TV on the Radio and Charles Bradley Bring Soul to Spinner SXSW Showcase
In the final hours of Spinner's official SXSW showcase, held Thursday night (March 17) at Stubbs Bar-B-Q in Austin, two bands with vastly different backgrounds and musical vocabularies offered variations on the same sound: sweet soul music.
Leading the six-piece Menahan Street Band, a crackerjack ensemble featuring members of the Budos Band and Dap-Kings, 62-year-old up-from-nothing newcomer Charles Bradley went the classic route. On the title track of his recently released debut album, 'No Time for Dreaming,' he asked in no uncertain terms the kind of deeply felt question his main inspiration, James Brown, posed throughout his career: "Why is it so hard to make it in America?"
With their barrage of guitars, bass, synths and samplers, headliners TV on the Radio wondered the same thing. The Brooklyn art-rockers just happened to follow the question mark with a few dozen exclamation points, capping in grand fashion an evening that also saw performances by Foster the People, Noah and the Whale and Portugal.the Man.
TV on the Radio is gearing up to release its fourth album, 'Nine Types of Light,' and given they sat out much of 2010, Thursday's set marked the triumphant return of one of this millennium's most consistently groundbreaking rock bands. Six strong, thanks to the addition of a trombone player (and a musician filling in for bassist Gerard Smith, who is battling lung cancer), the group played everything louder and faster than on record, turning understated early gems 'Staring at the Sun' and 'Young Liars' into stadium-worthy anthems.
They fared even better on the avant-funk jams 'Dancing