Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats' "Triumphant Return" to Denver

Nathaniel Rateliff says he’s pretty worn out at this point. He says he’s visited a lot of doctors in the last year and gotten a bunch of intravenous vitamin injections along the way. The longest span of time that he and his band the Night Sweats have had off since June of last year has been a little under two and a half weeks. The rest of the past year has pretty much been spent on the road, playing festivals and sold-out venues around the States, Europe and the United Kingdom.

“We’ve been really busting our asses,” Rateliff says. “We’ve been trying to take advantage of the record doing well, work as much as we can, and do our best while people are into what we’re doing.”

The band’s self-titled debut, which came out a year ago on the Stax imprint, has done particularly well thanks in part to the band’s performance of the album’s breakout hit, “S.O.B,” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last August, as well as a repeat performance on the show in February, when the group performed “I Need Never Get Old” with the Roots. Fallon even joined in.

Denver sons Rateliff & the Night Sweats have also gained exposure through television commercials, including the Kia Soul spot “Soul Jam,” which includes a cameo of Rateliff, and the Beats Pill+ commercial that features Rateliff and a few Nights Sweats.

“The commercial thing is something we’ve tried for years — movies and commercials,” Rateliff says. “It finally worked out that people wanted it. In the past, I had composed music for commercials as well. This has worked out a little better for us in some ways. I like acting in commercials, and there’s talk of us doing stuff as a band and hopefully in some TV shows or something, small parts. We’ll see if that happens. It may not. It could be fun.”

Rateliff also recently teamed up with hi-dive owners Matty Clark and Josh Terry, talent buyer Curtis Wallach and fellow Night Sweats Pat Meese and Luke Mossman to open the bar The Overland in the former Bushwacker’s location on South Broadway.

“We’ve all worked restaurant jobs or bar-backed or whatever,” Rateliff says. “For a while, I’ve definitely wanted to have a place that had a really small menu, but I always imagined myself working there. The opportunity came up that we could just kind of do this thing together. We didn’t buy the building; we just took over the lease and invested the money to sort of revamp the bar.”

This weekend, after a frenzied year, Rateliff & the Night Sweats are making what he describes as “our triumphant return” to Denver when they headline their sold-out show at Red Rocks this Sunday, which just happens to be exactly a year after their debut album was released. The concert will also be live-streamed via TourGigs to support MusiCares. 

Earlier this week, the band was rehearsing at 1STBANK Center with lights and sound in preparation for the Red Rocks show, which will include some surprises.

“It’ll be different,” Rateliff says. “A lot of things will be different than what we normally do.”

When Rateliff and Joseph Pope (a longtime collaborator in Rateliff’s various projects, including the Night Sweats) moved to Denver nearly two decades ago from rural Missouri, they said they would play Red Rocks some day.

“All of us are really stoked to be playing our first headlining gig at Red Rocks,” Rateliff says. “It’s our first headlining show there and sold out there. It’s kind of a humbling experience. So it feels like everything’s gone full circle from where we started.”
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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon