North Texas Daily

Charles Bradley gets guttural in undying youth for 35 Denton

Charles Bradley gets guttural in undying youth for 35 Denton

March 14
21:04 2016

Matt Payne | Copy Editor


Sweaty bodies flinging beach balls off of each other in a wriggling concert crowd comprised of intoxicated Dentonites shaking their goods, swiping through Tinder and Snapchatting photos paints a fitting portrait of that archetypal spring break spirit we indulge in each year.

Perhaps nobody embodied this wild side more than Brooklyn soul singer Charles Bradley, who took a trip down South to ignite a party for 35 Denton’s busiest day Saturday evening.

CHARLES BRADLEY Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

Charles Bradley performs during 35 Denton Saturday night. Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

With what can only be called a funkadelic ensemble that featured a scaling trumpet and lavish tenor sax coupled with some resolute guitarists and an organist who, simply put, wasn’t taking any prisoners, Bradley convinced everybody to dance, or at least wiggle in place. It wasn’t uncommon for him to enter Mr. Roboto mode several times to strut smooth moves as he stripped himself of his chic blazer, chunking it away and gazing into individual pairs of eyes. The crowd was his canvas as he controlled the tempo and tone of those marveling the 67-year-old man who painted the crowd drunk with his mic-stand–literally.

He picked it up and swung it like a baseball bat, and everybody was okay with that.

“I can feel the love in the crowd, and I can’t take it with me, but while I’m here, I’ll give it to you!” Bradley said somewhere in between belting glissandos.

Clearly, Bradley doesn’t hesitate to throw parties. What anchored that reckless, musical fun in the end was an overarching tone of sentimentality expressed by a lamentation of his deceased mother.

American soul and R&B singer Charles Bradley performs on 35 Denton Music Festival's main stage on March 12, 2016. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

Charles Bradley performs to a packed crowd during 35 Denton Music Festival’s last performance on Main Stage 1 on Saturday.  Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

“She’s up there!” he said, loudly. “This is the part I sung to my momma before she closed her eyes forever.”

The city of Denton commonly exhibits a preference for everything and everybody local, but connecting with somebody like Bradley was seamless, specifically whenever he freely offered a glimpse into his huge, heavy heart.

Bradley was abandoned by his mother at the age of 14 and later reunited with her in his forties. Faced with a long road working as a cook in Maine for 10 years, hitchhiking across the country to settle in California for odd jobs and 20 years of small shows, the musician formerly known as Black Velvet was discovered by co-founder of Daptone Records Gabriel Roth in a small night club after scaling a turbulent roadmap.

CHARLES BRADLEY Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

Charles Bradley’s band features a scaling trumpet and lavish tenor sax coupled with some resolute guitarists and an organist. Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

The rugged provider of unadulterated heart-song is who he is because of it, and Main Stage 1 off of Oak Street was both giddy and glowing because of him.

“For those who don’t believe, and for those who believe,” Bradley said, citing Christian scripture. “I remember when my son carried his cross, and it goes something like this.”

With that, Bradley screamed, hoisted his mic stand over his shoulder and took a knee.

Featured Image: American soul and R&B singer Charles Bradley performs on 35 Denton Music festival’s main stage. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

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