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LIVE REVIEW + GALLERY: NATHANIEL RATELIFF & THE NIGHTSWEATS (MASSEY HALL / TORONTO, ON)

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Friday night saw historic Massey Hall transform into a show straight out of the 1950’s by hosting  Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. The eight piece band, including front-man Nathaniel Rateliff, draw heavy inspirations from vintage rhythm & blues along with some classic Southern rock. Songs like “S.O.B”, their track that bolstered the octet to mainstream fame, really pay homage to legends from the past like Elvis Presley and the Allman Brothers, while also maintaining the balance of soul (Percy Sledge). With Rateliff’s deep and husky voice which has an impressive amount of range, the addition of horns along with the guitars and drums really create a solid atmosphere of music from the past. This modern twist of what some considered an “outdated genre”, really has revitalized the appeal and popularity of rhythm and blues. This was evident due to the wide age demographic in attendance at the show Friday. Young fans ages 19 all the way to the elderly were standing up to dance and sing along to Nathaniel Rateliff and his band’s killer performance.

It was great to not only document but also witness one of my favorite bands absolutely tear up the stage. Although you can sum up Rateliff’s stage presence and ability to lead in a number of positive ways, there really is only one word that describes him best: suave. Doing a sort of moonwalk/shuffle around stage with apparent ease, the Missouri-bred singer/songwriter had the audience’s attention captivated throughout their set. Playing an assortment of tracks from their debut and sophomore albums as well as the 2018 release Tearing at the Seams (a more dark and soulful take), I have not seen a more lively and energetic crowd at Massey Hall like the one I saw for Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. It almost felt like I was at some rural town in one of the those warm, sunny states down South where the scene was alive with dancing and music back in vintage America. This is when you know live music is at its peak: when the artist(s) are able to bring the listener to a place with their music where the setting truly encapsulates the aesthetic and meaning behind each song.

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