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Action Bronson - Echoplex - February 6, 2014

Action Bronson
Action Bronson
Max Bell

Action Bronson and Trash Talk
Echoplex
2/6/14

Action Bronson, a Queens, New York chef turned critically acclaimed rapper, performed at the Echoplex last night.

His verses depict him as a man capable of acrobatic exits from luxury vehicles, catching octopi barehanded, and fixing major sporting events like a modern Meyer Wolfsheim. But his shows can often be even more interesting than his rhymes; the hirsute, 300-plus rapper is known to throw marijuana into the crowd, fight fans and security guards, and rhyme with his mother on his arm, all while sweating profusely. 

Last night fans at a packed Echoplex were treated to much of that and more.

Trash Talk
Trash Talk
Max Bell

Odd Future-affiliated punk band Trash Talk opened up, and things immediately got out of control. The stage was packed not just with band members, but affiliates and fans, and as the group performed their earsplitting riffs and primal screams, people stage-dived into the audience, one after another, often two or three in succession. It was really dangerous - people did flips, or came out with their arms swinging.

Tyler, the Creator and other Odd Future members were among those corkscrewing into the pile, as was Action Bronson, who went down hard and walked with a limp the rest of the night. Trash Talk frontman Lee Spielman got into the audience to lead a circle pit, before later imploring anyone edging away from the mayhem to stop being such babies. Other members of the band climbed the scaffolding.

Action Bronson (left), Meyhem Lauren (right)
Action Bronson (left), Meyhem Lauren (right)
Max Bell

As such, it was a lot for Action Bronson to follow, when it came time for his set. Primarily performing tracks from his latest Blue Chips 2 mixtape, he put on a stripped-down show that was devoid of props or gimmicks. The best part? He had no backing vocal track, rare for a rap show these days.

Over the music of, at times, folks like Peter Gabriel, Tracy Champman, and Phil Collins (we can't say we've ever heard someone rap over "Another Day in Paradise"), he did squats and danced the Pee-Wee Herman. He mimed holding a gun and rapped to his hand as if it clutched a pistol grip.

During his verse on Chance the Rapper's "NaNa," he continued his role as rap's wax smoking Oprah, throwing out what he said was - and what did indeed appear to be - a quarter pound bag of weed to the audience. 

Then there were the special guests...

 

Action Bronson (left), Ab-Soul (right)
Action Bronson (left), Ab-Soul (right)
Max Bell

Wiz Khlaifa, Mac Miller, Ab-Soul and Meyhem Lauren all showed up to rhyme their guest verses from their respective Bronson tracks. Each matched Bronson's energy and showed love.

All in all, a fantastic show, one of the best we've seen. Nevertheless, the volume on Bronson's mic should've been higher. And though "Rolling Thunder" samples doo-wop classic "Tears on My Pillow," playing the entire track momentarily disrupted the flow. 

But Bronson was clearly on his game, and in good spirits, despite his ankle. If he missed a word, we didn't notice, and when he rapped a cappella, the crowd hung on his words.

For his encore Bronson performed "The Symbol," off of the Alchemist-produced mixtape Rare Chandeliers. He shouted out Alchemist, who was also in the crowd; it seemed like everyone was. 

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