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Nathaniel Rateliff Comes Home: "Here's to Lost Time, Sacrifices, and Successes"

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The hi-dive and Nathaniel Rateliff are both a little rough around the edges, so it's fitting that, last night, he and the Night Sweats played an instantly sold-out show there. The crowd felt like a family as it welcomed the Night Sweats to the packed stage. Fans and lifelong friends clapped along and danced ferociously to the music, as though they were all crowded in Nate's back yard up the street..

The night was a special occasion for many reasons. In addition to the recent release of its self-titled album, the band was celebrating some recent milestones among its membership. In the midst of a passionate and upbeat set, Rateliff said, "We've got a new record out. Mark [Shusterman] and Sascha just got married; this is their honeymoon. Couldn't have been any cooler."
The hi-dive stage has an intimate feel, and Rateliff made the most of it. "We're from Denver. It's always a pleasure to be in our home bar," he said. "And thank you all, to all of you, who give a shit."

The humble yet overjoyed frontman teased the audience in more ways than one. Highlights within the set included a beautiful, heavily rock-and-roll version of "Thank You." There was an unexpected and melodic turn in their hit single "S.O.B." as Rateliff sang, "I just spent fifteen years/In a jailhouse," accompanied by an amazing ballad on the keys by Shusterman. As they built up to the shout-along chorus, I was reminded of a church choir and a congregation, all wide-eyed, faithful, clapping and singing along. That "whoa, whoa" chorus remains stuck in my head.

The band stopped just before the chorus dropped, and Rateliff made a toast. Raising a shot of whiskey, he said, "Here's to lost time, sacrifices and successes."The band is currently playing a string of release shows around town (Mutiny Now on August 23, Syntax Physics Opera on August 26 in addition to last night's). They've been short and sweet, but there is something all-encompassing about Rateliff and the talented band sharing the stage with him that made it hard to say goodbye after a mere 45 minutes.

A human tunnel made way for the band to escape to the back of the house, and chanting and stomping of feet failed to bring them back for an encore. The small talk in the ladies' room was full of confusion. "Is he really done? There's no way they're done so early!"

In the end, it was enough. Love radiated. The crowd was thrilled for Nathaniel Rateliff and the entire band's success, every member representative of years of persistence and hard work in the local music scene. It was amazing, even if it ended too soon.

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