LIVE: Nathaniel Rateliff – Limelight, Belfast

nathanielrateliffSaturday 24th January saw the Limelight play host to the brilliant Nathaniel Rateliff, American born folk rock singer known for his powerful voice, showcasing his second album on tour.

Alongside is the exciting talents of Siiga, a singer songwriter from the Isle of Skye that, as of late, has burst onto the music scene with his fresh captivating sounds that could mellow out the most unsettled of listeners.

It was Siiga that kicked the night off for the Belfast crowd; from start to finish it was clear to see the mesmerizingly delicate and outright relaxed sound of Siiga had all eyes set upon the stage with a sense of pure delight.  Siiga, who’s album ‘The Sea and The Mirror’ had previously been awarded album of the week by BBC Radio Scotland, played through the tracks from the album in a beautiful set, playing through songs such as ‘Michelle (Seashell)’, ‘Stay Home’ and ‘Hollow Bones’.

The set throughout was allowed to have a real simplistic natural feeling, if one was to have closed their eyes during the set it would have been easy to have pictured yourself by the seaside rather than standing in the rock venue of Limelight. Every song on showcase during the time spent on stage showed Siiga’s outstanding capability to create emotion filled melodies that pulled on the heart strings. At times, the hairs on your arms stand up as the music flowed from the stage and through your body leaving a small part of you wanting more and more after every song.

In the end I couldn’t help but rate myself as a newly found fan of Siiga, as I’m sure everyone else who was there that was seeing him for the first time did as well – an act to look out for in the future for sure, as with such talent, only the right doors could begin opening up now.

Next up to wow the Belfast audience came the impassioned talents of Nathaniel Rateliff, firing out songs from his second album, titled ‘Falling Faster than You Can Run’.  From the moment the singer took to the stage it was clear to see he had quite a following even here on Irish soil, so many miles away from America. The set was firmly complimented by the band in which he played alongside, throwing out multi instrumental performances and allowing the songs to take on a greater feel and bigger sound in the small venue, one thing for sure was that after having listened to Nathaniel’s albums before going, he did not fall victim to the dreaded “sounds better on CD than live” curse many artists unfortunately do.

His powerful vocals, reminiscent of a young Johnny Cash at times blended perhaps with the twang of Caleb Followill were a constant driving force throughout the night. The set was a warm, intimate performance that saw Nathaniel play through songs such as ‘Don’t Get Too Close’ (a personal favourite of the night), ‘Still Trying’ and others from the current and previous album. One thing that was very apparent about the songs on show was that they had a beautiful trait of soothing you into a feeling of pure relaxation before creeping up with methodical strumming and bursting into an emotional explosion – that, at times, only lasted a few moments but shocked the body into perking up and cracking an uncontrollable smile thirsty for more. His blend of fresh sounding folk rock topped with a blending of the blues made the performance an unforgettable one. As rather than rely on big lights, guitar effects and over the top performances distracting you from the music, Rateliff allowed the music do the talking, and the Belfast crowd listened to every word. Niall Donnelly, GiggingNI.com