it needed to be and deep and resonant, like thunder, when required. The crowd was worked into a frenzy from the very first note. The fans danced the night away as did the band members. Rateliff's voice combined with his band's energy and showmanship made the evening one for the ages. Both the audience and the musicians left the venue with huge smiles on their faces.
Photo Credit: Christine Connallon
Photo Credit: Christine Connallon