By Dave Guilleminot
Date / Venue: Thursday March 26th, The Powerstation, Auckland
I must confess that I had never heard of Charles Bradley before, but when I first clicked on one of his online videos I knew I would be up for a treat.
Never had the chance of seeing James Brown live, but I was up for seeing a reminiscent looking ex JB impersonator of 66 years old with what appeared to be a very sound-alike voice. I was quite amused to first discover his band made of seven very young white boys, but reassured quickly that 'His Extraordinaires' not only looked cute but could play.
A quick review of different good soul/funk grooves to warm up the crowd before welcoming in a classic Broadway style 'the one and only, the screaming eagle of soul.'
Yes, what a voice. Just incredible. Some mates met at the gig also had come here previously to hear Lee Fields, who was also a contender for the best current godson of soul. You have to thank Brooklyn's Daptone Records for discovering/ recording / touring all those Afro American gems, with their blend of young white players who seem to have resurrected the style by finding those old incredible black singers.
Charles Bradley is certainly a showman. He pulled out some very skillful mic throwing and quite athletic jumps straight onto his well lived knees.
Less appealing was his quite awkward demonstration of sultriness and sexy moves in front of a mainly white middle aged men crowd. More impressive were his screams (‘while the lady creams') which were the most musical screams I've ever heard.
The music was very groovy and tight all along, neatly paced up toward the end with a more funk repertoire and a token JB cover as a tribute.
With his throughout messages of love pushed to the max, he finished his set with his single 'Why Is It so Hard?' (To Make It In America), with a well performed political speech thrown in there.
Shame the deciders don't seem to come to those gigs otherwise they would know that they need to stop making wars and give more love from their soul.