In the music spotlight: Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

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Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats | BRANTLEY GUTIERREZ

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats have been regular visitors to Chicagoland since first visiting Evanston’s Space in 2012, but the group’s local cachet received a major boost from a joyful and raucous afternoon set at Lollapalooza in 2016 that left the Petrillo Music Shell in splinters. “Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to have your a–es blown off and your faces melted by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats,” the eight-piece soul band’s announcer had cried as the show began. It wasn’t a hollow boast.

The popular attraction back then was a gleefully potty-mouthed Southern stomper called “S.O.B.,” taken from the band’s self-titled debut. The song relied on the blues cornerstones of heartbreak and vice, but still left room for the affable Rateliff’s good humor. “Please refrain from throwing your drinks at us,” said Rateliff, despite the song’s lyrical request to the contrary. “That’s called alcohol abuse, folks.”

The Colorado-based Rateliff and his band have returned twice since then. They’re back on May 31 for their highest-profile headlining date yet in Chicago at lakeside venue Huntington Bank Pavilion.

The Night Sweats bleed passion for Memphis-styled rock and soul, and they’ll bring a suitcase full of new songs from the newly released album “Tearing at the Seams.” Pensive and earnest single “You Worry Me” has been gaining strong response. Mark Shusterman’s thrumming piano, Joseph Pope III’s pulsing bass and the band’s smoky horn trio should provide Rateliff with the runway to launch his nicotine-etched, sweat-soaked performance. “Hey Mama” dispenses a mother’s tough love and wisdom while Rateliff channels soul stirrer Sam Cooke, and guitarist Luke Mossman’s reimagines the Rolling Stones’ acoustic “Wild Horses” riffs.

Rateliff is at his pleading, emotive best on pressure cookers like title cut “Tearing at the Seams.” Ray Charles’ version of “Georgia” flickers alongside memories of Elvis Presley and Otis Redding within “Babe I Know.”

Expect the Night Sweats to shine on new songs like the strutting “A Little Honey.” Patrick Meese’ percolating percussion propels “Intro,” while Shusterman’s shimmering Hammond organ echoes Booker T. and the M.G.’s “Time Is Tight.” Saucy saxophone breaks and spiky trumpet should elevate “Shoe Boot,” alongside Rateliff’s harmonica and a swaggering New Orleans groove that cribs from Little Feat.

Bring your dancing shoes to Northerly Island. Given the band’s history of truth in advertising, it’s probably a good idea to bring a towel, too.

* Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, 6:30 p.m. May 31, Huntington Bank Pavilion, 1300 S. Lynn White. $39+;

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