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« March 15, 2013

Daptone Soul Revue

SXSW showcase reviews
Review by Thomas Fawcett
photo by John Anderson
The Como Mamas

Daptone Soul RevUE

ACL Live at the Moody Theater, Thursday, March 14

Towering high above the ACL Live stage hung a black-and-white banner that said it all: "Presenting the Unstoppable Daptone Records Super Soul Revue!" The Brooklyn soul train has been chugging along the tracks for more than a decade now and – as this stellar label love-fest proved – it's only picking up steam. The Como Mamas kicked off the night with a straight-from-the-church gospel revival. Standing at the front of a stage full of instruments, the praise singers needed none, spreading the word of recent release Get an Understanding a capella. "We've been on the battlefield a long time," testified one of the Mississippi mamas before evangelizing with "Thank Him Enough," "Peace of Mind," and "I'm Going Home to Jesus." The Daptone roster has plenty of interchangeable parts and the music never really stopped once Dap-Kings guitarist and the night's de facto emcee Binky Griptite introduced the Menahan Street Band. The cinematic soul of last year's The Crossing anchored a set that included an instrumental Wu-Tang cover as the band swelled from six to 12 members depending on the track. Introduced as "the only thing that's smoother than black velvet," Charles Bradley glided onstage with a hot red suit and million-dollar smile as the Screaming Eagle of Soul launched into "You Put the Flame On It" from next month's sophomore LP Victim of Love. Following an intermission filled by the Jay-Z sampled "Make the Road by Walking," Bradley reemerged after a wardrobe change, spinning and dropping into the splits during the swirling nails-tough soul of "Confusion." The Florida native ended the show as only he could, climbing over the barricade and offering warm embraces to dozens of audience members. He was hugging fans well into the first boogaloo grove of the next set by label vets Sugarman 3. Hell, he's probably still giving teary-eyed hugs right now.

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