On Sept. 23, soul musician Charles Bradley died of complications from stomach and liver cancer. He was 68 years old.
Sunday at 7 p.m., High Dive will host a tribute to Charles Bradley featuring Gainesville’s own Savants of Soul, Wester Joseph’s Stereo Vudu and Idylwild. The bands will play songs from the catalog of the self-proclaimed ‘Screaming Eagle of Soul,’ as well as original songs inspired by his work.
In 2016, Glory Days Presents booked Bradley as the headliner for the Changeville Festival, which coincided with the reopening of Bo Diddley Plaza. The show was Bradley’s only performance in his hometown of Gainesville. Many of his family members attended.
Now, Glory Days Presents is honoring Bradley at High Dive with a three-act performance, featuring bands that will continue his soulful legacy.
“It will be a night of remembrance and of celebration,” according to the event’s Facebook page.
In addition to the songs that will directly honor Bradley in their set list, the members of Savants of Soul will play two songs recorded at Vince Chiarito’s Brooklyn studio, as Chiarito was a member of Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires.
The songs, “Dead Man Running” and “Missed Connections,” will soon be accompanied by music videos.
Alexander Klausner, who plays drums for Savants of Soul, once briefly met Bradley when the band opened for him at a show. Klausner remembers the late singer’s kindness, and how it did not mirror the hardship and experience embodied in his three recorded albums.
“The music Charles and his band made is stuff that we aspire to make. To have opened for him, and now to be the headliner for a show celebrating his life, it’s really an honor,” Klausner said. “I really hope we do it justice. He means a lot to us.”
Also playing Sunday is Wester Joseph’s Stereo Vudu. The seven members perform what they call “VuduRawk,” a rhythm-heavy combination of all members’ favorite sounds and influences.
A promoter at High Dive, who also got in touch with Savants of Soul about performing in the show, contacted Joseph’s band to honor Bradley with a performance.
“Mr. Bradley is a musical spirit animal to a lot of Gainesvillians,” Joseph said. “There’s something really hard-hitting and big-hearted about his songs. He’s raw in a way that helps you be a little bit raw, too. We’re just hoping we can conjure something that would make him proud on Sunday.”
The third act honoring Bradley is Idylwild, a Gainesville-based six-piece group.
Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the show will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets can be found at ticketfly.com for $8 and at the door for $10 to $20 based on a sliding scale.
Proceeds from tickets and door sales will go to local charity Hope Lodge and national charity All Stars Project per request of the Charles Bradley family and his record label, Daptone Records. Hope Lodge provides accommodations for those traveling to Alachua County for cancer treatment, while All Stars Project provides after school music and arts programs for children in low-income communities.