André Cymone at 7th St Entry, 3/16/14
Photo By Erik Hess
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.
It was too bad there wasn't more attention given to Cymone's early material, which the older crowd likely would've appreciated, but it seemed important to Cymone to make the distinction between the periods. He trotted out his 1982 classic "Kelly's Eyes," from Livin' in the New Wave, as his singular encore, but even then the track took on a rockabilly vibe that set it apart from the synth-heavy original. "Kelly's married somewhere with about four or five kids," he said to preface the song. "She's evolved; I feel the song should evolve too."
It was refreshing to see an audience open-minded enough to trust the artist to work in whatever direction he desires. Cymone's move from funk frontman to behind-the-boards producer after A.C. may have been influenced by Prince's tendency to overshadow other famed Minneapolis artists, but his new work feels entirely his own. There was a good energy in the air and it was clear the people really believed in Cymone as his own entity instead of just someone who spewed out his former hits.
Photos By Erik Hess
His legacy and past music remains unforgettable, but there's something powerful in his reemergence as a straight-ahead rock writer. Along with assistance from an excellent and highly capable band, Cymone owned the stage simply by being comfortable in his own skin and with his new sound. While I might have preferred to have a little bit of the old André Cymone injected in somewhere, it was refreshing to see an artist staging a comeback on the strength of his own convictions and belief in his songwriting. He may have literally and sonically moved away from Minneapolis, but he'll always have a homebase here and he'll always be welcome back.
Personal Bias: I have a preference for Cymone's '80s material, but a respect for why he'd want to switch things up.
The Crowd: A range of older fans packed the place.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Justin Bieber's a brat now, because he started too young!"
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