The first time I heard Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, I thought I was the only one enraptured by the group. Sunday’s sold-out show at Tipitina’s (and all of the band’s other tour stops) determined that is not so. Apparently, I’m not the only person who watches Jimmy Fallon after all.
Full disclosure: I didn’t actually see the Night Sweats’ debut performance on The Tonight Show, but the friend (who usually knows absolutely nothing about good music) who sent me the link to the video obviously did. I was instantly hooked on the smooth sounds of Rateliff’s voice, and who doesn’t love a good drinking anthem? “S.O.B.” chronicles the struggle of needing just one more drink. We the people of New Orleans can relate to that sentiment (especially following another devastating Saints loss earlier in the day, and the potential of losing our Defensive Coordinator in the aftermath).
As a girl who goes to hundreds of live shows a year, I started searching for the Night Sweats’ tour dates as soon as I was introduced to their music. I was excited to see they would be coming to New Orleans, but devastated to find out the concert already was sold out. Taking to Craigslist to try and score these coveted tickets, I was shocked to see that what originally was a $13 ticket was going for $100 a pop. Criminals, I thought, yet I still would have paid it. Ultimately, I didn’t have to, but it would have been worth every penny.
There is something magical about seeing a band right after it blows up. The musicians are still grateful and surprised to see that so many people have come out to see them, and they still play like they have something to prove. On Sunday Rateliff and the Night Sweats proved they could rock the house for 1,000 adoring fans from around the country. One couple I met had flown in from Washington D.C. after catching the show there last week. Another drove in from Austin Saturday morning and were driving back as soon as the show ended. A cultlike following? They proved they’ve got that, too.
Rateliff may look like your typical Denver folk rock singer, but his sound is anything but ordinary. It has this old-time feel, yet still sounds fresh and current, which is why it’s not surprising that his music is reaching fans of all ages. Although his is more bluesy and less country, it’s not a stretch to compare his tone to other newcomer Chris Stapleton, who just cleaned house at the Country Music Awards. The Night Sweats seem poised on the verge of equal success.
I’m just going to go ahead and put this out there, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival: It looks like the band is still available April 22- May 1. Make your move.