Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Brought the Funk to Double Decker
The crowd was underwhelming during the day on Saturday of Double Decker, but that all changed about two hours before the headliner band, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats took the stage. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats released their first album in August of 2015 with their music being described as soulful rhythm and blues, folk rock, and retro.
I noticed the streets began filling up with people and the area around the stage became more densely crowded with fans waiting to hear Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. The band went on stage around 8:45pm Saturday night, and the funky tunes of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats began to fill the night and engulf the Oxford Square.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats opened with their original song, “I Need Never Get Old,” and then introduced themselves to the crowd and said hello to Oxford. I was in the middle of the crowd standing on the sidewalk outside of The Blind Pig welcoming the cooler air that had arrived after the sunset. I had a great view of the large crowd in front of the stage, but I was more impressed with the large number of people enjoying the music on balconies lining North Lamar. Most balconies seamed as though they were at peak capacity with people soaking in the fresh sound of Nathaniel Rateliff and company.
I was first introduced to Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats when they made their television debut on “The Tonight with Jimmy Fallon” on August 5th, 2015. At first, I was simply amused by the band name because Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats is not an exactly appealing band name although amusing. They played their hit “S.OB.” that night on Jimmy Fallon, and I was an instant fan. When I heard that this band would be performing at Double Decker, I knew I would be in attendance. I was surprised when I heard they were the headliner for the weekend. I feel as though they are still a fairly new band, and many people in the crowd Saturday night were not very familiar with them and their music.
One of the aspects of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats that makes their music so great and brings them a growing number of fans is how fun their music is. People were dancing and grooving to the music even if they were not singing along. The up beat, rock tempo of the drums and the R&B tones of the tenor sax and trumpet created beats that even the completely uncoordinated in the crowd, like me, could find a comfortable rhythm to sway to the music.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats dressed in typical performing musician style wore an array of all black, but band members had their own unique “fedora-esque” style hat. I liked how each member of the stage moved around the stage as much as their instrument allowed. Those in the crowd could tell the band was having just as much fun playing their music as we were enjoying it.
Although live performances are not always the best example of some bands’ sound, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats sounded polished and radio ready. The lead singer Nathaniel Ratliff has a naturally raspy voice, but he managed to keep his even tone throughout the full set of songs. Rateliff incorporated the audience into many of the numbers encouraging audience participation throughout the night. One song he did not have to encourage audience participation was their hit, “S.O.B.” This was their closing song prior to the encore number. Although a serious song about a man with a drinking problem, most were singing along with the first chorus, but by the second chorus everyone was clapping and repeating the catchy and comical lyrics that are the song, “S.O.B.”
“Son of a Bitch, Give Me a Drink,” were some of the most sung lyrics of the night from the entire crowd in attendance enjoying music from Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. This may also ring true for most in attendee of Double Decker, those at the concert, and otherwise.