BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats brought their upbeat brand of Roots-Rock Americana to the Fox Theater in Oakland Saturday night for the first of a pair of sold-out shows.
Rateliff, 39, is the face and lead vocalist of the Denver based band that has pleasantly merged diverse genres ranging from soulful R&B to folk rock with a touch of gospel. Since debuting in 2015 with a self-titled album, NRNS has proceeded to produce an additional three releases (one an EP, another a live album), most recently the well received “Tearing at the Seams,” which dropped to critical acclaim in March.
Born in St. Louis, Rateliff got his first taste of musicianship as a drummer in his family’s gospel band. Years later, he first started to attract national attention with the infectious “S.O.B.,” the first single from the debut effort by him and the Night Sweats.
Generously sharing the spotlight over the course of the evening with band mates Luke Mossman on guitar, Joseph Pope III on bass, drummer Patrick Meese, keyboardist Mark Shusterman and the brilliant three-man horn section of saxophonists Andreas Wild and Jeff Dazey along with trumpeter Scott Frock, Rateliff and the group delivered an uplifting performance that kept the crowd on their feet all the way into the balcony.
Seemingly placing their own stamp on a classic soul sound influenced by the likes of Muscle Shoals and Stax, Rateliff and Company displayed a sound best compared to The Band on a number of occasions. Fan favorites from the new album including “Hey Mama,” also seemed to emulate the work of Van Morrison.
Taking a moment to dedicate “Babe I Know” to Aretha Franklin, Rateliff showed he has a deep respect for the influences of those that came before him on more than a few instances. Unfortunately Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” needed to be cut from the setlist due to time constraints, but if the 11 cuts NRNS played from “Tearing at the Seams” Saturday night are any indication their future is indeed bright.
After Sunday’s show at The Fox, the band next moves on to Colorado for a trio of shows in the Rockies. NRNS is scheduled to play Tuesday in Aspen before headlining a pair of hometown shows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre the following two nights.