“Look it’s Don Cheadle! No, it’s just me, ho.”
Action Bronson, born Ariyan Arslani, is one of a kind. At first glance you might think this overly tattooed, skinhead might have come straight from the cast of American History X. However, rolling up with a crew made up of Meyhem Lauren, Roc Marciano, and various hype men like Big Body Bes, the neo-Nazi comparison simply does not hold up. Minutes into a first encounter with Bronson’s music, the listener will immediately assume his Queens, NY origin and affinity towards comic relief, good food, sports, drug-use, and overall fine living.
The combination of the subjects above, along with heaps of other left-field topics makes Action Bronson’s music immediately intriguing. What’s more, it made buying tickets to his latest concert at Franklin Music Hall (formerly Electric Factory) in Philadelphia a decision with no clear outcome.
Pouring into the two-level venue, the crowd was predominately on the younger side with a few grey-haired Bronson groupies and even some (very drunk) older women. Meyhem Lauren drew first blood, getting the crowd going with his deep, catchy voice and Big Black-esque nature as he sprayed the crowd with his water bottle. He exclaimed, “Water really gets people hype!”
I cannot speak to Lauren’s music, as I really didn’t know any of the songs he played. However, he kept myself and the crowd entertained–flowing over some awesome beats which would set the tone for the tunes that would backup these rappers’ lyrics. Meyhem went out to a song our group knew well (his verse on “Bag of Money”), forcing us to chug our 24oz Yuenglings and rush to the stage.
Unfortunately, there was another act we’d forgotten about: Roc Marciano. To say he looked out of place at a rap concert would be tough at literally any other rap concert. However, his outfit complete with a bottle of Hennessy, an eye-blinding belt, neck-wrenching gold chains, Gucci sweatshirt, and puffy jacket contrasted Meyhem’s all-black outfit and Bronson’s triple XL b-ball shorts and t-shirt. Even more interesting was Marciano’s hype crew he brought with him: a dude wearing a fifty pound Brown Bear jacket that looked like it had been killed earlier in the day, along with possibly his own Dad standing in the background. Roc’s rhymes seemed righteous, however his monotone voice could barely be heard over the loud, bass of some stellar beats. Overall, I was unimpressed.
Finally, Marciano left the stage (not soon enough) and epic, dramatic music began to play. A voice spoke from off stage and if it wasn’t an Action Bronson concert, you coulda swore it was Sting about to enter stage left. The unmistakable neigh of the White Bronco played loudly and the crowd went wild. “I headbutt bitch! I don’t shake hands,” asserted Bronson during his first song, “Dr. Kimble.”
Bam Bam Baklava ran through almost his entire White Bronco album during the show, making the concert less rowdy than anticipated. However, some proper moshing did occur for “Brutal” as a large circle formed and some kids got decked. Bronson’s stage presence stood out from the previous performers. It seemed he really knew how to work the crowd and as a result, there weren’t many dull moments. Surprisingly, Bronsolini even played “Red Dot Music” in memoriam to the late Mac Miller.
As the show went longer and longer, Bronson kept “hitting that broken key on the keyboard,” he said in frustration with his fading, cracking voice. Honestly, I feel like this show would have went another few songs if his voice could have taken it. Instead, he finished with a freakin’ banger: “Amadu Diablo.“
The show was really fun, however what really impressed me about Action Bronson was his patience afterwards. He went to the concession stand where they were selling his paraphernalia. The concert’s star signed shit, dapped up fools, and said what’s up until the last person left the place. It truly is cool for a fan to completely get their money’s worth in that way. Such an experience really brings things full circle and went to show how down to earth the seemingly godlike figure, Action Bronson truly is. Matter o’ fact, myself, Brendan Nolan, and Tom Feraco were able to congratulate him on a sick show and ask about his boogie-boarding habits up in NY. “Yea, I gotta cousin in Rockaway. I’m big into dick draggin,” said Action.
Whatta guy. Check the setlist below and keep sending messages to Baklava and his team–they told us they’d do an interview in Rambler Mag, let’s not let them forget about it (:
- Dr. Kimble
- Irishman Freestyle
- Mt. Etna
- Live From the Moon
- White Bronco
- Prince Charming
- Durag vs. Headband
- Pouches of Tuna
- Red Dot Music
- Actin Crazy
- Baby Blue
- Just a Friend
- Easy Rider
- Amadu Diablo