When we talked to him by phone earlier this week, "S.O.B." soul-rocker Nathaniel Rateliff seemed indifferent to the fact that his first of two shows Tuesday night at the State Theatre happens to fall on the presidential primary, aka Super Tuesday, in Minnesota. But he did make it clear where he stands in the contest.
“I’m a Bernie [Sanders] man all the way, and have been for a long time,” said the Night Sweats frontman, who has since been confirmed to perform at a rally for Sanders at St. Paul RiverCentre on Monday night.
Rateliff is touring with a different group this time around to tout a mellower solo album, and their first full shows are the nearly sold-out pair Tuesday and Wednesday in Minneapolis. He mentioned that he and his Denver-based crew will be in town to rehearse on Monday ahead of the tour kickoff, but he said nothing about the rally. He is one of the most high-profile musicians to play such an event in support of one candidate so far in the primary season.
Rateliff did, however, talk about the tiptoe act he and other musicians may have to walk in this heavily politicized election year.
“[The Night Sweats] have a very diverse fan base, so I try to bridge the gap and bring people together more than I want to add to the divide,” he said. “But when it makes sense, I don’t hesitate to speak my views. Honestly, I see promoting positive change and trying to help out our country as more important than my career.”
Information on the Sanders rally and an RSVP can be found via the campaign site (5:30 p.m. doors, 7:30 p.m. start). Read our full interview with Rateliff in print in Monday’s Variety section or online next week.