Opening Act: Party Supplies
Venue: Irving Plaza
Date: January 11, 2014
Following the release of their collaborative mixtape Blue Chips 2, Action Bronson and Party Supplies kicked off their tour with two sold out shows at Irving Plaza. Upon entering the venue, there was an undeniable air of excitement. People love to dance on the grave of New York hip-hop, but there would be none of that this evening. Queens was definitely in the building.
Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg started the night off proper with a set packed full of New York legends: Nas, Mobb Deep, Big Pun, and so on. In the middle of the set, Rosenberg addressed the crowd, saying, A lot of people talk about whos really doing it for New York right now. I think there is a strong case to be made for the man youll see here tonight.
Following Rosenbergs set, New York-based duo Party Supplies took the stage. The combination of Party Supplies and Action Bronson has worked beautifully on the Blue Chips mixtape series, but the bands live act proved to be a hard sell for this crowd full of hip-hop heads.
Vocalist/guitarist Justin Nealis and keyboardist Sean Mahon took the stage, performing indie-pop anthems from their debut record, Tough Love, but the crowd was ready for the headliner. Chants of Bronson began breaking out between songs.
As the anticipation thickened, so did the clouds of smoke. Bronson finally took the stage as the DJ cued up I Cant Dance by Genesis. This kind of kitsch is one of Bronsons most appealing qualities no other rapper could get away with walking on stage to an adult-contemporary record from the early 90s.
The set started off with the opening tracks from Blue Chips 2 in sequence. Bronson isnt much for playing his back catalogue, so most of the evening drew from that mixtape and his recent EP, Saab Stories.
Anyone familiar with Bronsons live show knows that his onstage antics often find him off-stage; surprisingly, however, Bronson spent his entire set onstage Saturday night. Overall, this was a pretty subdued performance from an artist whose reputation has been built on debauchery however, some of that debauchery was front-and-center as Bronson began hurling his signature G Pen vaporizers into the crowd.
Bronsons performance was a testament to the MCs ability to captivate a room without gimmicks. It was just him on stage with a DJ and an occasional appearance from Nealis on guitar. The only guest appearance came from Meyhem Lauren, who rapped his verse from Jackson & Travolta. Noticeably absent was Bronsons usual partner in crime, Big Body Bes. Free Big Body chants would break out sporadically throughout the set.
After winding through crowd pleasers like Contemporary Man and Strictly 4 My Jeeps, the crowd had hit fever pitch. Nealis re-emerged onstage and began playing the opening chords for Amadu Diablo, which lifts the guitar riff from Tracy Chapmans Give Me One Reason. At the end of the song, Bronson said goodnight and walked off stage.
The ending was abrupt, and a little early. It was somewhat disappointing that Bronsons headlining set barely scratched the one-hour mark. This is one major obstacle facing the 5-foot-7-inch, 300-plus pound MC: his endurance.
Yet despite the shows brevity, it was wildly entertaining and felt like a defining moment in the career of a soon-to-be New York hip-hop legend.
Though Action Bronsons place on the totem pole of New York hip-hop is debatable, there is no doubt that Bronson has already locked down the title of Peoples Champ. There is no other rapper out right now who gets the kind of love and adoration that Bronson got from that nights crowd.
Check out a couple of performances from the show:
“It Concerns Me”
“Pepe Lopez, The Don’s Cheek”