Photo By Casey McCabe
On Saturday, February 12, Action Bronson’s NBA Leather tour graced the stages of the Fillmore: Minneapolis. First opening its doors exactly two years prior on February 12, 2020, the Fillmore is one of the newest venues in town, with a unique design and ambience inside the locale. Upon exiting the lobby and entering the main hall I was greeted by four dazzling crystal chandeliers suspended from the ceiling. To my right, an entire wall of the venue was painted with a psychedelic mural from floor to ceiling, utilizing neon glow in the dark paint that burned with fluorescent energy amidst the black lights.
The crowd was docile, and it was easy to move from the back of the venue to the middle of the gathering. As the lights lowered and the show was set to begin we were greeted by The Alchemist; legendary DJ and cast member of the hit Vice show “F*ck That’s Delicious.” As the needle dropped on the first track of the night The Alchemist interacted with the crowd and built up the anticipation for what was to come.
The first act of the night was Boldy James, who is executively produced by The Alchemist. The majority of Boldy’s set was dominated by cuts off of his most recent project, Bo Jackson, which was produced entirely by The Alchemist. “N***s ain’t gang, when they reach for dap I leave em hangin’, know how we rock, piece of cake I beat the case, right back on that gang s**t, I catch an opp hand me the drac I see his face and I rearrange it,” rapped the 39-year-old MC on his track “Double Hockey Sticks.” Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, James has been collaborating with the Alchemist since his debut album in 2013, My 1st Chemistry Set.
After Boldy James kicked off the evening he was quickly followed by Earl Sweatshirt who took the stage second. Playing tracks from across his discography including his newest album, SICK!, Earl offered fans an intimate and nostalgic performance. Although Earl was not the headlining act, his set was by far the longest lasting well over an hour. “Bend we don’t break, we not the bank, we all we got, switch whips relocate way out of state, bada bing bada bam, it’s the puppet master all of the strings in my hand,” stated the 27-year-old lyricist on his popular cut “The Bends.” Earl provided us all with an opportunity to revisit some of his most popular and masterful tracks. A truly breathtaking experience, considering his past battles with depression and loneliness, resulting in the MC stepping out of the limelight for a considerable period of time.
Upon the conclusion of Earl’s set the crowd began to murmur and move with increased anticipation of the headlining act, and that is when the opening notes to the track “Dmtri” by Action Bronson began to fill the air. A melancholy mix of organ funk and classical Mediterranean vibes, the score begins with the sounds of a symphony underpinned by the loud whines of an accordion. As the beat drops out comes Action from behind the curtain belting the chorus, “knock, knock, it out the box Bronson.” The entire crowd began cheering and joyously reciting the first verse in unison with the New York native. “I shoot ninety-five percent from the free throw, sixty from the field, strange sex appeal, the lone gunman, muffle the shotty with an old onion.” Action’s delivery style and stage presence was bombast and energetic, inviting the audience to get in on all of the fun as his set unfolded.
In similar fashion to Earl, Action offered fans a diverse smorgasbord of listening experiences, offering cuts from over the entirety of his discography. “Yo these sixteen bars cost sixteen cars, kiss these balls, b***h we stars, f**k that s**t you ain’t hot like Prince, you got a little shine but not like this,” screamed the crowd in unison to the track “The Chairman’s Intent.” A breakout single from Action’s 2017 album Blue Chips 7000, the crowd appreciated the reference to Minneapolis’s own icon.
As his set drew to a close, Action fell to one knee with his eyes shut, staring up into the heavens as a crescendo of electric guitar and frenzied bass filled the air. Boasting over 29 million listens on Spotify alone, Action’s hit single “Easy Rider” is an absolute classic from his breakout album Mr. Wonderful. A reminder of how far Action has come and the icon he remains, the cut was the perfect way to wrap up the show, a true artistic expose until the end.
With a new tour under his belt and undoubtedly more energy due to his physical fitness transformation, it is a safe bet that Action may have a new project on the way very soon. His last album, Only For Dolphins, was one of a string of four projects to be released once a year back-to-back. With a relentless work ethic, it is a safe bet that with his latest album nearing its second birthday, Action will be back yet again to deliver us a heaping helping of fresh delicious tracks.