Nathaniel Rateliff’s Luck Keeps On Rocking At Luck Reunion THOUGHTS+PHOTOS: NATHANIEL RATELIFF @ LUCK REUNION 3/15/18
LUCK, TX- For most of our SXSW and Luck Reunion artist coverage, we’ll keep it relatively short and sweet. We have over 80 artists to cover, so cut us some slack! 😉 We’ll basically be formatting each post into two parts: (1) Why our contributor wanted to see this act and (2) what our contributor thought of the performance”. Easy peasy. If you want to learn more about the act, make sure you click through to their social media links to get in the know. You won’t be disappointed!
Why I Wanted To See Nathaniel Rateliff: I remember Nathaniel Rateliff before he became … well … Nathaniel Rateliff. Back in 2014, before his seemingly meteoric rise, I watched this burly gentleman with a scraggly beard sing a blissfully soft and emotional on the Santa Monica Pier next to a classic carousel. I recall writing back then that his style and delivery reminded me of Iron and Wine; music that seemed to be coming from an intensely emotional place, touching on topics like tough love and tough luck.
Flash forward to 2015, and he releases the scorchingly infectious single “S.O.B.” with his band The Night Sweats, and his career has been rolling along at a rapid pace, earning him an invite to join Willie and his family at Luck Reunion. I certainly wasn’t going to miss him perform on Willie’s ranch.
What I Thought Of Nathaniel Rateliff’S Performance: Watching Nathaniel Rateliff take the Luck Reunion main stage and perform live for the first time since 2014 was a pretty surreal experience for me. This was not the sullen singer songwriter that I recalled. This was Americana at its lively best, expertly touching on R&B, soul, folk and gospel sonics.
Nathaniel’s Luck Reunion set consisted mostly of cuts from his latest album, “Tearing at the Seams”; an album that turns the energy up a notch from his “debut” album. He gave the audience that energy in spades, and everywhere I looked, I could see fans shuffling their feet and clapping their hands to the beat.
What truly impressed me was watching Nathaniel interact with his band. It was a far departure from watching him sit alone on a stool with an acoustic guitar perched on his lap. The way he engaged each of his players on stage, and they way they fed off of and encouraged one another with every step-out performance, you could totally sense that they all inhabited the same musical space, and by the time they closed the set with “S.O.B”, the audience was all there right with them.
For me, this performance made me with all warm and fuzzy inside. Even though I don’t know the man, being able to see Nathaniel succeed in an industry where carcasses are strewn every few feet really made me feel proud for the guy. From singing next to a carousel, to taking the main stage at Luck Reunion, he’s proof that there’s nothing a little Luck, and killer songs, can’t help.
— Derrick K. Lee (@methodman13) April 16, 2018