The TLA welcomed superior musical talent to its stage Saturday August 30th in the form of soul music legend Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires ( Bio / Facebook), followed up by the high-fi New Orleans born and bred Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Orleans Avenue ( Bio / Facebook ). The sold out crowd on South St. was engaged from the moment the lights dimmed, and rightfully so as they were rewarded with two and a half hours of live music at its best. Don’t take for granted that you go to a concert these days and see an exhibition of such combined heart, soul, and windpipes in this fashion.
Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires: The Extraordinaires, six youngsters in their skinny suits and each playing their respective instrument, warmly introduced the screaming eagle of soul — Charles Bradley, who came out in style to a resounding ovation to which he crooned back on several occasions expressing his love and appreciation. As is so symbolic of the era from which his style emerged, songs are rife with social and cultural exploration and questioning — touching on topics including making a living (see videos below), civil rights, and how lovers, friends, and enemies alike must learn to live with and treat one another.
Beyond his obvious song-writing and commentary skill, what separates Bradley is his delivery of genuine messages through remarkable singing ability and admirable stage presence. After all, his younger days were spent impersonating James Brown in Brooklyn before he was discovered by Daptone Records‘ Gabe Roth. The man literally sweat through three dapper outfits, each drenched by the end of their tenure, and the crowd wildly roared in welcoming Charles back on stage each time — as he danced, jived, smiled, and sang out his next ballad. Old school since before you were in school… this summates soul.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue: Still a-buzz after the stage changeover, the crowd got a second full dose of showmanship from the man we all know as Trombone Shorty — and Orleans Avenue. Each band member proudly representing a New Orleans neighborhood/ward, they showed off the renowned region’s signature style while blending in shades of today’s rock, pop, r&b and hip-hop music, producing what one could call a unique modern day uptempo funk.
Whatever you call it, don’t forget “the bone.” Two mics front and center alternated time in the limelight as Shorty belted out a verse/chorus with his voice and quickly switched to blow his trombone to the tune of a ripping melody/solo. The skill, let alone the endurance, can’t be denied nor overlooked. Perhaps to let the lead man catch his wind, like a well-oiled and practiced machine, different musicians played supporting and leading roles with a high-energy, “get on up and move” message certainly the main focus.
From start to encore, each signaled by Shorty raising his two pieces of brass strongly above his head in each hand, those in attendance got what they came and paid for, and honestly quite a lot more.
Photos by Daniel Wooden // Words by Aran Hart