Nathaniel Rateliff has an effortlessly smooth voice that I (and plenty of others) adore listening to. On Australian soil for the first time as part of the line up for Bluesfest, Rateliff’s smoothness was on stage at 170 Russell with the wondrous Night Sweats and the combo had me jumping all over the dance floor.
The amazing choice to bring in the angelic All Our Exes Live in Texas as the support act was great – there felt like an amount of contrast between the relaxed folk stylings of the Exes mixed with the heavier R’n’B of the main act.
All Our Exes have been taking Australia by storm- they supported the Backstreet Boys last year, just wrapped up a tour with Passenger, and are hitting the road again with Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. Their resumé is as amazing as their actual music, a set full of songs about ex lovers, being perpetually poor, and some great banter about finding spoons with their faces on them in Savers. Ironically, none of their exes live in Texas… yet. I reckon if I could get four fantastic people to sing beautiful four part harmony about my own crappy past relationships, any ex would probably want to make the trip over to the U.S. after all.
The crowd poured in to see Rateliff and the Night Sweats, and I managed to score a position at the front, right next to the absolute legend who spent the entire night blowing bubbles onto the stage. The audience was no niche subculture – I’d gauge the attendees were aged anywhere between 20 and 70, with a pretty even distribution, and even the most stoic was dancing round by the end of the night. They were also dedicated: singalongs were frequent and everyone held their own, whether it was call and response or just brilliantly screaming along slightly off key.
I expected greatness, and that is exactly what I received. Nathaniel was dedicated to not only perfect singing, but dancing round the stage, switching instruments constantly, and keeping up some damn high energy levels that even involved some floor work dancing. The Night Sweats were even more next-level – they have choreography. Choreography. Especially the amazing horn section who had such great moves that I spent a lot of the time watching them to see what they’d do next – especially Wesley the trumpet player, clearly the crowd favourite, particularly according to the guys next to me screaming his name hysterically.
My highlight was the instant classic ‘S.O.B‘ which had all of us clapping and humming and hollering – and it was so good it was pulled out again for the encore.
This was an amazing night with one of my fave Aussie acts pairing up with one of my favourite U.S. ones – you really can’t go wrong with a lineup like that.