Melbourne in March is always a good place to be for live music, Bluesfest in Byron Bay brings a lot of amazing acts to these shores and the good people behind the festival make sure that us folks further south don't miss out. I have heard good things about Nathaniel Rateliff and his band The Night Sweats in a live setting, lots of energy and impeccable playing and I wasn't disappointed last Wednesday night.
Concentrating on the material from his most recent self titled album it was always going to be a barnstorming night of raw sweaty soul and that is what Nathaniel and his band delivered in spades. Leading off with I Need Never Get Old which appropriately kicks off the album, I'm immediately struck by the energy of the band and their consummate playing, they propel Nathaniel and his voice to lofty heights. Look It Here keeps the audience bouncing on their toes before slightly taking the sting out with the superb Howling At Nothing. Wasting Time is a standout track from the album, a slow mournful slice of country soul and live Nathaniel gives a subtle but powerful performance. My favourite track from the album Mellow Out is given an almost Latin feel but still retains that floating groove. Nathaniel is a polished and engaging performer and he is certainly helped out by an incredible array of talent in his band the Night Sweats.
The band also find time to road test two new tracks from their next album, Out On The Weekend is a solid thumping slab of soul and there aren't too many bands who play soul with that level of intensity and passion. Nathaniel then pushes things back up a notch with the stomping Trying So Hard Not To Know before closing the show with the hit S.O.B in a typically rousing rendition. The encore is a terrific cover of the Band's The Shape I'm In breathing life into this old chestnut. This was a great gig getting up for a gig on a work night can be tough but seeing a great band like this makes the effort more than worth it.