Hard Times Need Old School Soul

I’ve been going through some hard times of my own lately and really was in need of some old school soul when I went to see Charles Bradley at Neumos  at a sold out show Thursday night.

Charles Bradley at Bumpershoot
Charles Bradley at Bumbershoot

I first saw Charles Bradley at Bumbershoot in 2011 and he was so good the crowd did not want to let him leave the stage.  He has all James Brown’s moves (and that’s how he got his start as an impersonator) and his own songs about hard times, and about love.

Just like at Bumbershoot, he opened with Heartaches and Pain, pouring his heart out on stage.  I was thinking that’s an incredible one to open on (almost like Pearl Jam opening on Alive), but it occurred to me that’s the point – it’s a tribute to his late brother.

What’s a night of soul music without a little romance, though?

How about an on stage proposal? During Lovin’ You, Baby?

What do you think. . .is Charles Bradley a good wing man or what?

I really hope he was able to marry them. I think they may have conceived their first child at the show the way they were going at it! Saw them making out some more near the front of the stage while the Menahan Street Band was playing a couple of their own songs while Charles went back stage for a costume change.  What threads! And what a band! They opened for him and just released their own album, The Crossing.

Here they are with Charles at South by Southwest, via. . .Seattle’s KEXP? Guess music has it’s own geography. . .

He ended on Why Is It So Hard (to make it in America. . .something I’ve been wondering about a lot lately, and not just for me).

After this plea for brotherly (& sisterly) love, he waded into the crowd and started hugging people. the crowd parted after everyone got their hugs in, until he reached a young man smiling in a wheel chair. They hugged and talked for a couple minutes, then he continued to hug his way out of the crowd. Guess that’s one way to handle it when people don’t want you to leave!


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