Photo courtesy of Action Bronson
Well, he didn’t come out with half a face and a cape, but Action Bronson’s Thursday performance at A&R Bar was no less theatrical because of it (more on that later). So basically Action was just being Action. Here are a few things I loved about it.
Columbus showed up
That Action performed to a sold-out crowd at A&R Bar doesn’t sound impressive considering he played the House of Blues in Cleveland the day before. But I was still proud of my city for showing up hungry on a night when it would have been appealing to stay home (I seriously thought I was gonna have to amputate). Or attend any number of other goings-on, like the Blue Jackets game, Buckeyes basketball or, even, the show right below Action’s (The David Mayfield Parade at The Basement). Most importantly, the crowd was completely engaged — belting out verses, pausing perfectly during breaks and going all in when the beat dropped. That’s especially laudable given how high everyone was. If you weren’t smoking something of your own, it didn’t matter anyway.
Action messing with the crowd
During our interview, Bambam told me his major label debut (due out this year) would be straight conscious rap. Then he paused, snickered, and said, “Nah, I’m just fucking with you.” This sense of playfulness was evident throughout the set, but I most enjoyed Action singing Billy Joel (he's apparently a huge fan, having recently told MTV he'd love to collaborate and cited "For the Longest Time" as his favorite Joel cut) and letting “Tears On My Pillow” play at length while a roomful of mostly white dudes swayed along awkwardly. Maybe, as he’s said in interviews, he’s simply a fan of all music, but I took it as another example of Action doing something simply because it amused him.
Action the Entertainer
I mentioned above that Bronsonlino’s performance was theatrical, but that wasn’t to imply the show felt like something you might find at Ohio Theatre. There were no dramatic light effects, stage productions or anything of the sort. While he didn't body slam a misbehaving fan, he did steal some dude’s joint (and smoked it, of course). He also left the stage and rapped among the masses (with near-perfect breath control and clarity), while snaking a line all over the joint (pun maybe intended, I can’t tell anymore). He sang almost an entire Billy Joel song (or, hell, maybe he did the whole thing, I can’t remember). Rapped a capella. Rapped over “Tequila.” Rapped with precision and clarity and charisma, and the list goes on … It was a blast, basically, and I'm really bummed for you if you missed it.