Live at Bumbershoot 2013, Day 1: Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires

photos by Morgen Schuler

text by Gerrit Feenstra and Anna McClain

Charles Bradley is living proof that it’s never too late to start living out your dreams. He dropped his debut studio album back in 2011 on Daptone Records. Daptone is the easily the most fitting home for his sound – Bradley emanates the spirit of 60’s and 70’s soul and funk more than any artist on the scene today. There’s a great reason, too – Bradley started his career in his mid-60s. He saw James Brown for the first time in 1962 and has been making music ever since, but only now does the world get to hear his wondrous material brought to life in full. This year, Bradley drops his second LP, Victim of Love, and you would be wise to check it out.

Bradley’s music truly comes to life during his live performances – he lives and breathes 70’s soul. Even at his age, Bradley is 100% unafraid to throw an extravagant party. He could dance you to the floor if he wanted to, all the while hitting the high notes and giving us the closest thing we’ll get to James Brown or Otis Redding in this modern day.

With His Extraordinaires, the seven gifted band members backing him up, Bradley took the KEXP Bumbershoot Music Lounge stage in full retro regalia, totally confident in his mad dance skills. He even did a pretty mean robot during “Confusion.”

Bradley transported his audience back in time with his straightforward, heartfelt love songs. There was a mutual and genuine appreciation between Bradley and his fans. The 21st Century soul king certainly wasn’t bashful about reciprocating their love, giving out hugs at the end of his performance. Surely, we can all agree that Charles Bradley is indeed the “Screaming Eagle of Soul”.

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