Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats at Chevron Festival Gardens, Perth International Arts Festival, Friday March 3, 2017.
Beneath a clear Friday sky and stunning Perth cityscape, Sydney’s All Our Exes Live in Texas opened proceedings on Friday night. Surely the Brussel sprout of the instrument world, the much-maligned accordion added beautiful colour and depth to the quartet’s songs, with Elana Stone’s phenomenal voice and the four-part harmonies throughout the set a treat for the ears. This was a quality start to the night from an act worthy of the big stage.
Much anticipation filled the venue ahead of Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats’ debut west coast appearance; this was a Perth International Arts Festival gig that had sold out months prior. With a captivating stage presence and energy to burn from the get-go, lead singer Rateliff crooned through I Did It, Parlor and the sentiment-sprinkled I Need Never Get Old, with a classy pack o’ Sweats completing the ensemble behind him.
Driven by hand claps and frenetic foot stomping, the glorious groove of S.O.B. had the masses swinging their hips Jagger-style; this cracking track is led by Rateliff’s bawls of “Son of a b-tch / If I can’t get clean / I’m gonna drink my life away”, and strikes the perfect balance between tongue-in-cheek humour and an addict’s desperate calls for help. The crowd lapped up the frontman’s repeated invitations to join in on the tune. Memorable moments indeed.
It’s hard to not find these denim-clad cats appealing; after being wowed by a wonderful set, a lucky few hundred Sandgropers would surely now agree with the ‘must hear’ tag. My show of the year so far.