The Year in Review: Best Concerts of 2013, Denmark

The Year in Review: The top 10 gigs of 2013 in Denmark 

1) Sigur Ros, Roskilde Festival, July 6

I didn’t see Sigur Ros, I experienced Sigur Ros. The Icelander’s music is some of the purest, soul-searching music you will find for miles around; a trance-like journey that rekindles deep-hidden fond memories with an edifying caress that no other band can muster. Sigur Ros were shamanic at their show at Roskilde.

2) Charles Bradley & his extraordinaires, Lille Vega, June 17

The Screaming Eagle of Soul rocked Denmark to its core on his encore at Lille Vega this year. For a man in his sixties who only just rocketed to fame, Bradley’s teary, nervy, sweaty, emotional soul trip is the story of a man who made it in America, after decades of bad luck and strife. James Brown would be proud.

3) Crystal Castles, Store Vega, March 2

Crystal Castles pulled off a seismic show at Store Vega towards the end of the winter, a chaotic, cathartic experience that saw lead singer Alice Glass crowd surf her way to what looked like the middle of the audience at Store Vega. I have never seen anything like it before or since

4) Modeselektor, Store Vega, Feb 14

Berlin’s Modeselektor have been making music since the wall came down a good while ago. As driven today as they were back then, the electronic duo are a symbol of the German capital and frontrunners in the world of electronic music. Props for their party-starting credentials and props to Vega for a very well organised show (which included an ‘artist chat’ session in ideal bar).

  1. Chinese Man, Roskilde Festival, July 4

French turntablists Chinese man were on cue at their show at Roskilde Festival, taking the audience on a journey through dubstep, drum & bass, hip hop and everything in between with a prowess that made it seem as if the genre of turntablism has been around since the dawn of time. Witty, daring and exceedingly cool.

BEST OF THE REST

  1. Shantel & The Bucovina Orchestra, Lille Vega, Nov 28

  2. Reptile Youth, Lille Vega, March 8,

  3. Of Monsters and Men, Roskilde Festival, July 5

  4. Tame Impala, Store Vega, Aug 9

  5. Animal Collective, Roskilde Festival, July 4

Charles Bradley, Interview. Stor Vega June 2013

Living proof you can take the last exit to Brooklyn

They used to call him Black Velvet – now it’s simply Mr Bradley
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 pic: Allan Kortbæk
The beguiling Charles Bradley is the kind of performer one never forgets. The funk revivalist has enjoyed a fairy-tale success story following the release of his debut album, ‘No Time For Dreaming’, three years ago.

It followed a lifetime of trying to make a living under harsh conditions in the US, moonlighting as Black Velvet as he performed James Brown impersonations alongside his job as a chef.

What’s fascinating is not Bradley’s rise to the limelight at the ripe old age of, per say, but more the perseverance he showed along the way, despite hardship and travails that included him sleeping on New York subway lines as a teen and losing his brother in a shooting.

His is a life replete with drama and difficulties that would derail most, yet somehow the Brooklyn star is still here, telling us his story through shrieks, tears and the passion of a man half his age.

The Copenhagen Post caught up with Bradley before his third performance on Danish soil at Lille Vega last week, backed by his seven-piece band, The Extraordinaires.

The Copenhagen Post: Welcome back to Copenhagen, Charles. This is your third visit to Denmark, I do believe. You go on stage in about half an hour. How are you feeling today?

Charles Bradley: I’ve got a bit of a problem with my eye – it’s running a bit. Must be some kind of allergy, but there ain’t nothing that’s going to stop me from doing a great show. I’m going to do my best to keep people entertained and make them happy.

CP: Your latest album ‘Victim of Love’ has just hit the shelves. Could you tell us a bit about it? What’s the inspiration behind it?

CB: ‘Victim of Love’, that’s  me – it’s about my life. Music is what I have left to tell my story. During my working life I couldn’t express myself you know, cos you want to speak up and say something about the injustices you go through, but you can’t cos that’s the way it is. My music gives me the chance to do this today. I’m grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to be able to share my story.

CP: You’ve definitely “Made it in America”, to quote one of your songs [‘Why is it so hard?’]. Some may forget that many of America’s issues remain hidden by the success of your music. What is the reality of life in America today living in Brooklyn?

CB: Everyone talks about America being the land of milk and honey, but it ain’t. You can get milk and honey, but you gotta work hard to do it and it’s never easy. You’ve got to fight, you’ve got to be strong and keep going even when it seems like there is nothing to live for.  I took the long road to get here.

CP: Many of your songs, such as ‘No Time for Dreaming’, relate to sensitive moments of your life, but they also have a wider application in the state of America and the world today. What is your message to everyone out there who is struggling to cope and struggling to make it?

CB: Go back to the golden rule. If you’ve got a gift that God gave you, use it. Don’t let nobody tell you nothing about it. It doesn’t matter how many millions somebody offers you. You can be rich, you can make it financially, but if you don’t have inner peace, dignity, you won’t have anything. You got to keep your dignity because that’s worth more than anything.

CP: Where do you go from here, Charles. What’s next in this musical journey for you? Can we expect you back in Denmark anytime soon?

CB: I’ve got to put up a show. It’s part of the job, so I’ve got to perform and give people a good time. I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow; I don’t know where I’ll be in a few years. Only God has the answer to that.

Charles Bradley and his extraordinaire’s, Lille Vega June 2013

Original article:

http://cphpost.dk/inout/concerts/souls-screaming-eagle-proves-hes-still-extraordinaire

Charles Bradley ****** (6 stars out of 6); June 17 at Lille Vega
Bradley’s impeccable presence rocked Lille Vega for the second year running (Photo: Flickr / sebascrub)

When Charles Bradley first came to Denmark in 2011, he was an unfamiliar fixture in the world music circuit. When he came to Lille Vega last year, he was still not that well known worldwide, yet alone in Denmark. But after last night’s show at the same venue, however, I have a sneaking suspicion that we have not seen the last of Charles Bradley, and that his best may still be yet to come.

Starting out as ‘Black Velvet,’ Bradley performed James Brown impersonations before eventually landing a contract with Daptone records a few years ago at the tender age of 62.  His songs chart his struggle and call for change in society, a veritable critique of the fallacy of the American dream and of the greed and corruption with which society is awash today. Bradley’s show last night was by far the best concert I have ever been to, a bewilderingly beautiful performance that saw him shed tears of elation and sorrow alike.

The backup band of the evening, the seven-piece Extraordinaires, stepped on stage before the main man himself, announcing their presence with an intense instrumental performance. Bradley took to the stage shortly afterwards, clad in clothes he’d made himself and resembling James Brown down to a T.

‘The World (Is Going up in Flames)’, off his debut album No Time for Dreaming set the pace, slowly working up a crowd that lived up to the cliché of being an audience with a frightful tendency to be stagnant and noncommittal. This stereotype was thankfully broken down as things proceeded though, the result being epic hands-in-the air moments and  genuine interaction from the crowd. With Charles giving it his all, performing with a dedication that saw him sweat profusely on the warm stage, an early instrumental interlude early saw him waltz off stage to take a breather before coming back on to woo the crowd with tracks such as ‘No Time For Dreaming’ and the sentimental ‘Loving You.’

With the venue in the palm of his hands, Bradley and co rounded off with an epic performance of the newer track ‘Confusion’, showcasing a series of dance moves that few people in their twenties, let alone a veteran, can muster.  A befitting encore saw him change outfits and come back on stage dressed in a fiery red suit to perform the powerful ‘Victim of love’ and ‘Why is it so Hard?’, both off his 2013 album,Victim of Love, which documents the travails and struggles of a man who has taken a long and weary walk to freedom.