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Nathaniel Rateliff performing with the Night Sweats

Review: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

  • NQ's Jordan Murphy reviews Nathaniel Rateliff's Manchester Apollo set
  • "Rateliff and his amazing band warm up the Manchester Apollo on a cold rainy night"

 

I stood outside the Manchester Apollo, soaked to the bone, freezing cold and miserable. The rain had been torrential all day. Knowing I had to trek home in it only encouraged the thought of leaving this gig early. But months of anticipation prevailed and I stuck it out. How glad I am that I did.

As the lights went down, the crowd roared and clapped in unison and the intro hit us right the heart with its soul. There was an even bigger roar as Rateliff walked onto the stage, picking up his guitar and going straight into a pounding rendition of I’ve Been Failing.

The beat was instantly infectious. Already  the audience was buzzing. Everybody was up dancing, singing along to every song. As the band transitioned into I Need Never Get Old, the crowd crescendoed, the horn section hit, the drums pounded. You could feel the energy in the room grow.

Nathaniel Rateliff has this special knack of capturing an audience and not letting them go. As he moved through the set the songs became mellow. The band went off, leaving just Rateliff and his guitar, talking to the audience about the artists who have been lost in 2016, particularly his love for Leonard Cohen. As the crowd clapped their appreciation, he proceeded to play a beautiful solo rendition of Chelsea Hotel.

This could have been a weak point for the night. Rateliff, however, showed just how talented he is; not only does he have the power in his voice to sit on top of a seven piece band, he also possesses the ability to mellow out.

After a couple of solo tracks, the Night Sweats came back out and wasted no time in getting the crowd pumping again. The buzz coming off the band was something special: every player was giving it their all and their enthusiasm was not only seen but felt, particularly the horn section. When they weren’t playing, they were up dancing and getting the crowd going.

As the night came to a close, Rateliff introduced the Night Sweats, told the crowd how special they were and proceeded to hum the opening to S.O.B. The crowd went crazy. The performance was stellar, the atmosphere was superb, everybody was up and dancing and all that could be heard was the deafening sound of 3,500 people singing that undeniably catchy hook.

Even when the song finished and the band left the stage, the crowd didn’t stop. For a full ten minutes, the Apollo was filled with a chorus of S.O.B.

What a turnround. When I entered the Apollo I was miserable and just wanted to go home and get into bed, but I’m glad I stuck it out because this night turned out to be the best gig I have ever been to. It’s safe to say the person who entered the Apollo wasn’t the same one who left – all thanks to Nathaniel Rateliff.

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