No Worries: Nathaniel Rateliff’s Long Road to SXSW
When Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats take the SXSW Outdoor Stage presented by MGM Resorts, they ought to feel right at home. Two years ago — their first time headlining the venue — the Denver-based octet sold out Red Rocks, the picturesque outdoor amphitheater that has hosted milestone shows by everyone from U2 to John Denver. Rateliff has memories of attending shows there by the likes of the Allman Brothers Band, Sharon Jones, Spoon, and Leonard Cohen.
“We worked a long time and never thought we’d actually be headlining that stage,” says the singer, valiantly fighting off the natural distractions of conducting a phone interview at London’s hectic Heathrow Airport. “We had the support of everybody in Denver, and other bands from across the state came to see us. It was a real surprise… kind of blew
By that point — the show fell exactly one year after the release of the group’s self-titled debut LP — Rateliff and the Night Sweats were already one of the decade’s most dynamic new bands, stamping soulful folk-rock with explosive energy. All it took was one late-summer performance of breakout single “S.O.B.” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon for a nationwide audience to discover what Mile High fans already knew. Rolling Stone called it “2015’s wildest vintage-soul rave-up” and the year’s nineteenth-best song. Night Sweats shows often climax by coupling “S.O.B.” with The Band’s “The Shape I’m In.”