Being a Night Sweat is no sweat for local trombone player who fills in at Rock the Garden

Andy Wild and Matt Darling
Matt Darling on trombone (right), playing alongside Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats saxophonist Andy Wild at Rock the Garden 2016. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)

When Matt Darling awoke on Saturday, June 18, he didn't expect his day would include playing with Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats at Rock The Garden. But then his phone rang. "I got a call from some of my friends from Poliça, Chris Bierden, just checking to see if I was interested," Darling says.

Darling received the call because Wesley Watkins, the trumpet player with the Night Sweats, had suffered a bout of food poisoning and was feeling in no shape to board a plane, much less play a gig. "He wasn't getting out of bed today," Darling says. "The rest of the guys were in flight, and I got a call about an hour and a half before the show, and so I just got down here real quick."

When the band arrived at Boom Island in Minneapolis, Darling worked with Night Sweats saxophonist Andy Wild to fine tune the horn parts and arrangements. "Like everybody else, I love this music," Darling explains, "and I've heard it on The Current quite a bit, so it's infiltrated my DNA as much as anybody else's. It was just a matter of putting some Xs and Os on the board, doing a little rehearsal with Andy here and getting it down so we knew what was going on."

Darling, who plays trombone with the Honeydogs and with other local bands, says the key is continuing to perform, to rehearse and to play with other musicians to keep up his chops. "You've got to have your game ready so that when you are in a situation where you've got to be familiar with music really fast, it's something that you're used to doing," he says.

When it was time for Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats to take the stage, Darling was ready to go. Not only did Darling play trombone, he also added auxiliary percussion and backing vocals. At times during the set, Wild could be seen showing Darling some of the Night Sweats' horn section's signature dance moves. Darling even had a spotlight moment, playing a trombone solo during the instrumental bridge on Rateliff's song, "S.O.B."

In a couple of weeks, Darling may have a chance to reprise his role. He hopes to meet up with the Night Sweats when they and Darling will simultaneously be playing show dates in Europe. "These guys are really great people, if you were wondering," he says. "They're wonderful, nice people."

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  • Matt Darling with the Night Sweats Rock the Garden
    Minneapolis trombone player, Matt Darling, plays with Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats at Rock the Garden 2016. Night Sweats' sax player, Andy Wild, is at left. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)

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