August 27, 2018 Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Stir Emotions At Red Rocks Morrison, CO 8-22-18
Everything changes, not a phrase that really needs to be elaborated on, explained, it is just how life and all that encompasses it behaves. Genres in music change, interests change, fads come and go. One often asks, with all the new scenes and sounds around them, if it is even possible to bring back sounds and mentality of the past, maybe even enhance it, with modern twists.
Have no fear, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats have not only proven one can do this, but present with such sincerity and emotional dedication their music is forever interwoven with the emotional side of every one of their listeners. Since moving to Denver from out east, Rateliff has worked hard on establishing a musical project that impacted audiences. With one last ditch effort and a slew of members, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats were born, and after conquering Denver, they took on the world.
Their debut album churned out unforgettable hit after unforgettable hit with tracks like “I Need Never Get Old” and of course “S.O.B.” They followed it up with arguably one of the last decade’s most unforgettable albums, Tearing at the Seams. Released back on March 9th, the albums bring a sound of Blues, Gospel, Folk, and Country that has not been touched in such perfect manner since the days people bought actual physical copies of music.
Currently on the road to promote the release of Tearing at the Seams, it came as no surprise that in Colorado at the world famous Red Rocks, the size of the venue could not hold all the frantic fans for one night, so the band booked two sold out nights instead – August 22nd and August 23rd. All seemed to be going according to plan as the Red Rocks first date neared, when it was announced that the show scheduled just the day before in Aspen was cancelled due to illness, leaving fans worrying about the anticipated show. Much to two sold out night’s worth of fans delight, the show on Wednesday, August 2nd was going forward as planned.
If anyone is familiar with the Red Rocks venue, most would talk about the long walks and lines to get to the venue, however, on this particular event, those lines and walks seemed all the longer as it seemed the whole audience was already there 2 hrs before the doors were set to open. Droves of fans packed the parking lot, setting up tailgating meals, Foreman Grills, and wine. Then, as the sun began to set, everyone headed quickly inside to catch the first day opening band, a project out of New Orleans named Tank and the Bangas.
As Tank and the Bangas took the stage to a psychedelic version of the Pledge of Allegiance, it was clear this was not going to be your average opening band killing time before the headliner hit the stage. Quite the contrary, they were there to warp the very minds of the audience. Their experimental sound fused with operatic vocals, Rap, Funk, Acid Jazz, and just about any other musical genre one could think of was unique and held back nothing from the audience.
The lyrics generated thoughtful moments that challenged the intellect while the sound was so vast, even featuring a cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” it had members of the crowd, despite different backgrounds, moving and paying attention in unison. Just the band’s sheer energy on stage was a complete site not to be missed. If being surprised and challenged by a performance is one’s craving, this is the fix they have been waiting for.
As the sun had faded away, the time had come for the return of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats to a Colorado stage. Before the band hit the stage however, the crowd was treated to not only a viewing of the music video premiere of “You Worry Me,” but they also were introduced to the video’s directors who gave their approval of Colorado. Kicking things off with the upbeat soulful intro of the new album’s “Shoe Boot,” the party got off to a quick start with an eruptive response from the audience. The band followed tracking of the Tearing at the Seams album by jumping right into “Be There,” the crowd, moving in full sway, knew every word. The band’s sound was massive and in full sync with each other, just observing their interactions with each other made the energy completely infectious.
One of the highlights of the night came when the band played “A Little Honey,” the audience’s connection with Nathaniel was endearing to the point that it brought a tear to the charismatic singer’s eye. Shortly after, the band gave a warming tribute to none other than the sadly missed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, playing a cover of “Baby I Lost My Way.” While the band, of course, played their hit that alerted the world of their arrival, “S.O.B.,” they did cut the encores short due to Rateliff being sick. That revelation itself was telling, if that is the kind of show one can expect when the front man is not running at full steam, one when he is healthy must be nothing short of a religious experience.
This tour is not only one to be missed, but one that is highly encouraged to attend as much as possible. The swirl of emotions Nathaniel Rateliff’s music puts one through is ever changing through the performance and truly serves afterward as an almost “chicken soup for the soul.” With dates still upcoming, get out there and be inspired.