Action Bronson Dada Sunday, September 23
In an industry where opulence is the modus operandi, Action Bronson favors a blue-collar sensibility. He prefers Carhatt over Cartier, New Balance over Neiman Marcus, "Giambi Lenses" over Gucci frames. His beard, which looks like an orange Christmas wreath, would put even the most veteran of lumberjacks to shame. Bronson hasn't cashed the advance he received from his recent Vice/Warner Bros. record deal yet. It's somewhere in his '96 BMW 850 Ci.
Raised in Flushing, Queens, Bronson -- real name Arian Asllani -- gave up a career working as a cook for the Mets at CITI Field in exchange for one in the recording booth. In March, Action released a Party Supplies-produced Blue Chips mixtape, a nod to the 1994 cult classic Blue Chips, which catapulted the former chef from obscurity.
On Sunday night, Action Bronson found himself at Club Dada with local favorite Dustin Cavazos and TheInternetTrapGod. Adorned in an all black suit with his top button neatly fastened, Cavazos put on a passionate performance despite the initial turnout. By the second song, patrons had gathered from the dimly lit corners of the room, converging in front of the stage as Cavazos performed "Ups And Downs" with "Bubba" on the bass. Even Tum Tum came out to support Cavazos, who debuted select tracks from his forthcoming In And Out of Sleep album, slated to drop in the coming months.
After a considerable wait following Cavazos' performance, Action Bronson made his way to the stage after an equipment problem was solved by a small army of employees, managers and DJs. As Rico Slice was in the process of introducing Bronson, he took the microphone mid-sentence, commanding his DJ to "just put the rap song on, man." Bronson was apologetic, explaining to the crowd, "I've been back there waiting for over an hour, man. We had a technical problem."
Despite Bronson being visually perturbed, the crowd hung on his every word as he glided effortlessly through "9-24-11" and "Steve Wynn." Perhaps most impressive was his control: He had no hype man, no vocal track playing in the background to "punch in" when he became tired. He had no overzealous DJ yelling in the background. He performed by himself, and rarely missed a beat.
By the third song, Bronson extemporaneously stepped off the stage into the crowd, greeted with a barrage of iPhone flashes. He walked around aimlessly, fans following him like a flock of perplexed sheep, until he made his way to the bar and ordered a drink. Drink in hand, Bronson jumped back on stage to finish the song. "Put the next rap song on, man," he ordered. "I need everyone's hands up."
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Towards the end of his set, back in the crowd once again, he performed the Harry Fraud- produced "Bird On a Wire," featuring viral video meme Riff Raff, which was the highlight of the night. When it came to Riff Raff's verse, Bronson told the crowd, "I want everyone to help me rap my man Riff Raff's verse." The crowd obliged, reciting it line for line in mob-like fashion as they engulfed him in a circle.
As the show came to a close, Bronson promised one more song, stopping inch by inch to take pictures with as many fans as possible. He continued to perform as he was taking pictures, telling one audience member, "Take a picture, kid, you're just hugging me." As he recited his final verse, he stepped backwards towards the door, put down his microphone, and walked out of the front door, leaving the audience standing where they had before the doors to the venue opened.
No one stopped him as he walked down Elm Street into the night. No one knew where he was going and he didn't stop to ask for directions. He had given us everything he had. Although he could have left through a private back door, he chose to leave through the same door his fans used.
Notebook dump: The InternetTrapGod's set was largely uninspired. He spent the majority of his time looking bored, periodically texting on his iPhone. Despite his lack of enthusiasm, he made up for it by playing Jody Highroller's "Lil Mama I'm Sorry," which Tum Tum told me he had never heard before.