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Rateliff fronts seven-piece band, the Night Sweats in this vintage take on a prison performance.

He’s pivoting from melancholy acoustic reflections to the exuberance of a new project with seven-piece soul band, the Night Sweats.

The single S.O.B. is a singalong-ready foot-stomper of a song, it features Rateliff and his band serenading a audience of prisoners in a mess hall.

This intensity singalong lends itself to the modern soul Rateliff and the Night Sweats’ preaching performance, the red-faced, clapping-and-two-stepping maniac howls his way through crowd favorite.

A new project doesn’t necessarily encourage a full-on reckoning that wreaks havoc on your body and soul, but that’s what Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats conjure up, night in and night out.  A typical show for Rateliff and company involves strident brass and the kind of twisting and shouting that’s just as at home on yesteryear’s dance floor as it is in the middle of a rapturous sermon. Rateliff is a bellower, a man who isn’t afraid to tackle stanzas that cut across his vocal cords like a skein of rusty barbed wire, he may be dancing, but there’s a really good chance his throat, and his feelings, are getting ripped to shreds in the process.

Go through the whole post to read the foot-stomping drinking song about and watch the music video

The elephant in the room, perhaps, for those who were well aware of Rateliff’s talents before he and the Night Sweats slayed “S.O.B.” on The Tonight Show in August, is what such a sudden breakthrough (the band’s eponymous LP just sold over 20,000 copies in its first week) feels like after years of slow progress.

“I think I’m overwhelmed with the amount of work I have to do,” Rateliff says. “Mostly I get nervous about backlash, because I’ve been doing this for a long time. As soon as you do something people like, there are people who don’t like you because of that. We’ll see. You can’t make everybody happy. You can’t make everybody love you.”

“S.O.B.,” the revival-worthy song Rateliff sang on The Tonight Show, definitely seems to make everybody happy. It’s a foot-stomping drinking song — or might seem to be at first listen. But Rateliff got deeply introspective when asked how he wrote such a cathartic, intensely personal song about substance abuse without glorifying alcoholism, which is such a serious subject at its roots.

Rateliff’s modern twist on heartfelt soul and R&B is something he’s 100% committed to. Asked if his old, more indie-oriented songs are difficult to arrange for the new band, he said flatly, “Right now we’re playing all Night Sweats stuff on tour. I’m just kind of letting the other stuff be for now. I don’t intend to mix the two.”

Although Rateliff’s dynamite performance on The Tonight Show last month has helped make him the most famous Colorado musician in recent memory, he says he doesn’t feel like the face of Denver music.

“There’s still a lot going on here besides me. We’ve been a big part of the scene for a long time. It’s exciting to get out of town again. Hopefully people won’t move here.”

StreeXB extends special thanks to West Word for the article. Click here to read more of this behind the scenes and let us what you know what you make of the video, the handclaps and all.

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