Another day, another beautiful Summer night spent at Surly Brewing’s festival field. This time, it was with an artist I’ve been attempting to see perform for the better part of three years, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.
The event was likely the most enjoyable night I’ve had at Surly, and was yet one more notch in Surly’s ‘Sold-Out’ belt, a streak they’ve had no issue continuing through every event so far this year.
I say it every single time, and I’ll continue saying it until I get blue in the face; I cannot believe how incredible it is to experience concerts at Surly Brewing. I often describe it as “my favorite concert venue that’s not actually a concert venue,” and I believe that sums it up perfectly.
It has no reason to be as amazing as it is. People would easily accept a sub-par concert experience simply because of all the other stellar services the venue offers, but they have cut absolutely zero corners and treat every show as if it’s the most important event they will ever host.
And while I often critique the “once a year” concert crowd, it’s hard to blame them for choosing this venue as their big excursion away from the children each year. The venue is literally designed to host an enjoyable night out for couples and young families, with incredible drinks & food items, and it just so happens to include a world-class concert venue a few steps away in its backyard.
Unfortunately, due to the endless good times you can have inside the brewery, it can be difficult to find your way into the actual concert venue in a timely manner. We ended up getting so distracted by our beers and conversations, we ultimately missed nearly two-thirds of Hiss Golden Messenger’s opening set.
What we were able to catch, though, was a soothing set of folk music, which mixed with a beautiful, if slightly chilly, August sunset to create the perfect environment for music to thrive. I’m looking forward to catching a full performance from this group sometime in the near future.
By the time Nathaniel Rateliff and his bandmates took the stage, you could tell everyone had finally made their way inside. The venue was packed to its absolute capacity with thousands of Minnesotan who were ready to make the most of one of their last opportunities to experience live music outdoors in 2019.
To make things even more exciting, the band kicked off the show with what could be considered a “closer,” their 2018 smash-hit “You Worry Me.” From there, it was 90-minutes of absolute musical bliss.
While the only critique I could even attempt to offer would be turning the speakers up a little bit, as it was sometimes difficult to hear the entire band towards the back on the field (which could also simply just be my acute hearing loss from a decade without ear protection…) the quality of the sound was as crisp as ever.
Of course, the climax of the evening was the performance of their super-smash-hit, “S.O.B” which was executed expertly by the band, and featured far too many incredibly intoxicated baby boomers attempting to dance while shouting “sonofabitch!” into the night skies.
While this was still only the second-to-last performance at Surly’s Festival Field for the year (Of Monsters And Men will perform there on September 14th) it was, unfortunately, my last event of the year there.
This was an extremely successful year for the concert series, put on in part by First Avenue & JAM Productions. Along with everyone else I am very excited to see what sort of lineup and improvements (if they can even make anything better) they make for next year’s series.
Tickets are still available for the final show of the season, and I would highly recommend jumping on them as soon as you can if you are able. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind concert experience in the Twin Cities, and something every music lover should try to experience.