This article originally appeared in the 1.30.14 issue of Metroland
CHARLES BRADLEY AND HIS EXTRAORDINAIRES
Bradley’s bio is something out of a storybook.
Homeless as a teenager, then itinerant, working as a cook and janitor
for most of his life, discovered by Daptone Records in the early 2000’s while
gigging as a James Brown impersonator in little NYC clubs, and then turned into
an overnight sensation in his mid-50’s.
And he’s making the most of it.
Screaming Eagle of Soul” and his 8-piece band turned the Bearsville Theater
upside down Friday night with a generous 2-hour show of delicious
Bradley’s on the primal edge
of Pickett / Redding / Brown-type soul shouting, lots of grunts and gravel,
peppered with the occasional glass-shattering scream.
In that space, he’s an utter genius, and a
happy one at that.
I don’t think I’ve
ever heard the word “love” used more times, and used more sincerely, by any person in
a two-hour period.
And when he wasn’t
manhandling the mic stand and testifying, he was demonstrating moves from the
pure goofiness school of the dance: bad Elvis fake-karate moves, awkward spins
and splits, robot-mime, funky belly-dancing, or just throwing his arms out and
head back with a beautific smile.
is a man who knows he’s blessed and loves what he does.
And it’s impossible to resist falling in love
This is the
fourth Daptone act I’ve seen and the first one with a band that didn’t rub me
the wrong way even slightly.
killed it, from Muscle Shoals / Memphis slink, to rat-a-tat horn signatures, to
sweet three-part harmonies, and even to the pitch-perfect absorption of metal
(!!!) in their audacious cover of Black Sabbath’s “Changes.”
Hats off to bandleader / producer / guitarist
Thomas Brenneck for locking down the complete package.
sparkplug Simi Stone opened the show, accompanied only by a keyboardist.
She’s an immense young talent, and her pipes
and arrestingly honest stage presence overcame her somewhat pedestrian
Set her up with
some tunes and watch out.