André Cymone at 7th St Entry, 3/16/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo By Erik Hess
André Cymone
with American Youth
7th St. Entry, Minneapolis
Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's been 27 years since the release of André Cymone's last solo album, A.C., which featured his R&B hit "The Dance Electric." Last night's CD release for his latest record, The Stone, also served as a celebratory homecoming for the Minneapolis-raised musician. The '80s found Cymone in full-on New Wave mode, but his recent output diverges into primarily rock territory, which was greeted with open ears at a packed Entry show on Sunday night.

See Also: Slideshow: Andrè Cymone at the 7th St Entry, 3/16/14

Openers American Youth initially seemed like a strange choice to open for the former Minneapolis funk maven, but their bar-rock and country western-tinged Americana served to prepare the audience for Cymone's new direction. Commanding a big sound that played better the twangier it got, the five-piece local rock band ran through a solid set that didn't overstay its welcome. 

André Cymone and his backing band took stage shortly afterward to cheers from an audience clearly stoked about his return. Cymone stated in interviews that he's looking at his return to songwriting as a fresh start of sorts, and his set reflected that mindset by sticking almost exclusively to new material. His distinctive style of songwriting is still evident in every track, but the songs are heavy on guitars and drums, and carry more of a rock bombast than a Minneapolis Sound swing.

Photos By Erik Hess
Cymone's singing voice brought a smoothness to every track, which -- coupled with some great guitar playing and onstage swagger -- made for an entertaining and youthful stage show. The intimate space allowed the audience to feel like they could talk directly to André, who would talk back and carry on with plenty of playful banter. It can be risky taking such an extended period off from making music, but Cymone felt at home onstage thanks to a warm and welcoming crowd.

Brandishing a series of different guitars, Cymone switched the style up often enough to bring some nice variety to his songs, but the best moments were songs like "Radio" and "Naked," which felt especially lively ("When I get confused and I need some time to think, I go to the highest hill, or the highest mountain I can find, and I get naked"). The more down-tempo and spacey tracks like "Mary Jane" and "The Horseman" carried a warm Los Angeles vibe that definitely stood out from his '80s output.

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