Sunday, January 12, 2014

Live Review - Action Bronson @ Irving Plaza

Action Bronson has been a rising star in the New York rap scene for years. The former chef-turned-emcee has been making a name for himself with his free mixtapes, off-thewall music videos, live shows, and guest appearances on tracks from A$AP Rocky, Chance the Rapper, Prodigy, Mac Miller along with so many others. He has done free shows, has a successful web series on Vice where he eats at some of his favorite restaurants, but most of all, he is a rapper unlike any other. He is a character that can be taken seriously but also a character that shows we all need to just loosen up and have fun.

The Queens native has been an emerging face in New York, but now, it is time for him to launch into the main stream. Bronson has been an independent underground king and has been almost like a mythical creature to his fans. From his crazy on stage antics where he body slammed a fan in Canada, to jumping to the audience at Coachella and having the crowd lift a wheelchair-bound fan in the air to crowd surf. Action Bronson has been one of the most entertaining emcees in hip-hop and after releasing one of last years best albums, Blue Chips 2, with his producing partner Party Supplies, it was time for him to kick-off a new year supporting that mixtape and he did it in grand fashion by selling out two nights at the legendary Irving Plaza.

On Friday night, he had performed for the first time in front of his mother and delivered a set of Blue Chips 2 in full, however, on Saturday, it was a mix of his recent triumphs that were blending into the mix. Arriving on stage at 10:15 to the music of Genesis' "I Can't Dance," and wearing a big black hoodie to fit over his big frame, Bronsolino strutted on stage as if he owned Irving Plaza. Breaking into the first four tracks off Blue Chips 2, Bronson had the crowd engaged and rapping along with his rhymes that feature everything from food to 90's basketball stars to living in Queens to getting laid. It is these lyrics and the energy that he has brought forth over the years that has made him the most talked about rapper to come from Queens since Nas. Throwing in cuts from his 2013 EP SAAB Stories and tracks from the two mixtapes he released in 2012 -- Blue Chips and Rare Chandeliers, Bronson showcased more of his recent work than what he had done in the past. With special guests Party Supplies on stage at times and Meyhem Lauren coming in to give some of his lyrical touches to tracks he appears on, Bronson was overseeing his hard work finally paying off. Swigging from a champaign bottle with bubbles and booze being soaked into his massive beard, drenched in his own sweat and swaying back and forth, at one point he told the crowd, "I fucking love all of you pieces of shit," and the crowd ate it up as he if he served them his favorite dish. With hardly any breaks between tracks, he just went one after another, but by the time of the encore, "Amadu Diablo," it was 11p.m. and time to go. With the only complaint of the night being that the show lasted for under an hour, Bronson showed how he could be the new King of Queens if he plays his cards right.