Sometimes keeping the crowd hungry can work in your favor.
Doors for the Action Bronson show opened at 7:00, the exact time most rabid fans showed up in order to get a good spot for the Queens, New York prodigy. 8:00 was the written time for something to start, anything really, as this crowd was hungry for music. But when the house DJ was still spinning up until 10:00, things got ugly and the profanity-laced chants aimed at said DJ sent a singular message: "We want Bronson."
But, like the best drama imaginable, the swerve was in store, as Sacramento's Trash Talk came out and delivered a blazing 25-minute set that very well may have featured 20 songs. Singer/screamer/madman Lee Spielman instantly whipped the crowd into a frenzy, demanding they they disregard the barrier and jump on stage. For the next half-hour, dozens of people accepted the challenge and jumped onto and off of the stage, often flipping, twisting, and diving into the sweaty swarm of a populus. Like a Lucha Libre Royal Rumble, bodies were flying over the top rope all set long, often including Spielman's. He encouraged, nay, demanded that the entire crowd end up on stage and make the security team "earn their pay."
The band is no frills with much skill, ignoring the fact that the cacophony of fuzz and screaming muted out the frenetic guitar work and blistering drums. They recently signed to the Odd Future label and it made sense why ten seconds into the set, as the devil-may-care-and-backflip attitude was exactly the wavelength these onlookers and backflippers were riding on.
After the mess was cleaned up, Spielman pulled from the circle pit he himself created on the floor, and the dozens of stage members all dove back into their imaginary seats, it was time for the main event. Of course, because Action Bronson is who Action Bronson is, a leather couch, a lamp, and a vaporizer soon made their way into the middle of the viewing area. Fans were treated with "Moonlight Sonata" and "Flight of the Bumblebee" between sets, a smart move in place of creating a ton of energy that Bronson would have to cut through.
Production maestro Party Supplies took the stage first, always a sign that this won't be a standard show where the backtrack hits and Bronson spits. Party Supplies is the name for duo Justin Nealis and Sean Mahon, another New York export that has found the perfect chemistry with Bronson, providing both the best and snappiest samples with just the right amount of live guitar work to keep things interesting. Their commitment to the album is nearly as important as the emcee's, but the crowd doesn't roar until the big man hits the stage.
The night before was another show for Bronson, tearing the Echoplex down in Los Angeles with friends like Wiz Khalifa, and Santa Ana had to settle for a set sans special guest superstars. Even worse, Bronson hit the stage leaning on a crutch, as he had broken his foot during the LA performance, but it only took a few beats before he chucked that aluminum tool into the crowd and danced left to right.
The set list was nearly perfect, displaying almost everything from his newest album Blue Chips 2 and choice cuts from the first Blue Chips and his EP Saab Stories. His tempo is brilliant in the moment, never going so fast as to throw the beat off and always in step to hit the next big moment. His rhymes are nearly incomparable, from a lyrical bounty standpoint and because his metaphors combine 90''s WWF and sports references at nearly every turn. The dedication to his hometown, his life's struggles, his family, and his drive are shown off every in paragraph and really create a vibrant energy.
The man has a stage presence bigger than himself, towering over the crowd and constantly slapping hands, riling up the place, and even tossing crowd members back into the fracas. Smoke breaks are often included, especially when the crowd throw joints and blunts the size of banana slugs up to the man in charge. Those in the crowd that tried to create the same effect were quickly escorted out of the building, showing that you need to hit a certain level before you can break the rules.
This show was amazing for two very different reasons, but it all gelled well for a night not to be forgotten. If either act comes your way and you can grab a ticket, do so, just wear a hard hat for Trash Talk and bring some munchies for Action Bronson.