Nathaniel Rateliff, Davic C. Clements, Chris Campbell
Nathaniel Rateliff, David C Clements & Chris Campbell
The Limelight, Belfast
Thurday 7th June 2012
The Limelight is filling up nicely when our first song-writing troubadour hits the stage, it’s one of local lads - Chris Campbell - and we’re glad to see him. Tonight it’s just himself on guitar, accompanied by the lovely Rachel Boyd on violin (fiddle to you and me), piano and backing vocals. He starts confidently with the catchy number ‘I Wish I Was’ his voice sounds even better than on record, but quite quickly it’s evident that it’s going to be a struggle for him to be heard over the restless Nathaniel Rateliff fans that are gathering round the bar.
He wades through his seven song strong set and by the end he has all but conceded to the noise of the crowd, which is a pity as his songs are great and are the perfect complement for what is to come for the evening.
Up next is another local band who have been making waves, it’s David C. Clements. He quietly starts into a solo version of ‘Oh Child’, showing off his vocal range, when David moves up the octave at the end of the song and bangs out the chorus, people start taking notice that this man means business.
Guitars on, buttons done - it’s showtime. With the full band now on, they launch into ‘Hurricane’, a six minute builder which fills the wall of sound and the Limelight finally takes notice. The song has a drum lick that eventually explodes with everyone screaming the line "it was the longest day in history". David C Clements' music is kissed with the right amount of Americana, parts remind one of Ryan Adam’s old bandmates ‘the Heartbreakers’. Job done lads, relax and undo the top buttons.
Onto our headliner, Nathaniel Rateliff, who has been going from strength to strength recently, announcing some big dates and a U.K support tour to none other than Mumford & Sons. He straps on the nylon and starts into ‘When You’re Here’, with perfect three-part harmony and a touch of class it’s the right way to start the gig. He’s got a quality to his voice that is charming; a slack, American country drawl to his songs that make us hang on every word. Nathaniel powers through a set of old and new, not surfacing for much chit-chat in between. He shows that he can turn it to gravelly rocker when needs be, his intensity during ‘laughing’ has to be admired. Tonight we’ve been treated to a couple of new numbers too, which suggest Rateliff is only getting started. He garners a two song encore, choosing to finish up with his best known tune - ‘Shroud’ , the limelight has been Rateliffed!
The set is an hour and a half long, musically it’s flawless but doesn’t move enough texturally to keep us on our toes for that length of time. The format of the songs are quite similar throughout and unless you’re a Rateliff diehard, some of it gets lost. More importantly though, the man has a voice and presence that is undeniable, and it’s great to see his music is getting the credit it deserves, there’s a lot more to come from Rateliff and his posse, no doubt it’ll be as good as his previous offerings. Surprise of the night though, David C Clements; local band, played it like a boss.