Charles Bradley. Santa Monica Pier. Free. Tonight! This is the last night of the Twilight Concert Series and it’s a good one. Guaranteed to be hustling and bustling, we suggest getting there early if you can. We’re thinking it should go something like this, plus add the Pacific breeze…

Charles Bradley is funky and soulful, with a 60’s and 70’s sound, somewhere in between James Brown and Otis Redding. He was discovered by Daptone Records when he was performing as “Black Velvet,” his James Brown cover act. Charles Bradley is 65 years young and the struggles of his life is felt in his music and performances. AND THIS STORY. It just shows his genuine love and gratitude to his fans. If you haven’t heard him, we definitely recommend checking him out. Charles Bradley is Cool-Tite in our book, that’s for sure.

If you’re looking for a story that best summarizes the last year in the life of Charles Bradley, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one than the night he and his band showed up in Utopia, Texas to play an outdoor show in the middle of a thunderstorm. “It was just raining, raining, raining,” Bradley recalls. “I walked out onstage, and there were about 800 people there – maybe more – all of them just standing out there in the rain and the mud.” The band settled in and fought their hardest against the elements, but – for a moment, anyway – it seemed that nature was too much for even the mighty Charles Bradley. About halfway through the show, the power went out, leaving both the band and the drenched fans in total darkness. 

At any other show, that would be understood as the meteorological signal for “Quittin’ Time,” but if there’s one thing the last year of tireless touring before enrapt audiences has proven, it’s that Charles Bradley does not put on typical shows. “I could hear them screaming, ‘Charles Bradley! Charles Bradley we love you,’” Bradley smiles. “And so when the lights came back on, I said, ‘If all of you can stand out there in the rain and get soaking wet because you want to see me perform – to see me do something that I love to do – then you know what? I’m gonna get wet, too.’” And with that, Bradley jumped off the stage and into the crowd. “They went completely crazy!” he laughs. “We were laughing. We were hugging. We were getting muddy. It was just love.”