New York City rapper Action Bronson brought a larger-than-life stage presence and buckets of charisma to his Dec. 22 appearance at The Fillmore Silver Spring.
Since his 2011 debut studio album “Dr. Lecter,” Arian Asllani — better known by the stage name Action Bronson — has built a reputation as a quirky misfit with an old-school rap style and an ear for eclectic beats. His Blue Chips 7000 Tour performance at The Fillmore Silver Spring demonstrated his passion for music and colorful personality.
Although Bronson is now known as a rapper, he spent his 20s as a respected fire-flame gourmet chef in New York City and hosted a successful online cooking show dubbed “Action in the Kitchen.” It was only after he broke his leg in the kitchen that Bronson began to focus solely on his passion for music.
Bronson frequently draws on his experience as a chef to add musical flavor to his songs. During the concert, allusions to both gourmet dishes and everyday ingredients were imaginatively interspersed throughout the lyrics.
“At times my only friends in life are drugs and the cannoli,” Bronson chanted. A bold audience member shouted back, “Yummy,” causing the crowd to erupt in laughter.
The Fillmore Silver Spring lacks seating and has preassigned sections for concertgoers, leading to long lines that extend outside the building. However, queuing up is a small price to pay for an intimate concert experience. Standing amid the dim blue lights in the fog-filled room, it is easy to get lost in the music and atmosphere.
Bustling percussions, electric pianos and intoxicating baselines infected the venue. Bronson’s witty lyrics, which alternated between boastful and self-deprecating, paired perfectly with the energetic instrumentals.
Songs such as “Bonzai” and “My Right Lung” intoxicated the crowd with retro, jazzy beats. “La Lune,” which was performed near the middle of the concert, featured Bronson rapping over car service hold music. The song starts off slow, eventually building in tempo and rhythm before cutting out just as it reaches its groove, paving the way for the rest of the lively set.
“Hot Pepper” was accompanied by an onstage performance by Meyhem Lauren, another New York City rapper and a close childhood friend of Bronson. The chemistry was undeniable as Bronson and Lauren raised the intensity through their cohesive verses. Each line built on the other, resulting in a crowd-pleasing finale.
Each song progressively raised the spirit of the dimly-lit venue. “Easy Rider,” a powerful song backed by an invigorating guitar riff, led the audience to sway in unison. Likewise, “Let Me Breathe” resulted in head bobbing and jubilant cheers.
The set cumulated with the performance of “Baby Blue.” As the audience sang and rapped along to Bronson’s iconic hit, a feeling of community washed over the crowd. “Baby Blue” features a melodic chorus paired with a percussion-laced beat. The memorable lyrics, familiar theme of heartbreak and fluid bassline made “Baby Blue” the best performance of the concert.
Bronson is not only a talented musician; he is also an engaging performer. Each song was enhanced by Bronson’s stage presence and subtle confidence. His charming carelessness was especially highlighted when he kicked over a prop of a ladder onstage after a particularly powerful verse. Each interaction he had with the crowd — whether giving a shout out to Washington, D.C., or thanking the audience for coming out — was playful and contributed to a sense of camaraderie.
“Action! Action! Action!” the audience cheered as Bronson departed the stage. Together, everyone stood in the overhead lighting, exhilarated by the music and theatrics they had just witnessed. Action Bronson’s eccentric persona and colorful lyrics left a strong impression on everyone in attendance, binding the crowd together by pure force of charisma.