Action Bronson at Reading Festival

August 27, 2013

A great chunky presence is stood to the side of the stage. Broad chested, generously bearded, and nodding his head along to Manfred Mann’s ‘Blinded By The Light’ as he strolled onto the stage. Suddenly the intro track is cut and Action Bronson is beligerently requesting people raise their “middle fingers in this fucking place”.

They oblige and there’s a bit of bouncing. A murkier second track cools things down a little, but shows off the Queens native’s linguistic dexterity.

A couple of songs in he restarted one after seemingly being unhappy with his first take, only this time he decided to do it on the barrier with the crowd. That’s when it all really kicked off…

That’s cool, man’s getting up in the grill of the crowd. They’re feeling him, he’s feeling them. But just standing on the barrier isn’t enough, he’s got to barrel over it and physically get into the crowd! Surrounded by a swarm of hundreds of bodies, this still isn’t enough. He decides he’s got to wander around outside the tent. Where it all looked a bit like this:

So hectic that we made a typo when uploading it. Passers by joined in, many having no idea what was happening but decided they had to be part of it. Here’s the rabble as Bronson goes back into a tent, bringing with him a larger swarm than he had before. Smart man.

When he eventually made his way back to the stage he rapped a capella for a while and the atmosphere was suddenly electric, just from the infusion of one extra body into the crowd for a couple of minutes. It’s something he frequently does, although we don’t think he usually leaves the venue entirely.

This seemed to light a firework up Bronson’s backside as he was noticeably more pumped up than before. He showed why his liquid flow has earned him the tag of one of the most talked about upcoming names in hip-hop. On top of this, he also referenced pro wrestler Marty Janetty in ‘The Rockers’, wore one of those helicopter hats, and in between songs told the ladies that they all had three seconds to look at his body.

Photo: Sidney Bernstein

Being on one of the smaller stages in the evening isn’t always the easiest task. He was on around the same time as Chase & Status and Jake Bugg, so had to fight tooth and nail for every crowd member. There was plenty of room for more people in the tent, but on this showing they’ll come sooner or later. While it would be outlandish at this stage of his career (and probably unhelpful) to say he’s going to emulate Eminem, he showed similarities to the evening’s headliner that could help him carve a successful path. His rhymes are laced with equal doses of humour and vulgarity, his look is unique, and his style is one that could fit a street vibe as well as being tweaked into something more commercial should the opportunity arise. Expect him to come back, expect a fuller tent next time. He’s only going to get better.

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