A Funky Good Time

December 5th, 2011

Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires – The Bowery Ballroom – December 3, 2011

It takes a certain something to pull off a custom outfit with your initials in sequin on the back. You can’t really put that certain something into words, but you know it when you see it. And if you were lucky enough to be part of the sold-out Bowery Ballroom crowd on Saturday night, you saw it in all its show-stopping glory. The initials on the back were “CB” for Charles Bradley, and the grooves he and his aptly named band, the Extraordinaires, channeled were all sorts of in-the-flesh “JB.”

It isn’t every night that the Ballroom is hopping front to back with old-school soul and R&B, but Bradley had the room moving. Working the material off his acclaimed 2011 release, No Time for Dreaming, Bradley made sure there was no time even for resting, with each number deep and funky. Grooves like this are only as good as the band laying them down, and the stable of Daptone musicians backing Bradley kept things in the pocket all night.

Bradley’s voice oozed with soul and filled with lament and joy. The night’s highlight cover was a souped-up version of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” with Bradley maintaining the depth of the lyrics while infusing all sorts of funkiness Young probably didn’t know existed in there. Like everything else he sang, Bradley made it his own. The sparkling sequin initials left no doubt. —A. Stein

(Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires and the Budos Band play Music Hall of Williamsburg on 12/31.)