"Where's Bronson?" a single voice cries.
Thursday night (August 10) marked the final night that New York City would house the iconic Webster Hall – as it's being closed for renovations – and the jam-packed crowd that had the honor of celebrating this "end of an era" only wanted the man of the hour.
The 8 o'clock start time was void and the weed smokers wanted nothing more than to vibe to the eclectic catalog belonging to the Flushing, New York native. Keeping the crowd busy was Statik Selektah on the wheels of steel, holding it down with a tribute to Prodigy, playing the Mobb Deep emcee's solo classic "Keep It Thoro" as well as the "The Realest" and the Nina Sky-assisted "Hold You Down." New York was in the building.
Opening for Bam Bam was Palm Beach, Florida import Wifisfuneral, performing a string of trap-rooted records, though he truly won the audience's affection with a rendition of the lyrically-laced "JoeBuddenProbablyThinksICantRap."
Following the conclusion of Wifi's set, the venue resumed its playlist, belting out numerous records. "Perfect Pint" simply wasn't enough to settle them down. It doesn't matter what's playing through the grand ballroom's audio setup, the crowd wants Bronson. However, Kendrick Lamar's "These Walls" proved to be vital in holding over the wavy folk.
Donning the wig he made famous in the 2012 Blaxploitation send-up "The Symbol," Action Bronson roared onto the stage to the tune of "The Chairman's Intent," frequently restarting the record to ensure that his hungry crowd received the performance they deserved. The crowd goes wild as the rapping behemoth abuses the cordless microphone in his clutch, ripping through the Blue Chips 7000 single. Bronsolino then treated Webster Hall to several of his gems, including 2015's "Actin' Crazy."
The audience proceeds to almost lose their minds when Bronson introduces Meyhem Lauren to the stage. Mics in hand, the pair perform their Jah Tiger-featuring "Mr. 2 Face."
"It's Blue Chips 7000 season," Bronson says.
Action announces that the next song in his set would appear on his upcoming sophomore album. "Hot Pepper Sauce," as he calls it, is produced by Knxwledge.
He keeps the spirit of Blue Chips alive by performing "Let Me Breathe." The emcee then puts a hold on his set to bask in the ambiance of the venue, remembering that this is the final performance at Webster Hall, he continues to reveal that he is also celebrating the completion of his album, due August 25, and his "Fuck, That's Delicious" cookbook. Bronson also dashes any hopes of seeing his famous friends share the stage with him, explaining to the audience that "The End of an Era" was his show. He directly moves into the crowd-grooving "Shiraz."
When one too many water bottles hits the stage, Bronson proceeds to call out the unruly culprit. Prompted to reveal where he's from, the bottle-thrower says, "Ohio."
"Ohio?" Action asks. "Get the fuck outta here."
Mere seconds later, the voice of Dean Martin echoes through the legendary Webster Hall, stopping everyone in their tracks. "9-24-11" (which samples Martin's "Return to Me") blasts rambunctiously into the night. "I don't even know what's next," Bronson screams into his microphone. Bronson has complete control of the room. And if it wasn't enough, the performance then morphed into a high-octane, one-two punch as "9-24-13" followed.
He cuts the latter record short, opting to perform another Blue Chips 2 cut, "Rolling Thunder," which he admits to avoiding, though he felt the night called for it.
Like Randy Robinson preparing his final "Ram Jam," the Webster Hall audience cheers for "Bronson!" "Easy Rider" cruises the sonic highway that would make the late Dennis Hopper proud. And even though Bronsolino isn't going anywhere, the energy of the audience, for only so briefly, expressed their love for the Flushing native without making a sound.
Action Bronson exits from the stage only to return moments later.
"I broke the guitar we were going to do the intro for... I love you – peace out."
Bronson then departs from the stage once again, only to return just the same.
"Listen to me, we got New York City in the motherfucker."
Action then introduces Westside Gunn and Conway to the stage, displaying his support of the grimy rap duo as well as giving the audience a chance to idolize New York emcees.
The Alchemist - who was on the turntables - then obliges Bronson's request to play a beat, spinning the instrumentals for "Ajax" and Mobb Deep's "The Realest" for Bronson and Conway to kick rhymes over.
After the late show interlude, Action Bronson performs his Tracy Chapman-sampling "Amadu Diablo."
"New York City!" Action screams into his microphone one final time.