I came to New York City with two goals: get a job and take advantage of all of the opportunities the city has to offer. It took some time (and money,will power, etc.) to accomplish the former, but when that happened it got easier to do the latter. I’ve done some sightseeing, been to some cool bars, walked the Brooklyn Bridge with the UNC crew, hung out with my little sister, and eaten amazing food.
My favorite part so far has been going to concerts. Being a little homesick in my first week here, seeing Guster, one of Massachusetts's finest, helped ease my nerves. Looking to get more in tune with New York music, I went to Brooklyn native Joey Bada$$’s album release show, cheering with thousands of New Yorkers as he became a household name in front of our very eyes. Hell, I even checked off an item off my bucket list when I saw Dropkick Murphy’s the week of St. Patrick’s Day. Each one was cool in its own way, but none could contend with Action Bronson’s show at Rough Trade in Brooklyn this past Saturday afternoon.
As proven by Ethan’s excellent review of Mr. Wonderful and our effort to trade Action bars in our very first Staffchat, Earhole is very high on Bronsoliño. When my good friend and fellow Warner College Rep alum Dick Joseph invited me to the show, I jumped at the chance.
I encourage you to live vicariously through this article, filled to the brim with stories, photos, and videos from my awesome experience at the show. DISCLAIMER: half of these videos were filmed vertically. I got caught up in the moment. Sue me, bro.
WALKING TO ROUGH TRADE
This show was not Action Bronson’s album release show for Mr.Wonderful -- that was at Terminal 5 in Manhattan a few days before when he threw TV’s, video game consoles, and a drunk dude offstage -- but I was just as excited for this one. My walk through Greenpoint (a village in Brooklyn where Rough Trade is located) from the G Train to the venue was only fueling the excitement.
And a wedding!
Nothing gets me more hype than matrimony. This was a very good omen.
OUTSIDE ROUGH TRADE
I got to Rough Trade and stood in line. Grantland’s Rembert Browne wrote last week about the diversity of Action Bronson’s fan base. It was fully on display Saturday: hip-hop heads, hipsters, whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians, Jews, girls, guys, young and old. It tripped me out to hear two high schoolers argue about J.Cole (final consensus: great flow, iffy lyrics) on my left while two college girls complained about having to go to a Seder on my right. It was beautiful.
Shortly after, I realized that I already had a pass and went into Rough Trade without standing in line. Ahh, the perks of being in the music industry!
INSIDE ROUGH TRADE
Rough Trade is a record store that doubles as a venue. As you can see by the photo, it’s huge and made out of pieces of old shipping containers. It’s one of my favorite places in Brooklyn.
I had a half hour to kill inside the record store part of the building so I spent it doing some browsing for cool shit. SPOILER ALERT: I found some!
Rough Trade did its best to put on for NYC whenever possible. Beastie Boys' Ill Communication was playing in the store, followed by unofficial King of New York Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly. Of course LCD Soundsystem was in front of the rock section.
The revolution will not be televised. That being said, the revolution will be photographed.
One side has one of the best and most buzzed about upcoming rappers in the game. The other side has Iggy Azalea.
Who lets Johnny Cash reach the discount section????
Doesn't Al Green look like a creepier Kid Cudi?
So New York it hurts.
This is a record store and they even find a way to put on for a New York artist.
High up on the wishlist. They also had a DIY Speaker Kit, a DIY Instrument Kit, and even a DIY Thirsty Plant Kit that lets you know when your plants need watering. Hipster novelty gifts are my favorite.
May or may not have bowed down to this section. Oddly enough, when I looked up from this section I saw this guy walk in:
That’s right: Mario Batali in the flesh, orange crocs and all! He recently was on Action’s Fuck, That’s Delicious! YouTube show and was hilarious.
He strolled through with a crew about ten deep to the concert hall’s balcony. He remains the only cool person to wear crocs.
Then out of seemingly nowhere, in stepped the man of the hour:
As he walked by me -- toting a Jets cap, trench coat, shorts, and a MASSIVE blunt -- we had this exchange:
Me: “Action, you mind taking a photo with me?”
AB: “OF COURSE. RIP IT UP BROTHER!”
I snap the excellent photo cover photo of this article.
Me: “Hey where’s Big Body [Bes, Bronson’s cousin/hype man] at?”
AB: “LOST IN TRANSLATION. PROLLY ON THE CORNER SOMEWHERE OR SOMETHING…”
End scene. That exchange was like speaking to the messiah, if the messiah was a short, fat rapper who loves cooking.
THE ACTUAL SHOW
Soon after, the doors opened. Since I had a pass before anyone else (if Dick is reading this, you’re my boy!), check out my view:
That’s right. Front and fucking center! I was beyond stoked and once the crowd entered, so were the people around me. Next to we were a bunch of braces-clad high schoolers, smoking and geeking out about the upcoming show. One kid made pot brownies for Action, while another brought baklava. No, this is not a common rap show occurrence but then again Action Bronson isn’t your average rapper. After some cheering for Mario Batali (which he loved, yelling right back at us), the lights went out:
“Brand New Car”
Remember the massive blunt I was telling you guys about? There it is. He eventually got tired of it and passed it off to one of the high schoolers in the front. Seeing how high schoolers are the most obnoxious people about weed, they freaked out.
Action had to end the song early because Big Body Bes wasn’t there. He apologized, but told us that Body no-shows like this all the time. For some reason everyone, myself included, was okay with it.
Bam Bam stopped halfway through to kiss a baby that was watching the show behind the speaker. “I LOVE BABIES, MAN” he said “HAVING THEM AT MY SHOW IS IMPORTANT TO ME.” Again, massive applause. I’m convinced that this dude could read the phone book and people would cheer for it.
My biggest takeaway from the first half of the set was that Bronson, a Queens native, had this crowd completely won over. The video doesn’t show the crowd, but each time I turned around it was absolutely wild. Being a smaller venue, the energy was as electric as it was palpable.
Pot Brownie Interlude into “Baby Blue”
A nice gesture by a high schooler. They can be cool sometimes.
An even better gesture by another high schooler. Bronson’s chirp at Batali made this hilarious, as well as him yelling “HAPPY FUCKING BIRTHDAY” when the kid told him it was his 17th. Just when I start doubting high schoolers, man...
“Only In America”
Only posted part 2 to hear “YOU GOT THE URGE THE SUCK THE COCK OF SERGE IBAKA” whenever I watch this video.
The “Easy Rider” performance above may have been the funniest music moment of my life. At the very end of the song, Bronson stops rapping and a electric guitar solo plays out. He took advantage of this moment and stage dove into the crowd. I want to remind you that this guy is well over 300lbs, and those high schoolers could hold him. I thought he was going to eat shit onto the floor!
Nope, he landed on his feet like fucking cat and walked out of the venue with the whole crowd following him. There was a CD signing immediately following the show, but I left. That ending was all I needed to cap off an unbelievable experience.