Live at Irish Centre on Friday, 12th February 2016
Before Nathaniel Rateliff had such trouble sleeping, he could be found treading the boards as a lone singer-songwriter. His reputation on the indie-folk scene in Denver Colorado led to tours with the likes of The Fray and The Lumineers and a pair of lauded studio albums full of tunes that sound like Bon Iver at the bottom of a barrel of whiskey.
Tonight though, all that seems like a life time ago as Nathaniel has reinvented and regrouped, stepping on stage with his Night Sweats in tow as they showcase their Stax released eponymous debut. The results are pretty much what you'd expect from such a rapid and oscillating career shift. Songs like I Need Never Get Old, Howling At Nothing and Wasting Time hint at the raw nerve sound that their labels vintage output is known for, and striving to capture and pay homage to the old school soul bands is a laudable aim.
The problem is that for most of the set it doesn't quite gel, and they sound more like Mumford standing in for The Commitments than scholars of Sam And Dave (if you're more Chess than Stax, check out support act Reverend Deadeye for a better attempt at roots revivalism).
But in the end it doesn't matter what Nathaniel Rateliff or his Night Sweats are trying to do, or if they get it right. Because by the time last years single S.O.B. has whipped the Irish Centre crowd into a foot stomping, hand clapping frenzy, it feels as if the whole of Leeds - heart, and soul - will be ready to welcome them back anytime.