Charles Bradley - World Financial Center - July 12, 2012
Here’s my suggestion for an SAT analogy question – oops, they’ve been discontinued. Okay, let’s make it for the GAT – the Gambino Attitude Test: Tina Turner is to Bettye LaVette as James Brown is to….Charles Bradley. I would say he’s ripping him off, except upon learning of his hard-knock backstory, Bradley acknowledges the seminal influence that Brown has had on his entire act – singing voice and style, persona, wardrobe, dance moves, heck, even the facial expressions! So it’s more of an homage. To his credit, no JB covers were detected by me. Instead a soulful cover of N. Young’s “Heart of Gold”. Fortunately, at the end of the set he wanders the audience giving hugs of love, etc. so I could pounce early and get his autograph. Band leader Brenneck comes from the DAPtone family, lending additional credence to the forging-ahead modern R&B vibe. Opening group He’s My Brother She’s My Sister have a name too long to put on my header here. Their interesting semi-psychedelic musical blend is matched by the outfits. The rudimentary percussion setup is complemented by the drummer tap-dancing on a sound-platform. The headliner for this gig was actually Neko Case, but light had faded by the time she started, so no sketches. Unfortunately, for me, too much of this indie- alt- music has hewn to a formulaic sound; by now, about 15 minutes of such is plenty for me, and that was the case here, especially when the words are at least half unintelligible. Oh well.