- Action Bronson on stageAction Bronson performing on stage (Photo by Denisse Hernandez)
- Harry Fraud BluntedHarry Fraud (Photo by Denisse Hernandez)
- Action Bronson Harry FraudBronson and Fraud (Photo by Denisse Hernandez)
- Peter Rosenberg DJingPeter Rosenberg DJs before the show (Photo by Denisse Hernandez)
When the first strains of Action Bronson and Harry Fraud’s “72 Virgins” emerged from the stage at the duo’s release party last night (June 25th) for their recent collaborative EP Saaab Stories, the sold-out crowd at the Noisey Rap Party at Santos Party House in lower Manhattan erupted. Those first lyrics—”Here we are/just us…”—perfectly summed up the feeling of the room, with Bronson there to preside over his adoring fans and soak in the fruits of his successes over the past few years since he’s emerged out of his native New York City. It was the perfect intro to the evening, delivered smoothly over Fraud’s floating production.
But this was an Action Bronson show, a realm where nothing goes exactly as planned, and Bronson quickly cut the track, laughing, and asked to start over. Having taken the stage to the unapologetic sounds of Manfred Mann’s overly-ridiculous 1970s hit “Blinded By The Light,” Bronsolini poured water on his hair, took a hit from his ever-present g-pen, and launched back into the track, kicking off an evening where he and Fraud would run through the whole EP front to back in a typically high-energy display from the Queens rapper and his newly-minted production cohort.
Fraud wasn’t behind the boards for the performance, but rather worked the stage by tossing t-shirts into the crowd, while Bronson took time out after “Triple Backflip” to join him by tossing his standard fare of Bronson-themed g-pens and small bags of weed out for the masses to fight over. Saaab Stories is a tour-de-force for the two, and Bronson treated it as such, putting maximum energy into a room which was unforgivingly hot. “315 the weight, but I’m gonna be 300 [pounds] when I leave here, lookin’ gorgeous,” he said at one point while wiping his face, adding later, “Even the stage is sweating.”
During the opening salvo of the EP’s first single “Strictly 4 My Jeeps,” Bronson—as is his custom these days—traveled out into the crowd, though unlike other performances, instead of rapping the song from the floor, he forgot his mike on stage, leaving the DJ to loop the beat until he made his way back. Always a fan of a capella, he did the second half of “Alligator”—the “jarring” half, as XXL pointed out in our review of the EP earlier this month—with no backing track, and later performed “NaNa,” his track off Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap mixtape, in the same fashion, before closing things down with “The Symbol” and his verse on A$AP Rocky’s “1Train.”
If you could have had a gripe, it would have been that the set was too short. Between his EPs, mixtapes, and one-off singles, Bam Bam has a catalog that’s already heftier than he is. He didn’t throw steaks into the crowd like he did at his now-legendary show last year at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, but the point will always be that with a man as giving to his fans as Bronson, it’s ridiculous for anyone to demand a steak dinner every night. Luckily, his stage show delivers an experience of that luxurious caliber anyway.