by Kyle Rossini
Queens-based rapper Action Bronson kicked off his newest 20-stop tour in support of his 2018 project White Bronco at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Monday, February 11th. In front of a crowd stretching to the back wall of the venue, the concert started off with fellow Queens rappers and frequent Bronson collaborators, Mayhem and Roc Marciano opening and warming up the audience for the exciting night. Mayhem came out first and, with his combination of immense energy, raw New York City beats, and tight lyricism, sent the crowd into a frantic state. He performed a balanced mix of solo tracks, guest verses, and even took time to preview new tracks at the end to start the buzz around a potential new project. Roc Marciano followed next on his birthday night, which garnered a loud cheer from the crowd. Roc Marciano has had a long and prolific career stretching back to working with the likes of Busta Rhymes and the Wu-Tang Clan. His set was jam-packed, with the rapper performing parts of 14 songs, from a wide range of releases dating back to his 2010 album Marcberg (he performed the single from the album, “Thug’s Prayer,” as the last song of the set).
By the time Bronson came on, the crowd was absolutely ecstatic. The show was Bronson’s first full-length set since the release of White Bronco on November 1st, 2018. As a result, most of the tracks performed off the album were live debuts. Nevertheless, Bronson seemed incredibly comfortable performing the first 9 tracks of the album in sequential order to start off. White Bronco is Action Bronson’s first independently released studio album since his debut in 2011, and the sounds on it are very experimental. Bronson utilizes sounds and blends from multiple genres like jazz, funk, and R&B to create a unique vibe, and throughout his performance of the album, he vocally showcased his approval of the production on it numerous times. Lyrically, Bronson was as sharp as ever, rapping consistently and passionately throughout in his usual high-energy, craze-inducing manner.
On stage, Action was a charismatic and definitive presence. To hype up the crowd between (and sometimes during) songs he would engage in fist-bumping, throwing water in his face, and shouting, while also taking time to reflect on his journey as an artist, entertainer, and author (with numerous fans in attendance waving his cooking book “F**k That’s Delicious”). Action also took time to interact with the fans as well; at one point halfway through the set, he let a set of instrumentals play for 10 minutes while he walked around the stage, signing anything fans threw up to him including shoes, vinyls, and homemade posters of him and his album covers. Action Bronson’s fans are some of the most devoted of any artist out there, and he made sure to return the love and let his appreciation seep through an intense and dense performance.
In addition to his new music, Bronson made sure to deliver on some of his most iconic tracks from albums prior for the devoted fans who had been supportive since the early days. This included the track “Barry Horrowitz” from his debut 2011 album Dr. Lecter and “Pouches of Tuna” off of his 2012 mixtape Blue Chips (which he performed with Roc Marciano, who came back out for the track). In addition, he performed the standout tracks “Terry,” “Actin’ Crazy,” and “Baby Blue” from his acclaimed 2015 album Mr. Wonderful. His last performance of the set was the thrill-inducing, emotional banger “Easy Rider” from Mr. Wonderful, with its ringing and hard-hitting beat. For his encore, Action performed the short but cult favorite track “Amadu Diabo” off of his mixtape Blue Chips 2, as well as a tribute to Biz Markie by singing the chorus to “Just a Friend.” After the show, Bronson thanked the crowd numerous times and promoted his Boston-specific merchandise, in which he stood by the stand after the show for meet-and-greets with fans, keeping up with his persona of being an entertainer who looks to interact and be accessible to those who he entertains.