When it comes to the ingredients necessary to ensure that a live concert lives long in the memory, the setting often tops the list. The magnificently refurbished Jameson Distillery Bow St. last night proved the perfect setting for an intimate acoustic performance from the wonderful Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.
With the lights down low, and complimentary Jameson, Ginger & Limes served, the acoustics of the large round stone and wood space more than played their part in an outstanding run-through of the soulful R&B Rateliff and Co. have made their own.
The band have been on a worldwide victory lap ever since the release of their self titled album in 2015. The meteoric rise (helped in no small part by the Jools Holland Bump) saw them move from playing in the cozy confines of The Workman’s Club a month before the album dropped, to selling out a brace of gigs at the stately Olympia Theatre barely five months later. Their raucous and passionate live show has made them a fixture of festival main stages ever since. So, it’s a rare privilege to see a band who are capable of reducing audiences numbering in their thousands to stomping, clapping, hands-in-the-air hoedowns, strip it down and lay it bare for a night in such an intimate setting.
With little more than an expertly deployed Conas atá tú, opening song ‘I’ve Been Failing’ rolls in like a warm summer breeze. In this setting Rateliff’s voice really gets to shine and it’s immediately arresting to realise how much he sounds like our own Van The Man. He jokes early on that his objective for the Night Sweats was to combine his love for The Band and Sam & Dave and, even on the rollicking country stomp of ‘S.O.B.’, it’s clear that soul music is where the frontman’s passion lies. Rateliff’s sound is indebted to the past – and he’s got impeccable taste in picking the right influences.
The band is skillfully filled out with trumpet, saxophone, hammond organ, drums, bass and lap-steel, and they combine into a deep rich sound. It’s warmed further by the natural reverb of the room and, as the lap-steel takes off on ‘Wasting Time’, the notes seem to float around above us hauntingly.
Next, there's time to bask in the sublime 4-part harmonies that close out ‘Howling At Nothing’, groove along in our seats to the horn-led solid gold soul revue of ‘Look It Here’, and stamp our feet and clap along as ‘S.O.B.’ thunders past.
As The Night Sweats leave the stage, Rateliff bestows a parting gift of what he informs us is one of his favourite songs on the record, ‘I’d Be Waiting’. While the recorded version could soundtrack a fine Hawaiian holiday - with its wave-crash cymbals and cool organ licks - stripped to just his voice and a muted acoustic guitar the song becomes a heartbreakingly romantic, road-worn devotional to an absent lover. It’s also the perfect song for the room and a fitting ending to what proved a tantalising warm-up for the main event of the Bow St. Sessions proper tonight at The Academy - where Paddy’s Day will be well and truly rung in.
Check out Karl Leonard's gallery of the evening HERE
15.03.2017 Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats at Jameson Distillery Bow St.
• I’ve Been Failing
• Wasting Time
• How To Make Friends
• Howling At Nothing
• Look It Here
• I’d Be Waiting
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