LIVE REVIEW: Charles Bradley, Smoove & Turrell @ Sage Gateshead (17.04.16) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The Screaming Magpie and the bunch of black and white forget-me-nots did more than just whet the appetite for the superstar following them. Playing several excellent new tracks from their upcoming album Crown Posada (named after the smallest pub in Newcastle) the Smoove & Turrell lads did us proud as the North East’s Hall One representatives at this year’s Gateshead International Jazz Festival. However, nothing could have prepared me for the Black Rose, The Screaming Eagle of soul, the man, the legend, Charles Bradley.

I wasn’t lucky enough to see James Brown’s performance at this very venue, but I feel like that itch has now been scratched. Backed by possibly the tightest band I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen Tower of Power) in the Extraordinaires (two guitars, bass, drums, Hammond, tenor sax and trumpet), a silk-clad Charles Bradley entered with all the razzmatazz of the Godfather himself, and although his dancing wasn’t quite up to scratch, his singing was incredible.

A highlight was his cover of Black Sabbath’s Changes, which very nearly brought the house down, but to be honest every moment was a highlight. Funky, soulful, righteous and insanely gifted, the man from the street has found his beat, his mojo and his dancing feet. His singing ability, painful honesty and exposed vulnerability created such love in the room, it really felt as though he was grateful just to be on stage. This was undoubtedly an experience never to be repeated.

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