We first saw Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats a few years ago. The show was originally slated to happen at Johnny Brenda’s, which is a bar in the Fishtown neighborhood in Philadelphia. Then, the band appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and their song “S.O.B” blew up!
The show was moved to the TLA on South Street, which is a much bigger venue, and still sold out. We missed out on tickets, but really wanted to go. So, we stood outside the venue and waited to see if anyone was selling tickets. We snagged one from someone whose friend couldn’t attend, but we were still one short.
The doors to the venue closed and the band started playing, but we were still stuck outside with only one ticket. To our surprise, the manager of the box office walked out. He said he saw us standing outside the whole time looking for tickets, and that he admired our dedication. Then he handed us a ticket and told us to have fun! We missed the first couple songs, but still had a great time.
When this show was announced, I made sure to get our tickets right away. I’m glad I did, because this show sold out as well! Keep reading to find out what I thought of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats the second time around.
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We’ve attended several shows at The Mann Center. It’s my favorite outdoor venue in Philadelphia. But, this was our first time seeing a show at The Skyline Stage, which is a smaller stage at the top of the lawn in the back of the venue. You can learn more about attending a show at The Mann Center here:
I loved the vibe at The Skyline Stage. When we arrived, there were lots of people sitting on blankets and just relaxing to the music. They had several food trucks set up so you could grab something to eat. It had the feeling of a family-friendly all-day music festival rather than a concert.
Although the show was sold out, it didn’t feel crowded. When Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats came on, we decided to try and get closer to the stage. Without any trouble and without encroaching on anyone’s space, our group of four was able to get one row back from the rail.
Tip #1: One of my favorite things about The Mann Center is the amazing view of the Philadelphia city skyline. Be sure to stop and take a look!
Tip #2: Blankets are allowed on the lawn at The Skyline Stage, but lawn chairs are not for most shows. Be sure to check the website or call the box office for the rules for the particular show you are attending.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Brent Cowles grew up in Colorado Springs. It was there that he first discovered he could sing, by singing hymns in his father’s church. As with most teens, being limited to church hymns wasn’t enough, and Cowles started exploring other types of music.
By the age of 17, Cowles recorded his first demo. At age 18, he got married. By 19, he was divorced. Despite the turmoil of his personal life, Cowles musical career kept blossoming. He formed the band You Me & Apollo, which drew a lot of critical praise and took over his life. The band went on to record two albums and tour nationally before they decided to break up.
While the break-up of the band was hard on Cowles, it also gave him the freedom to express himself more musically, and write the music he wanted to write. This exploration led to the writing and recording of his solo debut album – How To Be Okay Alone. The album was recorded with producer/engineer/drummer Joe Richmond over a six day period in an isolated stretch of Joshua Tree. The album is set to be released on June 15th.
Unfortunately, the show start time was changed from 7:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. the day of the show, with Cowles taking the show right at 6:30 p.m. We were meeting friends in the parking lot, and couldn’t make it in early enough to see Cowles. I heard some of his set from the parking lot, but not enough to write about. We’ll have to catch him next time he is in town.
Cowles will be on the road all summer and into the fall promoting the new album. You can find all of his upcoming tour dates on his website at www.brentcowles.com.
THE HEAD AND THE HEART
ABOUT THE ARTIST
The Head and the Heart were formed in 2009 by Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, percussion). The two met while they were living in Seattle and performing at open mic nights at the Conor Byrne Pub in Ballard.
Johnson and Russell recruited the rest of the members of the original line-up including Charity Rose Theilen (violin, guitar, vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (piano) and Tyler Williams (drums).
Shortly after forming, the band recorded their first album – The Head and the Heart. They burned copies of the cd themselves and sold them at shows. The band signed with Sub Pop at the end of 2010, and re-released the album in 2011.
The Head and the Heart released their second studio album – Let’s Be Still – in 2013. The album made it all the way to number 10 on the Billboard 200 album charts, and the band spent most of 2014 touring in support of the album.
In 2016, the band released its third album – Signs of Light – which included its biggest hit to date “All We Ever Knew”. Unfortunately, founding member Josiah Johnson had to step away from touring with the band in 2017 to try and manage his drug addiction. Johnson remains on hiatus from the band and has been replaced by Theilen’s husband Matt Gervais.
While it wasn’t apparent from the show announcement, this was really a co-headlining show with The Head and The Heart and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. Both bands played around a 60-minute set.
The Head and the Heart took the stage shortly after 7:00 p.m. It was still light outside during their whole set due to the long summer days, which made it a bit strange for a headlining set.
While I’m not too familiar with the band’s music outside of a couple of songs, I really enjoyed their set. Their sound reminds me a bit of The Lumineers. It’s a little bit “folky” with a rock twist to it.
I particularly enjoyed Thielan’s vocals. She has a powerful voice and I would have loved to see her highlighted on more songs.
The Head and the Heart will be on the road all summer. Check out their website for future show dates at www.theheadandtheheart.com.
NATHANIEL RATELIFF & THE NIGHT SWEATS
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Nathaniel Rateliff was born in St. Louis, and grew up in rural Missouri. He first got involved with music when he joined his family’s gospel band. Unfortunately, the band came to an end when Rateliff’s father was tragically killed in a car accident.
While the accident put an end to the band, it didn’t put an end to Rateliff’s love of music. In 1998, Rateliff and his friend (and now member of his band) Joseph Pope III moved to Denver. They worked at a bottle factory and trucking company, while testing out their music at open-mic nights.
Over the next several years, Rateliff toyed around with his musical style. He went from heavy rock to folk. While he gained the attention of some major labels and gained some critical success, he still wasn’t happy with the direction his music was going.
Around 2010, Rateliff went back to his musical roots – a soul/Motown sound. The new direction led to the formation of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, and the release of their self-titled album in 2015. The Night Sweats featured Joseph Pope III (bass), Mark Shusterman (keyboards), Patrick Meese (drums), Luke Mossman (guitar), Wesley Watkins (trumpet), and Andy Wild (saxophone).
The lead single from the album was “S.O.B”. Rateliff had decided to take one more shot at “making it” in the music business. He got his break, when Jimmy Fallon heard the song and fell in love with it. Fallon booked Rateliff and his band on The Tonight Show to play the song, and the rest is history! “S.O.B” became a huge hit, and led to the band embarking on a huge world tour.
In May of 2017, Rateliff and his band headed to New Mexico, and disappeared for a week to write the music for their follow-up album. After writing the songs, they headed to rural Oregon and the home studio of producer Richard Swift to record Tearing at the Seams. When they were recording the album, the band basically went into long jam sessions. The result was a very loose and live sounding record. The lead single off the album – “You Worry Me” – has been climbing the charts and getting plenty of radio play.
Let me start by saying that I didn’t take notes during this show like I usually do. We were at the show with some good friends, and I just wanted to enjoy the night. In fact, I was debating whether or not to even do a blog post on the show. It’s been a crazy week or so, and time was not on my side to get it done.
But, the show was so much fun and so good, that I felt like I had to write up something, even if it wasn’t the level of detail I normally share.
Rateliff and his band took the stage around 8:30 p.m. From the minute they took the stage, the show was high energy. The whole crowd was dancing, singing and clapping along the whole night.
Rateliff was wearing a white jacket and white hat, and led his band through song after song. Even though their set was only about 60 minutes, they played 15 songs during that time.
Along with Rateliff, keyboardist Mark Shusterman was the other star of the show. We were standing right in front of him, and you could see the joy in his face every time he looked out at the crowd. He was constantly standing up and encouraging the crowd to clap along.
The horn section got featured on the intro to “Babe I Know”.
The main set wrapped up with three high energy songs – “Hey Mama”, “S.O.B”, and “Trying So Hard”. Surprisingly, “S.O.B.” was not save for the encore. In fact, the encore was a little bit of a let-down after such a high energy show. Rateliff was joined on stage by The Head and the Heart, and they played “Atlantic City”, which was originally done by Bruce Springsteen in 1982. Since it seemed an odd choice for an encore, I thought maybe it was done specifically for the Philly show. However, it appears that it’s what they have been closing with every night.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats put on a fantastic show. I feel like they keep getting better, and I’m looking forward to what’s next for them.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats are currently on a tour across North America that will last all summer. For more information and upcoming tour dates, check out their website at www.nathanielrateliff.com.
Set List (click on any link to purchase the song directly on Amazon): Shoe Boot, Be There, Look It Here, Little Honey, Coolin’ Out, Out On the Weekend, You Worry Me, Wasting Time, You Should’ve Seen the Other Guy, Babe I Know, I Need Never Get Old, Hey Mama, S.O.B, Trying So Hard Not To Know Encore: Atlantic City with The Head and The Heart (Bruce Springsteen cover)
Are you a fan of The Head and The Heart or Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats? Have you caught them on tour? Let us know what you think by commenting below or e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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