Action Bronson Numbers September 22, 2012
After working hundreds of concerts over the last three years, most of them being rap and hip-hop shows, I feel like if I've seen one rap show, I've seen them all. The rapper arrives late, takes the stage past midnight, gives respect to Pimp C and DJ Screw, smokes a blunt, performs tracks from his mixtape(s), ends the show with his biggest hit, then gets the fuck outta there.
On Saturday night at Numbers (300 Westheimer), Action Bronson did start by arriving late, and end by getting the fuck outta there, but it was his movements in between that will enshrine this show as one of the wildest and best shows of the year.
If you haven't heard about Action, and many of you have not, here's the scoop:
He's white. He's hefty. He's from Queens, N.Y. He used to be a professional chef. His nasal voice reminds us of Ghostface Killah's. Oh, and his beard is magnificent.
Action's rhymes are smooth, witty and metaphorically edible, peppered with food references and seasoned with bite. (Don't worry, those will be the last allusions to food that I will chop into this review). He raps with the same determined yet thoughtful pace as melting glacier on its way to the ocean. You see it coming, so get out of the way or risk getting run over.
When he took the stage, UGK's "Wood Wheel" was playing as his intro. He sparked up a blunt and blazed it up, prompting the crowd to do the same. "We gotta wait for Pimp's verse" he told his DJ.
I just spent 60 G's
On a brand new Eldo-reeze
Black-on-black, drop top 'lac
Northstar fifth wheel on back
"That's my shit right there!"
If there's one thing touring rappers know to do when they arrive in Houston, it's that UGK love will always win over the crowd.
He hit on his track "Pouches of Tuna" from his Blue Chips mixtape. The fans at the club did their homework before the show, because many of them started rapping along as soon as "Been on the honor roll, sculptures of my body out in Nagano" began.
After only two of three songs on the old, rickety Numbers stage, Bronson began strolling through the crowd. He lumbered slowly, eyes closed, blunt in hand. "I'm not like most rappers who just do shit from the stage, I like being with my people" he shouted. He walked all the way to the bar, ordered a drink, then parked himself in the middle of the floor.
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And then, he went out the front door, taking the party with him onto Westheimer. Armed with a wireless mike and a fountain of lyrics, he lead the crowd in a quasi Second Line/Block Party, dodging cars and posing for photos.
He asked a fan to beat-box, and he proceeded to rap a cappella, ending with "Barry Horowitz" and "Bird On a Wire," the latter track featuring the other next big white rapper, the caricature named Riff Raff.
"I'm 320 lbs of beef, rapping like a dog out here! Show some love," he quipped.
With a crazy-ass show like that, you don't even have to ask... you fucking earned it, sir!
Personal Bias: I like fat white rappers better than skinny white rappers. Except Eminem, that guy is untouchable.
The Crowd: Genuinely happy to see Action Bronson. Good call, Lunaface.
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Overheard In the Crowd: "When he said 'I'm gonna take it to the street', I didn't think he meant literally!"
Random Notebook Dump: The last time I had this much fun at Numbers was at the Wu-Tang show two years ago.