Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats at Marymoor Park

Nathaniel Rateliff forges ahead in his impressive career. He built his success after forming his crack Night Sweats band, delivering a full brassy, gutsy blend of RnB with a solid soul backbone. Along the way he added to his canon with three solo albums, featuring a more stripped down sound. 

In concert, understandably his set list pulls mostly from his full band repertoire. And that was the stellar delivery we experienced last night.

Whereas Steven Van Zandt’s recent version of a horn-driven band pulls from his east coast shore influences, Rateliff remains steeped in his Missouri-by-way-of-Denver roots. 

A sharp-eyed observer of the B3 organ nearly front and center at a Rateliff concert will note the front panel. The wood has been replaced with glass, a quiet testament that proves the analog hardware inside. It is that throwback sentiment that informs Rateliff’s sound, yet the music is far from retro. 

Rateliff has attracted a young crowd attracted to the honest and rootsy gutbucket sound, which is satisfying if you have been around for many years (like your faithful observer). 

After a decade working on his sound, Rateliff formed the Night Sweats in 2015. Anchored by his longtime collaborator Joseph Pope III (bass/guitar/vibes/organ/harmonica), Rateliff truly found his groove. The folks at the crucial label Stax recognized the potential of bringing the label’s historic legacy into the modern age. Both critical and commercial success followed. 

In a single week Rateliff will have played both the Hollywood Bowl and the charmingly bucolic Marymoor Park in Redmond. 

At the latter venue, the Night Sweats last night seemed at home among the pine trees, delivering a solid set. 

Wisely dropping his breakthrough hit “S.O.B.” deep into the set (the penultimate song in fact) Rateliff pulled from his array of releases. 

Notable were “Then It’s Still Alright” and “Face Down In The Moment,” the former recorded relatively nearby in Oregon for his latest solo album. 

“Out on the Weekend” amped up the energy, signaling the start of the last third of the show. 

Rateliff carefully calibrated the energy, notching it up progressively. 

Rateliff is in the midst of a mammoth tour. One memorable stop was the famed Newport Folk Festival several weeks ago. Rateliff and his band shocked the audience with a headlining set consisting entirely of Paul Simon songs. The ultimate surprise was delivered when Simon joined Rateliff onstage for “Graceland” and three more songs, marking Simon’s first ever appearance at the legendary festival. That epic collaboration was matched a few days later when Brandi Carlisle brought out Joni Mitchell for her first live performance in eons. 

But amidst the trees of Marymoor Park last night Rateliff delivered a solid and satisfying set to an ecstatic crowd. 

(photos by Ellie Auerbach)

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.