Action Bronson – Live at The Independent SF (Review, Photos & Video)

Posted on June 14, 2012 by


We were good but the weed was better.  Last night I went to The Independent in San Francisco to catch Action Bronson perform.  I got there part way through Richie Cunning’s set and weaved through the loosely packed crowd until I had a spot RIGHT in front of the stage.  I don’t know much about Richie but his music was pretty dope and he at least had the people closest to the stage moving.  Hit the jump to see what I got to say about Bronson’s show as well as some exclusive pics!

 Action Bronson came on around 11, with Tommy Mas to run the 1s and 2s, eyes so low that I’m not fully convinced they were even open.  The first thing that he let us know was that he had been smoking all of SF’s finest that day including some specifics (such as wax and goo, neither of which I am explaining here) and he then he began to “sing rap songs” as he likes to put it.   He then sparked another personal joint, took some long drags and passed it to the crowd.  Running through pretty much all of my favorite songs, it became very apparent how real Action Bronson is.  Rarely do rappers admit having difficulties with anything but Bronson reminded us about the physical fitness that was required for him to perform and that it wasn’t easy for someone of his size and his intoxication level.  “This shit is like going to the gym… and I obviously don’t do that much.” Still, he powered through cuts like “Barry Horrowitz”, “Steve Wynn”, “Bag of Money” and “A Simple Man”.

Another joint was lit with the explanation that he “couldn’t possibly be more high than he was but that the joint was purely for show”.  After a few puffs, that too was handed to the front row of the audience.  He hopped off stage and rapped from the crowd; his shorter frame engulfed with people, blocking him from plain view.  When Tommy Mas started playing fan favorite “Hookers at the Point,” AB hesitated but succumbed to crowd pressure.  He then delivered in full force, changing his voice to mimic the personality of whomever was speaking within the song and giving it his all.  After just killing it, he told Tommy to abruptly turn off “Hookers at the Point” and charmingly complained that we had him “doing characters and shit.”

Action Bronson has a strange charisma about him that draws people whether they like it or not.  He is someone who can disgust you without offense, piss you off without angering you, and make negative feelings into neutral ones.  I have never seen a rapper admit to slipping up on his lyrics before yet no one thought anything of it when it took Bronson a few tries to perform “9-24-11”.  I mean, hell, even on the recorded track on Party Supplies, he didn’t get the one take perfectly but the song just sounds dope. It is an impressive track and it was a joy to hear him take it on, bowing humbly to the words that he himself had written, as Tommy ran it back 2 or 3 times for Bronson.

Near the end of the show, Bronson stumbled off stage and announced that Tommy Mas would play some music while he went and “did more drugs”.  1 or 2 minutes later, he returned with a towel on his head and two homies (one with a beer and joint in hand, the other drinking a 1/5 of Hennesy out of the bottle) to perform one final song.  I was a little surprised that it ended as early as it did but in true Action Bronson fashion, I was unable to be disappointed; I could only turn to the guy standing next to me and ask “Man, Action Bronson is just too fucked up today huh?”  We both laughed and walked out, lucky to have seen what we did.

Action Bronson can rap, there is no question about it, but so can a lot of cats.  There is something different about this guy.  Action Bronson’s flaws somehow make him even better, as if he is so good that even the failures are successes.  He is the type of emcee that makes (a perceived non rap fan,) ESPN analyst Scott Van Pelt equally disappointed that he missed the first perfect game in San Francisco Giants history AND an Action Bronson show that he could have attended.

I await eagerly my next opportunity to catch an Action Bronson show.  I’m not gonna miss it!

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