CONCERT REVIEW – “Bam Bam” leaves fans begging for more.
By Zaida Diaz, Valley Life Editor
Fanboys, cannabis, and the lovely Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles on an April Wednesday night made perfect conditions for a Bronson sighting.
In May 2014 the Queens, N.Y. native revealed the title of his major label debut via Twitter: “My album been named. The only thing to describe me . . . Mr. Wonderful. That’s been me since I stepped in this b——-.” Bronson dropped the album on March 23 and embarked on his worldwide tour early this month; the wonderfulness will end on Oct. 3 in Oslo, Norway.
Back at Belasco, rapper Meyhem Lauren warmed up for Bronsalino (one of Bronson’s many nicknames). Regrettably for Lauren, there were times when you couldn’t quite understand what he said. This was partly due to how fast he was spitting and partly because of the loud bass that occasionally overpowered his voice. While there were some audience members bobbing their heads to his flows, the majority seemed only interested in what was to come.
Little did they know that it would take a whole hour before prolific DJ, Alchemist, could hop on stage due to technical issues. The anticipation kept building . . . and building. Fifteen minutes into mixing and Alchemist asked fans to make some noise for Mr. Wonderful himself.
Sure enough, out came the 290-pound, red-bearded rapper, wearing an emerald green jacket and hat, red T-shirt, and of course, his staple New Balance sneakers. The Bronson mania ensued: audience members put their hands up, many with their cellphones ready to record. They shouted as the self-assured MC placed his hand next to his ear. The mayhem grew and shortly after began the upbeat piano from “Brand New Car” – what he proclaims is the introduction to everything (so it only made sense he begin his set with the track). He told Complex Magazine that the song let everyone know that their savior was here: “Batman is here. Gotham is safer now.”
Bronson’s stage presence is compelling. In between rapping his smooth-tongued verses, he opened water bottles with his mouth and proceeded to dump them on his sweaty head. Bronsalino resembled a rock star when he’d stomp on stage and shake his auburn mane. Guest Big Body Bes joined him on stage to perform “The Rising” for 400-plus pounds of rap-ture and later Lauren joined the duo for “Falconry.”
Mr. Baklava performed most of his new album, including the trivial breakup single “Baby Blue.” It was “Actin Crazy,” however, that received the most energy from fans (following the title’s serving suggestion). The smell of cannabis filled the air, while people began jumping around to the Noah “40” Shebib produced–beat.
To close, Bronson looked out to the crowd of devotees and put his fist in the air to cue the fantastic Curt Chambers guitar riff from “Easy Rider.” Fans mirrored the gesture and began rapping along: “Praise the lord, I was born to drive boat/Feeling like Slash in front of the chapel/I’m leaned back with the Les Paul.”
Unfortunately for fans, Bam Bam’s set only lasted about an hour. As he exited the stage they chanted, “Bronson! Bronson! Bronson!” Some people stayed a few moments hoping that he would return to perform another banger; they were out of luck.
Even so, the evening was an unforgettable one; from watching Bronsalino smoke a fat spliff, to shoving a fan off stage, to him giving away a newly packaged barbecue pit to an eager crowd.
Mr. Wonderful delivered one hell of a show.