Review: Action Bronson makes merry at Skully's

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Five quick thoughts on Action Bronson's show last Friday at Skully's:

(1) Despite his less than gregarious tone during last week's interview, Bronson was all smiles Friday at Skully's. This wasn't so much the joy of creation evidenced on this year's standout Blue Chips mixtape, but rather a stoned amiability that suggested Bronson was ready to hand out hugs to anybody who wanted one. (Alas, nobody asked.)

(2) The man has skills in the studio, but his way with wordplay felt more like a subtle background factor Friday. The show hinged more on crowd interaction and sheer physicality, but not in the call-and-response fashion you'd expect from a Queens native steeped in hardscrabble NYC hip-hop history. Rather, multiple times he climbed off stage and rolled through the crowd, rapping all the while. He even ordered a drink from the bar mid-song. It was an extremely approachable move from an MC who emerged from the all-access world of Twitter, YouTube and Datpiff.

(3) For quite a while Friday,Bronson recited the Blue Chips tracklist note for note, even recreating the false start that kicks off "Pouches of Tuna." Hard to fault a setlist that drew so heavily from such a solid release, but sometimes Bronson seemed to be going through the motions.

(4) Every Bronson article needs its perfunctory mention of his resemblance to Ghostface Killah on the mic, but it's worth noting that on stage at Skully's he owned his persona completely. In the same way that a very different kind of NYC musical act, Interpol, made the leap and transcended the constant Joy Division references a decade ago, Bronson wasa fully formed presence, albeit one that just woke up from a nap. (No really, he had just woken up from a nap.) I wouldn't be surprised to hear free-associative, raspy hedonists compared to Bronson rather than Ghostface over the next few years. Not saying he's surpassed Ghostface, but he might well become the new shorthand for describing that style, especially since his success is bound to inspire clones the same way Interpol did. (You guys hear that last Editors album? Me neither.)

(5) Bronson disappeared into the Skully's balcony at the end of his performance, rapping all the way up the stairs and out of sight. So there was no way to ask him where he was eating during his time in Columbus. If fellow cuisine enthusiast Anthony Bourdain can only find two places in this city worth stopping for a meal, he clearly isn't trying. That's why I propose Bronson gets his own traveling food show in the vein of No Reservations. Who wouldn't watch that? Why hasn't Noisey already produced it? I'm only demanding a 10 percent cut for the idea, guys. Have your people call my people.