I have to come clean here. I was the deeply uncool individual at this gig, the anorak amidst a sea of industry professionals. I insisted that my friend and I arrived early enough to ensure we were at the front of the queue when the doors opened. Which resulted in us standing there in the cold, on our own, for at least 15 minutes before anyone else turned up. This despite my friend pleading that we went for a drink and the O2 staff inside spotting us, smirking to each other and clearly agreeing that we had no life…
Tonight was a very special night, the much loved Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats were playing at OMeara as part of a small but perfectly formed medley of shows that were being hosted at some of London's more intimate venues to celebrate Brits Week.
Opening proceedings this evening was Joseph J Jones who filled the room with his deep soulful vocals, backed by his band who produced some great synth based foundations for him to sing over. Highlights from his set included a track called "Crawl" and "Hurricane", think along the lines of Rag 'n Bone man and you're not far from the mark.
This year's charity that will benefit from the proceeds of the shows is War Child. We were treated to a 5 minute talk between acts to tell us a bit more about what the charity does and also told how the money raised from Brits Week 2018 will be distributed. If want to learn more about this very worthy charity, head over to warchild.org.uk
If you can, please text the word SAFE to 70444 to make a £3 donation, every penny helps this amazing charity work with children across some of the most horrific war zones across the world.
Once Nathaniel Rateliff and his Night Sweats appeared, every single sweaty, special, second was worth it. Even the ultra-cool musos appeared to agree, nodding their heads, stroking their facial furniture and sipping their East London brews whilst the music entered their souls.
We had wondered how such a big band – eight of them in total – would fit on the bijou stage. But somehow they did, and threw every ounce of energy and enthusiasm that they had at the audience.
From recent tracks, "Hey Mama", to established favourites such as "I Need Never Get Old", the band were on fire. I’d wondered beforehand if the intimacy of the venue would lead them to tone their act down at all. But no. Rateliff still blasted out each track as if his life depended on it.
He revealed that they had thought that no one would be interested in "S.O.B" – the fact that the audience continued to bawl the chorus at the empty stage long after the band disappeared at the end of the set showed everyone was very interested indeed.
They returned and finished the evening with a rousing, and all too short, rendition of "Trying So Hard Not To Know".
We emerged into the night, slightly shell shocked and gloriously happy. My inner anorak was sated.
Words by Michele Mervin
Pictures by Steve Muscutt