The buzz heard around The Roundhouse in Camden was electric. On the train to the venue, I could hear people excitedly talking about seeing Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats again. That was a common thread. All the conversations I overheard on my way there were about seeing the band again. This is a band that once you’ve seen them you do keep on going back.
Inside the venue were lots of smiling faces, eager to have a memorable night. As the houselights dimmed and the band took to the stage there was a big cheer which turned into a roar as the band got underway with “The Future” the lead track from their most record (of the same name). Then taking us back to their debut we hear both “I’ve Been Failing” and “Look It Here”. This mix goes throughout the evening, as we are treated to songs from all their releases.
Rateliff is not the kind of frontman who gives long introductions or stories between songs, he prefers to let the music do his speaking, however he does express his appreciation for the audience as he talks about wondering whether they were ever going to be able to tour again. A poignant moment for a band that has such a large live following. Whilst their records are well received, there is nothing quite like seeing those compositions come to life in front of you. The energy and enthusiasm on display throughout the band is phenomenal, as is the respect they show each other throughout the evening, taking time to appreciate each other’s musical talent.
The audience at a Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats show can really make or break things. I’ve seen them perform at a festival where the audience didn’t get very engaged and it impacted on the performance, however this audience was more than willing to give their energy to the band, each side feeding off the exuberance of the other.
The pace of music is kept quite high and only slows slightly when Rateliff takes to a keyboard for a few songs including the jazzy “Love Me Till I’m Gone”. But even these more introspective moments are backed by powerful instrumentation that keeps everyone going and enjoying themselves.
Several songs get big cheers throughout the night including “Hey Mama”, “Survivor” and “Coolin’ Out”. “Intro” especially gets a big cheer with the audience jumping and clapping along with the band as they get into the backing vocals. With no interval the audience are treated to 19 songs in a row before the band leave the stage. But the audience, as expected, are not having any of that! Demanding the band come back for more, they start cheering, clapping, and stamping. The band do come back and Rateliff asks if “Y’all wanna hear something more?” To thunderous cheers they play “Out on the Weekend” from their EP “A Little Something More From” before launching into fan favourite and, presumably, the song that will always be played as it has become their iconic singalong song, “S.O.B.” The mass sing along that ensues has the entire venue rocking and rolling. The night ends with “Love Don’t” which keeps the pace high, and the crowd pleased.
As the audience begins to disperse into the cool Camden night, many impromptu singalongs of “S.O.B.” can be heard as people make their way home. They came looking forward to a rollicking show. They leave with that feeling well and truly brought to them by a band who are on fine form.