This is a tough one to write. I’ll get to why in a minute but will clear my head with the great parts first.
The penultimate show at the Cap this year was Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. I had heard his single a few years ago and only next heard him at Hulaween. He played in the background as I ate dinner in the grass. Although I’m not totally familiar with his catalog and couldn’t pick him out of a lineup, I was excited to dance the night away with my dear friend I call E.
The vibe of the single I heard was a safe baseline for the rest of his tunes. I’ve been fooled by singles in the past but I trusted this. Certainly a prejudice but that’s how most of the A&R game works too. Rateliff was raised in Missouri and started his musical journey with drums and guitar at ages 7 and 13 respectively. His Christian rock influences were shaken after finding a copy of John Lennon’s Imagine album. Now based in Denver, the band plays roots and heartland rock tunes with the swagger of Alabama Shakes, Lake Street Dive, and Shovels and Rope.
We arrived with a rush of people bundled under winter coats. Our boots were caked with snow from the walk through town. Tech issues kept me from easily finding the tickets on my phone before getting to the door. A group of women were loudly organizing themselves and finding the rest of their party and/or tickets in front of me. Their noise plus the rush to escape the cold made for an intense lobby experience. We finally made it inside and found a spot on the floor.
The crowd was not a dancing crowd. They must have all come from work at the local boring factory. We did our best but found little flex in the space around us. Someone asked E if she was ok after they had bumped twice. The concerned stranger eventually moved but it left a strange vibe in the air. I started to wonder, why go to a show? Not that everyone should dance but as I looked around, people were still and staring; many people weren’t even smiling. There were a few couples that were half excited. That is, she would sway and smile as he nursed a beer.
We moved again. More room to dance as the band hit their stride. I thought we had a good spot but then E suggests we leave with a new look in her eye. We head to the back.
“That guy groped my leg!” She was confused and shaken. This is a strong and smart woman but in the moment she was a bit frazzled. I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) believe it. When it happened she told him, “That was not consensual!” and began to move away. She said he didn’t respond or at least if he did, he certainly didn’t apologize or try to pass it off as an accident.
We ended the night towards the back near the entrance to the venue. Lots of room to dance there and we made it in time for the hit single. The older folk leaving early smiled as they passed us on their way out to beat the traffic. We stayed as late as possible to thank the band before being ushered out of the building.
Little more was said about the incident. I can say that I was personally disgusted. I have never needed to state that I am safe to be with at a show. Dancing with me will always be safe and that is my commitment. If you are on board, say so in the comments below.0 likes