Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, De Montfort Hall, Leicester, 17/11/2016 1

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, De Montfort Hall, Leicester, 17/11/2016

Fairly near the beginning of Bruce Springsteen‘s excellent ‘Born To Run‘ autobiography, he alludes to the much vaunted idea that anyone who forms a band does so, initially, for two reasons – one, to make money, or two, to get laid.

During his De Montfort Hall show this evening, Nathaniel Rateliff lays his cards on the table early – “I wrote this song in an effort to get laid“, he informs us, before lamenting, deadpan, that “it didn’t work“. The song in question is the lovely, acoustic ‘I’d Be Waiting (All Day Just To Dance With You)‘, and as Rateliff himself says, “If I’d been someone else who had written that song for ME, I’D want to sleep with me!”

The moment comes during a stunning, stripped down middle section that also paid heartfelt tribute to the late Leonard Cohen after his passing last week, with a rousing version of ‘Chelsea Hotel No.2‘. Despite the beauty and obvious sincerity though, of this particular passage of play, the truth remains that The Night Sweats are at their best when they’re bringin’ on the good times, and last night, make no bones about it, they made Leicester swing.


Support tonight arrived, with little (actually, make that zero) audience fanfare, from the magnificent Ed Harcourt. I’m not sure whether people just didn’t know who he was, perhaps presuming he was merely a sound engineer, or whether he’d shat in their beer glasses earlier in the day, but given the rather senior average age of tonight’s crowd, and the polite ripples of applause that acknowledged each song’s conclusion, I suspect the former is the more likely explanation. It’s a pity, and Harcourt himself deserves a whole lot more widespread recognition, but if even a song like ‘Furnaces‘ can’t set the world on fire (sorry), then you’re fighting a losing battle. Well, maybe not a losing one, but certainly an “it’s the taking part that counts” one with merely gentle encouragement from the surrounding throng. For his part, Harcourt is the consummate professional and plays a near flawless set which sounds simply gigantic. It surely warranted greater reciprocation.

For The Night Sweats though, the night is just one long party, seemingly over before it’s even begun. There is more than a faint whiff of Springsteen about Rateliff, if truth be told. Not that he nor his band sound anything like New Jersey’s most famous son, but the similarities are there – a multi-cultural septet of talented musicians from Stateside, the meticulously placed performers on stage to create the most aesthetically pleasing view possible for the revellers before them, the overriding feeling that Rateliff is very much in charge here, and the way he works the crowd. Above all though, the comparison is down to that burning desire to free everyday folk from the shackles of their daily grind, to provide a release, through the powerful euphoria of soulful feelgood anthems like ‘I Need Never Get Old‘, the footstomping groove of ‘I Did It‘, and the highly effective call and response of curtain closer ‘S.O.B.‘.

This was another rollicking, rip-roaring, rampant performance from one of the top live acts presently on the circuit and the perfect remedy to those winter blues. So stop ‘Wasting Time‘ and go and see them. Now.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.