On a Tuesday night in Santa Monica, an intimate crowd gathered at the Apogee Studios for a rare performance with Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats hosted by KCRW DJ Anne Litt. The night began at 9:00 p.m. with an interview with Anee Litt and band members Nathaniel Rateliff and Joseph Pope III.
Anne Litt welcomed the guests and shared that the session would be recorded and aired on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic on September 5. She also requested that the audience be present and keep their phones away, particularly off social media, a request that the crowd was happy to honor. Litt began with questions about the creation process for Rateliff’s latest album, Tearing At The Seams. Rateliff shared that touring with the band made the album a more collaborative effort. In the mornings, he’d write alone — “song songs didn’t make it, they were too good I guess,” he chuckled as the crowd laughed back. “We mostly just partied together,” Rateliff shared about the band and producer and friend Richard Swift, joking that Swift probably thought, “we’re gonna make a record with this guy?” He also shared that “Shoe Boot” was essentially created during a sound check, giving the audience an inside look at their lighthearted process.
Joseph Pope shared about “mistakes” that were intentionally kept on the recording, including a time Richard Swift punched him in the shoulder while recording. “You can’t pay for those, but you can punch them in,” he laughed, and got the crowd laughing along. Litt asked Rateliff how much of the album was autobiographical, to which he shared about his divorce which “still hasn’t actually happened.” He shared that often songs have greater meaning to him after he’s written them, realizing that they often end up being about something bigger or different than their initial conception. “Do people come up and ask you about these songs?” Litt continued. Rateliff shared that fans would often talk to him about a particular song, “S.O.B,” a song about the darkness of drinking, and how much it affected them personally. Litt shared possibly the most important nugget of the night, “sometimes what you need is exactly what you fear,” a lyric from the song, “Say It Lounder,” to which Rateliff chuckled and responded, “it’s a real bummer.” Rateliff and Pope shared about their humble beginnings in rural Missouri, where they met and have now known each other for “two shy of a double baker’s dozen,” as Pope put it. When they moved to Denver, the music scene really embraced them, and the same people kept showing up to support them at their shows.
They went right into their set for the night following the interview, which included primarily songs off Tearing At The Seams. The drums immediately jolted the crowd as they began with “Shoe Boot.” A horn section, keys, guitar and drums joined Rateliff and Pope on stage. Rateliff sun into a double mic and even picked up the harmonica towards the end of the song. The soulful yet rocking “Be There” had everyone clapping along, and the evening set would provide plenty more opportunities for the crowd to join in and clap. The crowd really got into “Cooling Out” and “Babe I Know,” which both allowed the horn section to shine. “Hey Mama” skewed more country than soul, with a guitar intro and a build up that had some singing along, “You picked a bad time to listen to me.”
But the good times got even better for the encore — KCRW’s Anne Litt took the stage again to thank the hosts of the night, Betty Bennet and Bob Clearmountain, and that the supporters, when she was interrupted by an enthusiastic attendee, “one more song!” The band took the stage again for “Intro,” which had the crowd clapping right away and everyone joining in on the “aaahhh hey” towards the end of the upbeat, soulful song. They closed the night on an upbeat note with “I Need Never Get Old.”
Watch the full performance on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic website, available September 5th.
- Shoe Boot*
- Be There*
- Look It Here
- Say It Louder*
- Cooling Out*
- You Worry Me*
- Babe I Know*
- Hey Mama*
- Little Honey*
- I’ll Be Damned*
- I Need Never Get Old
*off the new album, Tearing At The Seams
Photo Credit: Kalyn Oyer