Concert Review

Action Bronson Debuts Mr. Wonderful, Serves Lunch At SXSW

Action Bronson takes a classicist, no-bullshit approach to hip-hop — verbal wizardry over rock-solid beats with minimal gimmicks — but the man understands how to create a spectacle around his music. Consider the fanfare surrounding Bronson’s new album Mr. Wonderful Thursday at SXSW:

First, the Queens MC invited a handful of journalists to ride around Austin on top of a double-decker bus listening to the record — his own personal #RihannaPlane. Drinks were free, and Bronson generously passed his blunt around the upper deck for those so inclined. Other than occasionally ducking some tree branches, it was extremely chill.

Eventually we pulled up to the food cart area, where Bronson’s mmmpanadas truck was stocked with ample supply of Action Bronson’s Mr. Wonderful Texas Style Poutine, a delightful combination of fingerling potatoes, smoked brisket, cheddar cheese curds, and scallions. Once the throng around the truck lightened up, Bronson made his way around the food truck area handing out free Poutine to cops, a little girl, and a woman headed for medical treatment on an EMS cart. Half an hour into the spectacle, the food kept coming. (I went back for thirds; Fuck, That’s Delicious indeed.)

As for the album: That much-touted Billy Joel sample on track 1 makes for a grand entrance. The song ends with Bronson kicking himself for messing up a lyric: “”I can’t even get this fuckin right, are you kidding me? I’m ashamed of myself.”

Bronson instructed us to think of the interlude between the first and second songs as the Terminator’s entrance to Earth. The Noah “40” Shebib-produced “Actin’ Crazy” sounds extra momentous in the context of the album even though it’s arguably the most low-key selection. The line that stuck with me most: “Now I’m sittin’ in first class with a hard dick/ Listenin’ to German guitar riffs.” Big Can fan, I assume?

Mr. Wonderful is out 3/24 on Vice/Atlantic. Watch a promo “documentary” on Bronson and his adoring fans (read: worshippers) below.

UPDATE: Here’s a video recap of the event: