WEEKLY UPDATES (with some special editions in between)



December 22, 2011



This was not an easy decision to make. Plowing through my album reviews of this year, I realised just how much good music there was in 2011. So many didn’t quite make the cut and I regard them as solid albums (The Vaccines, Portugal. The Man, Beady Eye, Yuck, The Streets, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, White Denim etc. etc.) Following my selection, I deliberately never revisited (apart from the top two) as ultimately, any one of these albums, depending on mood, could be my top album of 2011. 

Interestingly enough, my favourites are comprised of seven US bands, just three from the UK and one from France in, Daft Punk. Perhaps this is a function of living in the US, or maybe the music scene is better in the US at this time. Having read both ‘NME’ and ‘The Rolling Stone’ top 50 list, the disparity is huge with, PJ Harvey #1 on ‘NME’ only managing #47 on ‘The Rolling Stone’ and conversely, Adele takes top spot on ‘The Rolling Stone’ poll and doesn’t even feature in NME’s top 50. To the ScoAustin top 11 of 2011. We lead with my numero uno, El Camino.

This duo from Akron, Ohio has really struck a chord with me since first hearing them four or five years ago. On a global scale, they are still relatively small, but ‘El Camino’ is in fact the band's seventh studio album. ‘Brothers’ rocketed them to new proportions and was a massive hit with ‘Tighten Up’ the big commercial hit from them in 2010. It’s no coincidence that was the only track on the album produced by, Danger Mouse and he is at the helm of every track on, ‘El Camino’. The album may only be forty minutes in length, but it’s blistering throughout. Danger Mouse’s lightweight touches accompanied by the gritty vocals of vocalist and guitarist, Dan Auerbach and lanky drummer, Patrick Carney’s precise beats work a dream. If you like this band and haven’t heard their back catalogue, get it sorted…you will not be disappointed. El Camino was only released on the 6th of December, but in my mind can certainly be the catalyst for more good sounds in the future. Supported by next on my list, Arctic Monkeys next year, it’s the hottest ticket in town. Favourite track: Little Black Submarines

Few bands have grabbed me in the last twenty years…Arctic Monkeys are one of that few. When the rose to success upon the release of ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not’ in 2006 and gripped the UK music scene, I was firmly on the bandwagon. Six years and four albums in to their musical career, the Arctic Monkeys again fail to disappoint as so many bands have as they get deeper in to their young careers. I have enjoyed each of their albums and think 'Suck It And See' will build upon the success the band have had to date. Without moving too far away from their traditional sounds, the Arctic Monkeys experiment enough on each release to keep me intrigued. As a group, they are talented, laid back and oftentimes witty. I like their demeanour and love their music. The lyrics and hooks are superb and drummer, Helders is among the best I have seen. Favourite track: Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair


This band has been on my radar for quite some time and I have spent a good bit of time getting to know more about them and their music. Fortunately, it has not been time wasted. I know the band are currently embarking on a North American tour and have recently supported, ‘The Black Keys’ in Canada with my friend suggesting they were better than the headliners. In addition, they have just been announced as the support for, ‘Foo Fighters’ October tour. Unfortunately, the Foos gig that I went to wasn’t supported by, Cage The Elephant and I impatiently await their next tour on this side of the pond. This is a sound I’m thoroughly enjoying and I pine to see the bands’ highly regarded live performance soon. The bands explosive nature caught my attention upon the very first listen whilst being delayed on the tarmac of Dublin International on a flight back to NYC. The debut album was recorded in true garage fashion taking just ten days to complete. This band have the fearlessness and energy of bands like, ‘The Hives’ and ‘The Vines’ whilst sometimes showing the composure of, ‘Bob Dylan’ and display amazing slide guitar sound of, ‘Beck’. Sometimes sounding like an American version of, ‘Arctic Monkeys’  or the aforementioned, ‘Beck’, ‘Cage the Elephant’ make soulful, raw music, inspired by everything from, ‘Iggy and the Stooges’ to hardcore American blues. Favourite track: Always Something


What more can be said about, Foo Fighters? Dave Grohl is a rock messiah. He is one of the best in the business…the consummate rock band front man. The ‘Foos’ seemingly reached the peak of their powers with 2007 release, ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace’. An album idolised by those who listened and further embraced by some fairly important engineers in the art of rock - Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones (who took the stage with the ‘Foos’ at sold out Wembley Stadium shows in 2011). The fifth track here, ‘Arlandria’ harks back to ‘Nirvana’ sounds with, Grohl beautifully exuding his lyrics “you are not me, Arlandria, Arlandria, you and what army? Alandria”. The slower burning, These Days’ is a tad more melodic but no less vitalising as it ascends in to a rocking little tune. ‘Walk’ is a blissful sounding track and probably encapsulated the 2011 ‘Foos’. “I never wanna die! I never wanna die!” Grohl howls. I believe him and who wouldn’t in this vein of form.  It can’t be easy for the, Foo Fighters to maintain and build upon their name and successes, but this year, they have proved that they are still very much one of the best in class and ‘Wasting Light’ is a must own album. Favourite track: Walk


I highly recommend you take a walk in the past and enjoy the amazing collaboration of a group of today’s musical legends. Prior to picking this record up, I really didn’t have an album that I can readily compare to this offering (Portishead’s, ‘Dummy’ coming a very distant, closest). It’s happy, it’s sad, it’s chilled and it’s gruesome. The orchestral and theme variation coupled with the musical talent and epic vocals is deeply compelling. From ‘Gorillaz’ and ‘Gnarls Barkley’ to ‘The Black Keys’ and ‘Beck’, Danger Mouse is the gift that just keeps giving. The inclusion of such high profile acts in the cast in, Jack White and, Norah Jones were arguably something of a gamble…it’s a gamble that has paid dividends to the style of this album. It alternates brilliantly between old school cinematic sounds and instrumentals with some wonderful cameos from, White and Jones. Jack White is undoubtedly a musical leader of his time and I haven’t been shy in showing my admiration for what he has given to modern music thus far on this blog. Since, ‘The White Stripes’, ‘Elephant’ sent shock waves across the UK, I have been an avid fan of him and pretty much everything he’s been involved in musically (including his extensive back catalog with the White Stripes). With tens of millions of records sold (complimented with a number of Grammy’s), Norah Jones is clearly talented. This album may well provide the facelift her vocal qualities required and deserve. She channels the wounded hostility similar to that of ‘Portishead's’, Beth Gibbons, but maintains her own softer and more subtle approach. With fifteen tracks comprising this album, some of which are interludes, it’s a sound that cries for filmography such as, ‘The Good, The Bad And The Ugly’, ‘Sin City’ and ‘From Dusk ‘Til Dawn’ to be appended. To a lesser extent, Coen Brothers, ‘No Country for Old Men’ may apply. There’s a reason why this album is the most read topic on my blog to date. Favourite track: Rose With A Broken Neck

Although I never reviewed this album this year, Radiohead blew me away when I saw them in September this year. The album is solid, but the live performance of the album is simply sensational. Tracks like, Feral, Lotus Flower, Bloom and Codex really resonate. I am not the ardent, Radiohead fan that many claim to be, but they surprised me with their abilities in the live setting. This album, along with their previous offering, ‘In Rainbows’ are very high on my play list and I don’t see that stat changing in the near future. Favourite track: Codex

This one took a while to grow on me, but it got there.'Watch the Throne' is a compelling, complex, conflicted album, layered with heavy commentary on class and race. Many of the West co-produced tracks would not sound out of place on, West’s fantastic 2010 album, 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' which was among my top albums of last year. I’m still unsure about songs such as, ‘Otis’ which do little or nothing to embellish the amazing, Otis Redding track, but sounds like, ‘N’s in Paris’ and ‘Made In America’ really capture the best qualities of Jay-Z and Kanye West. Egos aside, these two produce and combine to cut a top album. Favourite track: No Church In The Wild

The score of Tron: Legacy features an 85-piece orchestra that is intended to be a mixture of orchestral and electronic music. Having been a fan of classic, opera, house and electronic music in various phases of my life, this is an album that works well to combine the diverse elements of each. If the film is in the “worth the watching category, the soundtrack that accompanies is so much more. Daft Punk has long been in my ear buds with, Around the World, One More Time and many others. This album is generally my Monday walk to work music. Favourite track: End of Line

‘Dye It Blonde’ has shades of classic, T-Rex Oasis, Suede, and, John Lennon, but it is far from backwards looking. The albums elements may not be terribly original, but the way they are brought together is a sheer pleasure. It's fantastic to hear an album from a band who begs you to enjoy their music. While the melodic foundation was already evident in the bands self titled debut, producer, Chris Coady deserves some plaudits for transforming a previously rough cut diamond in to a far more polished gem. Favourite track: All Die Young

It’s an album which provides a dozen tracks of scornful criticism, heartbreaking loss and bleak resignation. It’s tragic and yet it’s beautiful. Almost two decades after Harvey’s stubborn debut, ‘Dry’ where she introduced her dissatisfied howls, ‘Let England Shake’ is potentially her best album yet. Over the past twenty years, Harvey has certainly been one of Britain’s most consistently talented songwriters with her work plentiful in terms of darkness and violence. She recently remarked, "My biggest fear would be to replicate something I've done before." Not the case here. ‘Let England Shake’ channels the best of PJ Harvey and results in a bone chillingly haunting, phenomenal album that exudes a songwriter/vocalist at the peak of her powers. A lot has been written of, Harvey of late following her triumph in winning the Mercury Music Prize, but ultimately, her music hasn’t altered that much, it’s merely become more acceptable and trendy. Favourite track: Let England Shake

It was never really in any doubt that Bradley was born to entertain, but in the release of this album at the tender age of 62, he exudes an appetite and skill in songwriting as well. Charles Bradley has spent the majority of his time dreaming of a better life…I think he has arrived with the release of a captivating, raw and candid soul record. There’s really not a weak track on it. Favourite track: The World (Is Going Up In Flames)

That concludes my list for 2011. Some disappoints for me this year included, The Strokes who seem to have more hype than product. Big hits that don’t quite connect with me are the likes of, Foster the People, Fleet Foxes, Wild Flag and Young The Giant. While bands and performers such as, Battles, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Rapture and Gary Clark Jr. are definitely ones I want to hear more of. There were some very decent debutants in, The Vaccines, Yuck, Beady Eye and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and a lot to be thankful music wise in 2011. Hopefully a lot more to look forward to in 2012.  

December 15, 2011

Album Review: The Black Keys - El Camino

First and foremost, I need to thank my good friend and music companion, Jerry for introducing me to this talented duo when I landed on these shores five years ago. The Black Keys’ music is prevalent in my ear buds each week.  Jerry kindly burned me copies of both 2003’s, ‘Thickfreakness’ and 2006’s, ‘Magic Potion’ and I was immediately hooked, purchasing 2008’s, ‘Attack and Release’ instantly upon its release and of course the massive hit that was ‘Brothers’ in 2010 (which ultimately scooped three Grammy’s and sold over a million copies worldwide). Given I am also fond of rap and hip hop, the ‘Blakroc’ album and webisodes are something that I listen to and view frequently (a must listen if you like, The Black Keys and are partial to a bit of hip hop). Blakroc album review here.

When first album, ‘The Big Come Up’ was released in 2002, no one really envisaged that these two geeky white guys from Akron, Ohio with their drums and churlish guitar accompanied by blazing hollers of incoherent romantic frustrations would last a decade or reach the heights that they have…I mean, they cut their third album in an abandoned tire factory and named it ‘Rubber Factory’.

So why the sudden rise in popularity? There are a number of factors. They got their music running across a whole host of ads (Victoria's Secret, American Express and Subaru to name but a few), the talented, Danger Mouse came aboard and helped them figure things out and last year's, ‘Brothers’ had charm and a pop wit that elevated them to their peak with songs like, ‘Tighten Up’ and, ‘Next Girl’. Now we greet ‘El Camino’, which has been hailed in many circles as their best yet (must be hell of a good if that’s the case).

The album kicks off with the fun, ‘Lonely Boy’ which has an amazing video (see below if you haven’t already viewed it one hundred times). The opening guitar riff is quick and playful and the shrilling Hammond organ supplements the mood beautifully. It really sets the tone with a rousing rockabilly rumble on this opener. ‘Dead and Gone’ that follows is home to an almost a ‘Happy Days’ beat on the chorus. Some pretty strong lyrics by Auerbach on this one. Danger Mouse audibly influences with his dashes across ‘El Camino’. This track follows similar chords that underpinned much of his previous project, ‘Rome’.

The ‘Gold on the Ceiling’ riff harks back to glam rock legends, T-Rex. Love the sound to this one which is in the realm of, ‘The Who’ and ‘Led Zeppelin’. The use of keys and a kazoo like sound works well here. It sounds just filthy with it’s the bombastic beat and Auerbach’s howls - “They wannna get my gold on the ceiling, I aint got, just a matter of time, before you steal it, it’s all right, ain’t no God in my heart.” What follows in, ‘Little Black Submarines’ is one of my unexpected favourites from ‘El Camino’. The first half of this song is markedly different to any of The Black Keys previous work, whilst the second have is oh so very familiar. Exactly halfway through the track, a grinding, bluesy guitar riff rips in. It initially has me thinking of R.E.M’s ‘What’s the Frequency Kenneth’? The structure and sounds of the second half sound very, Jack White with a quality jam concluding the track. Carney and Auerbach are truly back in the, ‘Rubber Factory’ spirit here. Auerbach’s shredding on this track beats tops even, ‘Attack and Release’s’ most face melting jams.

The high octane sounds continue on, ‘Money Maker’ as the band really get in to their stride on this album. "I wanna buy some time, but don't have a dime," quips the chorus.  ‘Money Maker’ also sounds comfortingly familiar, with a riff that’s a dead ringer for, ‘The Hives’, ‘Main Offender’. In, ‘Run Right Back’ we’re back to the kind of tune we’ve come to expect of the Akron, Ohio duo and I’m fine with that as this sound is right down my street. It’s the bluesy rock sound that I love. Auerbach’s gravelly voice accompany the tunes perfectly…in the same manner to which, Neil Young and Bob Dylan’s do theirs. Perhaps a bit of a reach forming these kind of comparisons, but I do like the combination of Auerbach’s vocals against the raw blues backdrop.

'Sister’ is fraught with an 80’s pulse and sassy kazoo. It’s almost a Billy Jeanesque backbeat in which you feel for drummer, Carney's kit as he bludgeons it so hard. ‘Hell of a Season’ shows a streak of punk in which the combination of crashing cymbals and a lucid bass line sounds a little bit like, ‘Police and Thieves’ from, ‘The Clash’. ‘Stop Stop’ is fairly simplistic with its go-go beat, but an enjoyable track nonetheless. Similar could be said of, ‘’Nova Baby’ that follows. The closer, ‘Mind Eraser’ paints a common picture with the music embedded in curt melody and two-chord patterns. Auerbach's lyrics follow a familiar path - women are trouble, life is not easy and people will take what's yours

This album is the band's seventh studio album, but their first since 2010's massive hit, ‘Brothers’ which effectively elevated them to real rock stardom. A large amount of that rise to fame can be attributed to the hook-laden hit, ‘Tighten Up’ from that record. Incidentally, that was the only track on the album produced by, ‘Danger Mouse’. He produces each and every track on, ‘El Camino’…one plus one equals two. El Camino is a mere forty minutes short, but it’s a blistering forty minutes. With the producers’ featherweight, yet illuminating traces, vocalist and guitarist, Dan Auerbach and drummer, Patrick Carney have refined each track here to the lofty standards of, ‘Tighten Up’. From their basic beginnings recording in Carney’s basement to where they are now, El Camino is a fitting vehicle for their recent successes. Rating 8.5/10

December 11, 2011

BEADY EYE - Terminal 5, NY, 9th December 2011

In terms of an introduction, I think I have more than covered it in my previous album review – and gig review of mid summer -

I was/am a massive, 'Oasis' fan and am eagerly charting the efforts of both, Noel and Liam in the bands afterlife. Beady Eye's debut album, ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’, was released in February of this year and is a very decent debut which is home to a few real standout tracks. With the collective songwriting efforts of Gallagher, Archer and Bell, the resulting album comes across strongly. They are an experienced threesome and have delivered a solid debut as, 'Beady Eye' which is ultimately, 'Oasis without, Noel'. With a second album in the works and scheduled for release next summer, this is not just a gimmick by the former, 'Oasis' members.
Liam Gallagher and his second band, Beady Eye entered the stage in their swaggering fashion before Liam barked, "good evening New York". Clad in a long winter trenchcoat, scarf and tinted (if not sun) glasses, Liam got started on the sets energetic opening song, 'Four Letter Word'. It's a solid opening track as Gallagher asks for a little more mic and looks very much in the mood. Following this impressive opener, Liam immediately engages his fervent, Terminal 5 audience - "Well you sound like you want to party then, yeah?"

No time for pause as one of my favourites from their recent release rips in, 'Beatles and Stones'. The bass line on this track heavily influenced by, The Who's, 'My Generation'...some might even suggest a direct copy. It's that familair. Again, Liam's vocals are bang on the money. 'Millionaire' that follows is a song that really doesn't grab me. It's one that elder brother, Noel would have sung under the 'Oasis' guise, but simply doesn't suit, Liam. Thankfully, we are back on track with the B-side to, 'The Roller' in 'Two Of A Kind'. This song is catchy as hell and the lyrics are strong as well - "I’m on my way, to save my love, she rides my wave, I swim above. She’s all I need, my summer breeze, she’s in my mind, two of a kind!"

'For Anyone' follows and is another that falls under the 'not a Liam song' bracket as far as I'm concerned. It's a melancholic little track and the beats and strings are well constructed, but there's nothing more to add. These tracks may be a ploy to rest Liam's voice somewhat during a set which would certainly take its toll on the frontman. With 'Three Ring Circus' that follows, he is back to his shrilling and screaming - "Didn’t walk, could’ve run...Ain’t that enough?" The bands strongest song is most certainly, 'The Roller'. This has already reached anthem proportions. It's one that really strikes a note and gets trapped in your head...once it gets in there, it's extremely difficult to get out. Liam delivers it with the ease and attitude that it begs and deserves. Brilliant!

The, Terminal 5 audience were hardly hushed following, 'The Roller' when, Beady Eye followed up the with anoher B-side. This time in the shape of, 'In the Bubble With a Bullet' from 'The Beat Goes On'. This was the first time I had heard the track and it's one I will be downloading shortly. Great to see this band continuing to write and release strong B-sides which was seemingly a habit for, Oasis.

The fast flowing, 'Bring the Light' dedicated to "the City fans if they're in". A reference to Liam's favourtie football team in England, Manchester City. Ultimately they've been crap for the past thirty years, but with a sugar Daddy in ownership, look like a team with real potential. Got to let, Liam have his moment of glory I suppose. With the keys at the forefront, this sounds jazzy, bluesy and rocking. It's like something from decades ago with a twist of the present day. Another of my top tunes from, 'Different Gear, Still Speeding' followed in 'Standing At the Edge of the Noise'. I mean, lyrically, it's not got a lot of substance, but the snarling vocals have memories of Oasis at Loch Lomond, Scotland in 1996 flooding back and shivers running through my spine.

By this point in proceedings, sweat was seaping through Liam's thick winter coat (see photo on the left) and must have had most of the audience wondering why on earth he never took it off. There is promoting your clothing range, 'Pretty Green' and there's negatively displaying this case, I think the latter is true.

Regardless of the sweat, the show went on with 'Kill For a Dream'. Another slower, more chilled out tune to give the lead man a wee break. Some deeper lyrics and a serious vibe. I love, Gem's simple, but effective guitar riff on this one. 'The Beat Goes On' and 'Man of Misery' that follow are very Lennonesque and in the more emotional genre of, Beady Eye's offerings. The former certainly a reference to moving on in life after, Oasis.

As we reach the end of a throughly enoyable set, 'The Morning Son' is simply superb. It's a psychedelic little number, but the echo effect on Liam's vocals work really well. Never as good on the album version with the live version so amazingly strong. One could say the same about the final song of the set, 'Wigwam' which is the closer to the album and often the set closer. Drummer, Sharrock was in his element (although he did drop a fair number of drumticks that he's launched in to the air). In the chorus, the repetition of Liam, "I'm coming up" alongside a military style drumbeat is superb.

The band leave the stage briefly before returning to deliver one more track and their customary swansong, the 'World of Twist' cover, 'Sons of the Stage'. It's not the longest set a band will play with a succint sixteen tracks, but they only have one album and I was happy with what I'd seen and heard (aside from the sweat on Liam's coat...he must have shed 12lbs of sweat).

‘Beady Eye’ are a talented and focused group of musicians with a sterling debut album, clear desire to write good music and perform live around the globe. They enjoy their time on the stage as opposed to the turgid end of, 'Oasis' which was uncomfortable to see and listen to. I for one want more from 'Beady Eye' and I am eager for their follow up to ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’ next year. Rating 8/10 

Set List:
Four Letter Word
Beatles and Stones
Two Of A Kind
For Anyone
Thee Ring Circus
The Roller
In the Bubble With a Bullet
Bring the Light
Standing On the Edge of the Noise
Kill for a Dream
The Beat Goes On
Man of Misery
The Morning Son

Sons of the Stage (World of Twist cover)

December 5, 2011

CHARLES BRADLEY - Bowery Ballroom, NY, 3rd December 2011


In my initial review of, Charles Bradley's most recent album, 'No Time for Dreaming' ( I went quite deep in to, Bradley’s life experiences that have had a huge impact on this particular album and his career at large. In short, he was born in Florida, later raised in Brooklyn, NY spending a large part of his formative years on the streets. In the early 60’s, his sister took him to see, James Brown at, 'The Apollo' in Harlem, NY which gripped him and ultimately provided the catalyst to the music career that he now enjoys. Just as things had turned around for the better in his life, disaster struck when his brother was shot and killed by his nephew. The first song of this night’s event is a tribute to his late brother in, 'Heartaches and Pain'.
Prior to the show, what hit me most was the eclectic mix of audience with far more white faces and far younger people than I had anticipated. I was happily surprised to find that soul music still has a depth of popularity and spans the length and breadth of demographics...exactly how it was intended to be.

The six piece supporting cast in the form of saxophone, trumpet, bass guitar, lead guitar, drums and keyboards took to the stage and played a melodic funky soul intro for several minutes to set the tone. More jamming ensued before the enigmatic 63 year old, Charles Bradley took to the stage with his diamante clad, all black outfit and kicked off with the emotional, 'Heartaches and Pain'. The passion in his voice and grimace on his face is pure and real and his vocals are so moving. 'No Time for Dreaming' that follows really is in the realm of the legendary, James Brown. The scream of “gotta get on up, and do your thing” all so familiar. Not so much on the dancing front though...Bradley couldn’t shine the late, Brown’s shoes in that department. 'Loving You, Baby' is extremely powerful. The man has such natural talent and even a brief microphone issue caused no obstacle for the effervescent, Bradley.

'The World (Is Going Up in Flames)' follows with wonderful lyrics. This is a firm favourite with his followers and probably the biggest hit from, ‘No Time for Dreaming’. Bradley almost preaching to us on this one as the keys and horns collaborate to great effect...not to mention the rhythmic plucking on the lead guitar throughout. On the next track, 'How Long', Bradley’s grizzly vocals and energetic ‘dance moves’ combine to display his anguish. He chooses to use his mic stand to enact Jesus Christ on the cross to further exhibit his pain on this song. Great trumpet solo on this by Billy.
The first cover of the evening was up next in the form of, Allman Brothers’, ‘Slip Away’. Charles seeming losing his mind and getting his funk on eclipsing on the “got to got to have it” chorus with the spritely 63 year old ending with the splits before leaving the stage briefly while the band jammed on momentarily. I actually thought that he had hurt himself doing the splits and the rest of the show was in doubt, but thankfully it turned out to be a quick costume change. He soon returned to the stage having swapped his diamante laden shirt and trousers for a musty brown jump suit that only a soul brother such as he can pull off (don’t try it at home people).

‘This Love Aint Big Enough for the Two of Us’ followed and I hadn’t heard this track before tonight. It’s one that, Bradley released a little earlier in his career when he performed as, ‘Charles Bradley and The Bullets’. This track is the definition of ‘funk’ for me. I’m not much of a mover, but many of the, Bowery Ballroom crowd were ‘getting down’ to this one…shaking their hips and bopping away to every beat and guitar chord. With the crowd het up, Bradley then performed a deep down and dirty instrumental while also introducing his talented band. He firstly prompted trumpeter, Billy to give some horn which he dually did, before asking, Tommy on saxophone to “rock your soul”. Flipping it over to the none too amused, Mikey D on organ, Bradley lambasted the coy looking keyboard player saying, “all you did was stick it in” first time around asking him to go again and give it some more. Second time around was acceptable to the ‘in his zone’, Bradley who then turned it over to bass asking, Mike Nad “can I get some fuckin’ bass?” The bass player did not disappoint with some deep bass chords. When lead guitarist, Tom got the shout, he treated the NY crowd to a thrilling rendition of ‘Love theme from the Godfather’ in a Spanish guitar style. He received the biggest cheer before drummer, Pino was asked to provide some funky drama. This ended a fifteen minute long jam that the audience was right in to.

Oddly enough, a song that I had listened to a little earlier in the day, ‘Heart of Gold’ by, Neil Young was up next. The song sounds so different under, Bradley’s tenure, but an enjoyable mix of a classic song nonetheless. The sultry and chilled out, ‘Telephone Song’ was next and brought things down a touch. Again, simple, but effective lyrics by, Bradley – “I'm tired of fighting baby...we don't need to fight no more. Two fools in love”. I really like the riff on ‘I Believe in Your Love’. It’s just a continual four chord riff that appears throughout the sleepy track, but with horns and, Bradley’s vocals added, really hits the spot.
As we get towards the end, Bradley performs, ‘Golden Rule’ before jumping down in to the baying crowd (despite lead guitar, Tom’s head shake of disapproval when, Bradley asked whether he should) and embraces numerous members of a delighted audience. A few minutes later, Bradley and the band reappeared to perform another poignant track, ‘Why is it So Hard’ which is effectively a commentary of the struggles that the singer himself faced for the majority of his live. The elated, Bradley ends a superb show by preaching the Lord’s Prayer, explaining, “When I say these words, I’m talking to you in my Father’s house”.

My only question is “where was Bradley 30 years ago?” He’s a raw, natural talent who is simply born to entertain. It’s not often I attend shows of this musical genre that I thoroughly enjoy, but Bradley has me wanting more. At the tender age of 63, Bradley is an inspiration to many of his peers who perhaps never made it the first time around. He displays an appetite and energy that is so magnetic and warming. If you want to go and see a modern day Brown, Redding, Green or Armstrong, then go and see, Charles Bradley. Rating 7.5/10

Set List:
Heartaches and Pain
No Time for Dreaming
Loving You, Baby
The World (Is Going Up In Flames)  
How Long 
Slip Away (Allman Brothers cover)
This Love Aint Big Enough for the Two of Us
Heart of Gold (Neil Young cover)
Telephone Song
I Believe in Your Love
Golden Rule
Why is it So Hard