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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Recap: Action Bronson Concert at Hammerjacks


The following represents the opinion of the student reporter and does not represent the views of Loyola University Maryland, the Greyhound, or Loyola University’s Department of Communication.

The sun was going down behind the old brick building of the Hammerjacks in Baltimore as I waited in line to see the lyrical rap genius Action Bronson last Thursday.

I was surprised to see such a short line in front of the venue, having no idea what to expect when I bought the ticket the night before. After hearing about Bronson’s tour stop 20 minutes away from campus from a radio ad in an Uber, I knew I had to go.

I was pleasantly surprised by how small the outdoor venue was, which was located on Russell Street, crammed between two parking lots. Although it resembled a reconstructed parking lot itself with its gravel entrance and metal gates, the string lights that hung around the stage and concession stands made it feel more like a homey backyard. However, this was definitely not somewhere I had expected Action Bronson to be performing. 

Originally from Queens, N.Y., Ariyan Arslani is often known as anything but that. With an intimidating build, scraggly beard, and bald tattooed head, Bronson goes by the Bronsolino, bambambaklava, Mr. Wonderful, Bam Bam, Ill Prosciutto, or Chef. About an hour after the concert was supposed to start, longtime friend and fellow rapper Meyhem Lauren opened up for Bronson.

While Meyhem is somewhat of a lesser-known artist, he has been associated with Bronson for years, often being a co-star on either of his television shows, “F*** That’s Delicious,” or “Action Bronson Watches Ancient Aliens.” 

Bronson finally joined Meyhem on stage, stopping in the middle of walking on, to beat his chest and let out a roar, quite like a Viking ready for battle. Honestly, that is a perfect way to describe Bronson, a 5’9’’ and around 250-pound, ginger menace. He carries himself with a confidence that can be heard through his music and seen through his lifestyle, devoting himself to everything he does. One would not believe that Bronson is just one man from a simple list of things that he enjoys, so I will prove it to you now. 

He is the loving husband and father of a newborn son, was raised with Muslim tradition and is very spiritual, and goes around the world trying gourmet foods after his years enrolled in culinary school and working as a chef. Bronson curses and says wildly obscene things in his songs that really do not make any sense, has a show where he sits with friends as they smoke and watch Ancient Aliens while trying to decipher mysteries of the universe, and he has dedicated the last few years of his life to losing more than 150 pounds. Bronson keeps his fans updated on social media of his whereabouts, often finding himself in situations where he swings a weighted quad mace while a man playing an ancient flute that was whittled in India sits next to him in his art studio. 

Now I know I have just been listing off things that I know to be true about Bronson. However, I needed to emphasize how he is one of the craziest, most interesting people I have ever known, and that night when he walked on stage wearing New Balances and ankle braces, I was finally able to experience him in the flesh. 

Bronson opened with one of his most popular songs, and a personal favorite, “Dmtri,” and continued his set with about 9 more songs. Most notably, “Czarface,” “Golden Eye,” “Latin Grammys,” “Jaguar,” “Terry,” and “Baby Blue.”

The crowd was much more excited to see Bronson than Meyhem, however, that isn’t saying too much, as the rest of the fans that were still eating their hot dogs and burgers on the wooden picnic tables finally stood up and joined the rest of us. Bronson has such head-nod-worthy and can’t-help-but-to-rap-along songs, sampling beats from famous Jazz and R&B artists like Donny Hathaway, B.B. King, and even Billy Joel. Because of this, and the fact that the audience was at an Action Bronson concert, I had hoped that they would be a little more interested in the concert they came to see, however, some people were not giving the energy I felt Bronson deserved. I could see many people standing with their arms crossed and simply just tapping their feet to some of the most face-melting guitar and saxophone solos that were interlaced in his songs. 

Finally, once he started to play more of his popular songs, some fans got into it, uncrossing their arms and joining the rest of the audience in jumping up and down or shouting the words back to Bronson. 

Right before one of his last songs of the night, Bronson took a knee and emotionally covered his face, shaking his head to the beat of the iconic intro to his song “Easyrider.” The crowd lit up and cheered as he punched his mic into the air, giving off Breakfast Club vibes, and rapped the last song of his set. 

Coming to the close of the song, Bronson shouted well wishes to Baltimore and all of us there and the crowd chanted after him to return to the stage. Just to show how small the venue was, half of the crowd was already gone before Bronson came back to give us an encore to his song “Actin’ Crazy.” 

Overall, I am so glad that I bought the tickets spontaneously and went to the concert. It is such a cool and unexplainable experience when you see an artist that you have always seen on television or heard in your earphones. Bronson was a favorite of my two older siblings and being able to tell them all about it afterward and rub it in a little, made it even better.

I highly recommend the Hammerjacks for any type of concert, it was a laid-back and relaxed venue and I will definitely make an effort to go back. 

If anyone needs a push to try something new and be spontaneous, even if it’s on a weekday, this is it. Go to a random concert, event, movie, whatever it is that you enjoy, and see what kind of places you can find in Baltimore.

Featured Image Courtesy of Rebecca Aurigemma

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Recap: Action Bronson Concert at Hammerjacks