Nathaniel Rateliff at the Paramount Theatre, Seattle

Nathaniel Rateliff, the Colorado firebrand most widely recognized for his raucous style of rock, soul, and blues with the Night Sweats, emerged from the wings of the softly lit Paramount Theatre accompanied by his backing band and string quartet. A single moonbeam-like spotlight pierced through the darkness and shined down on Nathaniel as he strummed the first few tender notes of the contemplative “Tonight No.2” off his third full-length solo release, 2020’s And It’s Still Alright. His unmistakable voice, rich in tone and intent, reached into the air and in turn lit up a set of beautifully arranged amber lanterns with a backdrop of silhouetted trees. Together, the standard stage was transformed into a deep wooded gathering space – a clandestine place where on this night, the audience rediscovered a modern-day raconteur ready to reveal his innermost thoughts. 

Rateliff moved further into his set with two additional tracks off And It’s Still Alright, the dreamy strings meet guitar “All or Nothing” and the steel pedal Americana-driven “Expecting to Lose.” The coupling of songs made it apparent that while the musical spirit of the Night Sweats would be in the atmosphere, Nathaniel’s persona as a soul-bearing balladeer would remain front and center for the duration of the show.

With the help of his brilliant backing band and string quartet, Rateliff continued to draw an audience filled with enthusiastic fans around his woodside ring of fire. He pulled out a selection of works from his large collection of solo material, the wistful “Something Beautiful,” off the 2015 EP Closer, and the raw “Shroud” from 2017’s EP In Memory of Loss. He circled back to 2020’s And It’s Still Alright with the eerily delightful “What a Drag” before he thrummed out the lone Night Sweats’ song of the show, the low-key “Still Out There Running” off their 2018 release Tearing at The Seams.

Concertgoers listened in earnest as Rateliff pored deeper into a series of heartfelt stories that swung along a full spectrum - from newer to older and stripped down to complex - with ease. The beautiful bare bones balled, “Early Spring Till” (In Memory of Loss) and the genteel countrified “And It's Still Alright” were two standouts amongst many before Nathaniel and company closed with the gorgeous “Time Stands” (And It’s Still Alright).

A rally of whistles lured Nathaniel back to his woodland space for an encore. Like a true balladeer, he pulled up a few more poetic tales of internal struggles and love and loss, “Redemption” from the Apple +soundtrack Palmer and “Mavis” (And It’s Still Alright). The evening ended with the courteous Nathaniel giving a wave, and as he returned backstage the last flickers of the lanterns’ flames dimmed.  Rateliff’s evening of storytelling was complete, but there is hope he will return with another round of torch-bearing tales soon.


Tonight No.2

All or Nothing

Expecting to Lose


Something Beautiful

You Need Me

What a Drag

Still Out There Running (Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats song)

I Am

Boil & Fight

You Should've Seen the Other Guy

Early Spring Till

Kissing Our Friends

Oil & Lavender

And It's Still Alright


There Is a War (Leonard Cohen cover with Kevin Morby)

Still Trying

Time Stands