The Big Apple stage at Governors Ball (June 3) was the perfect set for rapper Action Bronson. The Queens native takes pride in his hometown like proud parents on graduation day, and that was evident once he cooly yet excitedly took center stage to conduct one of the annual festival’s more memorable performances.
With a blunt in his right hand and the microphone in the other, Bronson painted the scene with his vivid lyrics while The Alchemist provided the hard-knocking instrumentals. “I’m so Queens like a Roy Wilkins t-shirt,” Bronson loudly reiterated, feeling an unseen energy that seemed to travel with concert attendees from all entrances of the RFK Bridge that not only connects back to his borough, but serves as a pathway to The Bronx and Harlem.
With summery tunes like the drop-top melody “Strictly 4 My Jeeps,” the intense head-bop of “Actin Crazy,” and the braggadocious rapping style of “The Don’s Cheek,” Bronson locked the crowd’s attention with every drop of the beat.
Given this momentous occasion, Bronson also brought along his confidants/fellow rappers Big Body Bes and Meyhem Lauren. The crowd was more than delighted once the aforementioned pair surprised them, but it wasn’t until Bronson’s dear friend and world-renowned chef Mario Batali made an appearance and took the mic for a mili-second amidst the crowd’s roars.
“Meet my brother Mario Batali.”
A photo posted by Kyle Gorry (@thegorester) on
Right after Bronson had to dash to JFK airport to catch a flight to Barcelona, Spain for the Primavera Sound Fest, elated attendees trekked across Randall’s Island Park to the Honda Stage where Big Grams prepared to display their genre-bending music. To begin, a DJ echoed the very premise of Big Grams by blending sounds you never thought would work together, like the vocals from the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” over the Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait (The Whisper Song).”
Dubbed “your favorite #FestivalKillers,” Big Grams did just that with their dance-worthy rundown of their feel-good songs from “Fell in the Sun,” “Lights On” and “Run For Your Life.”
You could tell 1/3 of the trio, Sarah Barthel, was more than excited to perform for the swarm of people, stating “I love this song!” whenever another one of their tracks would queue up next in their setlist.
But to show the diversity in their melodies and just how effortless they can blend their sounds with Big Boi holding it down for hip-hop, while Phantogram slays in electronic, the trio performed an impressive mashup of OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson” with Phanto’s “Mouthful of Diamonds.”
Although they’ve performed that blend at other concerts, it was something about hearing that Earthtone III-produced instrumental with Phantogram’s ethereal lyrics that made your ears perk with intrigue. This was my first time seeing Big Grams live, and it’s safe to say that I’m a fan.
Let’s see what day two holds this afternoon.