This Week in Live Music: James Blunt, Charles Bradley, and More


Your heartfelt Internet story of the week comes from LA, home to a band called Vulfpeck. As Vice points out in this absurd-but-true tale, Vulfpeck realized that by asking fans to stream a silent album while they were sleeping, they could cash in on the streams. And they did, to the tune of $20,000. That is, if Spotify pays up.

With that hairbrained scheme in mind, we give you the five most clever and inspiring acts of the week.

Monday, Tuesday: Richard Thompson at Great American Music Hall

The long-celebrated British folk rock guitarist has been reliably excellent over the years. Dedicated fans know what they’re going to get with the avuncular Thompson: 1) riveting stories, 2) insanely talented, hook-heavy, guitar handiwork, and 3) uber-charming showmanship. You’d never guess Thompson is 65 years old judging by the sassy angst hidden in his vibrant voice. Even in Thompson’s most recent album, Electric, there’s real energy in our protagonist. See for yourself:

Wednesday: James Blunt at The Fillmore

It’s unofficially English singer-songwriter week in San Francisco. James Blunt’s fever pitch reached a crescendo some ten years ago when his debut album Back to Bedlam sold 11 million copies. It didn’t seem like much then, but Blunt helped galvanize a rebirth of folk-emo-rock, which has since been copied by bands like Lord Huron and The Head and The Heart and the like. Like those outfits, Blunt keeps songs simple, clear, and unabashedly sentimental. Bring a singalong voice and a handkerchief.

Friday: Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires at SFJAZZ Center

The inspired and inspiring soul/funk/R&B revivalist Charles Bradley is the answer to cynicism. The 65-year-old oozes charisma, and more significantly, heart, and only the darkest of souls could leave a Charles Bradley show spiritually unfulfilled. But it’s not all sunshine, lollipops, and smiley-faced emojis. Bradley recently explained to the Dallas Observer how difficult life can be even for someone finally living his dream decades into the endeavor: "Every day, I get up and think to myself, 'Uh oh, I got to get up and face the world today. Knowing my music can help people that are going through tough times, and the things that I have gone through in my life, makes it all worth it. I know I have to let go of the pain and do what I've got to do. The music isn't just about me."

Saturday: Purity Ring (DJ Set) at Mezzanine

Dear Summertime Music Santa, please deliver us a new Purity Ring album before Christmas. Please, please, please. The shrine I’ve built to 2012’s Shrine is growing too big for my apartment. Perhaps audiences will get a hint of new material at this Mezzanine DJ set? The fact that it’s being billed as an “Exclusive DJ set” gives us hope, or should it not? Pretty please! I will gladly beg!

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