July 08, 2016 by Brian Cruice
The Fillmore welcomed a lively show of Americana last month as Oh Pep!, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and Lord Huron brought three sets of varying intensity.
First of the night was Oh Pep!, a female folk pop duo who were in particularly good spirits considering it was mere weeks before their first proper album, “Stadium Cake,” was released on Dualtone Records.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs were accompanied by a full band and treated the gathering crowds to spirited renditions of new cuts from the album, including the record opener “Bushwick.” Though certainly rooted in the country and folk rock tradition of their named influences (cited among them: Johnny Cash, Ryan Adams), the show and album both hit their respective peaks when the duo indulge in more complex song structure. By the time set closer “Doctor Doctor” reached its final verse, the band had won more than a few concert-goers over with the chorus, “I know what I want, but not what I need.”
The middle set offered the widest commercial appeal due to the success of Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats’ single “S.O.B.” With heavy WXPN rotation and a roaring live performance on Jimmy Fallon’s “Late Night,” Rateliff and company have garnered widespread recognition with their soulful blend of alt-rock blues. What the Night Sweats offered was the most energetic blues set I’ve ever seen, far removed from the guitar-and-stool shows that makes one associate the genre with their Dad’s friend. Rateliff carries himself about the stage like the tried and true performer, from the pacing down to the stage banter. His screams and moves are what inspire the woos that burst throughout the crowd, with the rest of the Night Sweats carrying the sex appeal of their name. But that’s okay; Rateliff’s songs lend themselves to those 10,000 hour session musicians, and the Night Sweats can play off of each other (and the crowd) extremely well. What Rateliff ultimately offers is an opportunity to inject a youthful sense into his favorite kind of music and it seems to suit him just fine.
Rounding out the night were headliners Lord Huron, touring off of last year’s sophomore effort, “Strange Trails.” If the two openers came to rile the people, Lord Huron came to bring the atmosphere. This became clear the moment the stage hands brought out a theremin, which proved to be as clear an indicator as any for the fog machines and dark lighting that were to come with the set. Lord Huron’s set proved to be ambient in comparison to its predecessors, or at least as ambient as folk rock music can be. The band failed to bring in the crowd the way Rateliff or Oh Pep! did, but both “Time to Run” and “Fool for Love” came close.
In the end, they offered the weakest performance of the night, but served a spot as the brooding epilogue to the night’s music.