Music

The Love Heard Round the World: Charles Bradley Opens Rough Trade NYC

A soul genius who says “I love you” to his fans like his life depends on it.

Story and photos by Tiffany Wen - tiffanywen3383@gmail.com
Photo © Tiffany Wen

Photo © Tiffany Wen

This past November, Rough Trade NYC made its US debut, packing a full house with a wildly infectious performance by Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band. And can we just say for the record, there are few artists that do it like Mr. Bradley. The man has weathered every storm imaginable (watch his inspirational documentary “Soul of America”) and proven that even at sixty-two, there’s still time for dreaming. While his lyrics express the pain of his past (“Why Is It So Hard”), his raw vocal intensity tells the story of hope and unbreakable spirit that’s gotten him this far (“You Put the Flame on It”). The crowd went wild all through the night for Charles’ signature move—arms splayed out toward the sky, eyes closed in serenity, with pelvis thrusting in a circular slow motion, while savoring the sounds and senses around him. But what we didn’t expect? A man with a heart of gold. A soul genius who says “I love you” to his fans like his life depends on it. Ask photographer Tiffany Wen who will tell you firsthand that Charles, under some self-induced love spell, blew her two kisses on the way in and ended his encore kissing her on the hand like the true gentleman he is. The night naturally closed out on the highest of notes.

We expect many more amazing things to come, but in the meantime, enjoy these albums that never get old: ‘No time For Dreaming” (2010) and “Victim of Love” (2013). We also recommend you check out Rough Trade and keep your eyes glued to their upcoming show list here.

Photo © Tiffany Wen

Photo © Tiffany Wen

Photo © Tiffany Wen

Photo © Tiffany Wen

Photo © Tiffany Wen

Photo © Tiffany Wen

Photo © Tiffany Wen

Photo © Tiffany Wen

Photo © Tiffany Wen

Photo © Tiffany Wen

Photo © Tiffany Wen

Photo © Tiffany Wen

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