Photos: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats at the Hi-Dive - Reverb

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats at the Hi-Dive, 6-1-13 (photos, review)

On Saturday, a sold out Hi-Dive continued to witness the rocketing ascent of Nathaniel Rateliff’s newest endeavor, his soul-rock outfit the Night Sweats. But first the crowd would have to wait until after midnight to finally see this unusual new band from one of Denver’s local favorites.

Ark Life opened with lively folk and DJ Jason Heller spun an inspired soul / R&B set for Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats‘ new 7″ release party.

By the time these openers had done their job, the room was primed and the yelps and hollers were spilling out before Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats even took the stage. Through the lens of the energy at Hi-Dive and the nearly 100 people turned away at the door, this is the most anticipated music project in Denver right now.

One, two, three fedora-dawning horn players climbed up to the back of the stage. Bass, organ, guitar, drums followed and quickly started vamping a James Brown-esque intro riff. A full 3 minutes of dangling the set in front of the audience passed — enough for the band to break a sweat — before the announcer introduced the man himself. Rateliff pressed through the crowd dancing and shaking his head like a gospel preacher. When he finally took the stage, Rateliff and his new band proceeded to blow the roof off the place.

For just less than 45 minutes, the Night Sweats pounded out soul songs one after another. The scene evoked a feeling of “Why does this work so well?” The same feeling is in the question: “How did Northern Ireland produce Van Morrison?” As new as this sound is for Rateliff, it seemed like most of the crowd knew what they were in for. The dance party just kept cranking the whole set. Every pair of feet was moving and Rateliff had his hand firmly on the throttle. The obvious crowd favorite was the second to last song, “Son of a Bitch,” but you could hear many people already singing along to most of the other songs. This is going to be the summer of Rateliff.

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Marc Hobelman makes websites at The Denver Post, tweets pictures of his cat and is a regular contributor to Reverb.

Evan Semón is a Denver freelance writer and photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work.