by Dan Gibson
Just as an opening note, I have no idea how the Charles Bradley show at the Rialto isn't sold out yet. Tickets are cheap—$15 general admission—so there's no excuse. A friend of mine saw Bradley at Lollapalooza this weekend and said he thought it might have been the best performance all weekend, and he wasn't alone. That same sentiment showed up in a bunch of recaps of the festival. The best act of a festival with a stacked lineup and that performer is playing in our city the same month. For $15. I just don't get it.
Charles Bradley's music is so great on its own—a perfect take on Wilson Pickett-style soul—that you don't really need to know the man's back story. But, wow, once you get a sense of where Bradley came from, and how long it took him to get to where he is today, playing festivals like Lollapalooza this weekend and the Rialto on Aug. 22, you'll be a fan for life. Last year's documentary, Charles Bradley: Soul of America, is available on DVD and Video On Demand, and if you enjoyed the Buena Vista Social Club or Searching for Sugarman films, hard-luck stories with a happy ending, this will be right up your alley.
So, see the documentary, then get tickets to the show. Actually, maybe do that in the other order. If this town's music fans come to their collective senses, the tickets won't be available by the time you get to the closing credits.