Two nights of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats at Belly Up Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Two nights of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats at Belly Up Aspen

Anybody who has seen Nathaniel Rateliff live knows that the Night Sweats bandleader never disappoints.

A rare exception came in August, when the Denver-based band canceled a sold-out show at Belly Up at the last minute on doctor's orders. Rateliff was sick. But local fans rejoiced this fall when the Denver-based neo-soul band announced they would be making up the cancellation with a weekend-long run at the club with concerts on Saturday and Sunday.

The shows continue a run of local sell-outs for Rateliff going back to 2015, when his powerhouse band's infectious breakout hit "S.O.B." made them what seemed like an overnight success. But it had been a long road for Rateliff since he moved to Denver in the late 1990s as he honed his sound, songwriting and stagecraft in relative obscurity while playing shows — solo and with pre-Night Sweats bands — around Colorado and at Belly Up.

Before his first sell-out at Belly Up three years ago, Rateliff laughed and admitted: "Every other time I've been to Belly Up there's been nobody there."

What a difference a few years makes.

Along with a fevered fan-base in Colorado, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats have ascended to the stratosphere of rock stardom. This year, since releasing their second full-length album "Tearing at the Seams" in March, the band has been selling out theaters in cities in every region of the U.S. They've seen the songs "You Worry Me" and "A Little Honey" top the national charts. Last week the band was playing "Hey Mama" on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," which followed recent TV performances on "Late Night with Seth Myers" and the PBS "Newshour" — the band even got written into an episode of "NCIS: New Orleans" as guest stars, playing two songs (and landing a speaking part for Rateliff).

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Now they're home for the holidays for a string of Colorado shows including stops in Breckenridge, Vail and at their annual holiday concerts at the Ogden Theatre in Denver.

As the band's star has risen, Rateliff has begun giving back to Colorado through his Marigold Foundation, founded last year, which focuses on economic and social-justice issues.

Rateliff, a burly and bearded stage presence, gives his charismatic all in sweat-soaked performances — soft-shoeing and singing and smashing tambourines, leading sing-alongs. He's paired the Night Sweats' onstage mission to become one of the great live bands in America with off-stage commitment to giving back in a way that extends beyond the occasional benefit concert.

For example, when the Night Sweats released the video for "A Little Honey" this fall, they paired it with the launch of a small-batch chocolate to benefit Marigold. In October, Rateliff and his nonprofit hosted the "Not One More Gun" rally and concert to end gun violence, which coincided with two days of workshops, panels and training sessions aimed at organizing young Coloradans in the fight for gun control.

"We'll do anything we can do to help out the community," Rateliff said last year after a set at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience, where he advocated for Take Note Colorado, a nonprofit that provides musical instruments and instructions for kids in need. "It takes each and every one of us to grow as people."

atravers@aspentimes.com

IF YOU GO …

Who: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

Where: Belly Up Aspen

When: Saturday, Dec. 15 & Sunday, Dec. 16, 8 p.m.

Tickets: Sold out

More info: bellyupaspen.com

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