Andy Mineo is one of those artists who had been an opener for a ton of people, but the Uncomfortable tour is his first headline tour. I had seen Andy twice before, so I knew what to expect. However, this new album was a change for him, so I thought maybe he changed up his live show as well. When I heard his tour would be stopping by St. Andrews Hall in Detroit, I knew I had to go. Especially because of St. Andrews Hall being one of the places Eminem got started. Andy was on a big name stage, and you could tell that he was pretty excited. He referenced the stage’s significance later when joking and saying, “Mom’s spaghetti, Mom’s spaghetti”, in reference to Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself”.
Before Andy hit the stage, SPZRKT opened after the DJ got the crowd pumped. I had known SPZRKT’s name but hadn’t heard much music from him before. The crowd was full of energy, but his set featured mainly light singing and love songs. The energy wasn’t really there, and the everyone seemed to calm down significantly. SPZRKT’s attempts to get people excited again only lasted a few seconds before he began singing again. However, apart from the crowd reaction, it wasn’t a bad set. I was impressed by his vocal ability and talent level, however I think the lack of lighting effects combined with the slow songs took away from the overall experience of his set. SPZRKT was a great artist while he was on stage, but perhaps he wasn’t the right artist to open the show after the DJ got everyone pumped.
One thing SPZRKT did provide was an additional variety to the hip-hop everyone came to see, and Propaganda continued that trend. Prop is an extremely unique artist that is always a nice experience, in concert. His jumping and dancing around on stage got the crowd back into it with songs like “Crimson Cord” as there was finally lighting to complement the performance. He then took time to talk about some of his experiences and struggles relating to his songs/poetry, providing a solid transition into some of his more serious tracks. Again, there wasn’t much turn up, but I was starting to get the feeling that this is the variety they were going for.
After the short intermission Propaganda came back out as the narrator ahead of Andy’s first song. These little poetry intros were added before a good amount of Andy’s songs, and they worked to get people excited before they started, as well as providing an added cinematic feeling to the music. Then they utilized the screens jutting out into the center of the stage as “Uncomfortable” started playing and a video appeared on the screen. The build up began and Andy stormed onto the stage and absolutely killed the opening song! The album in general doesn’t have many turn up tracks, but Andy delivers this new style very well in concert. In classic Andy Mineo fashion, he climbed to the top of the screen display and performed half of the song from there. There was a good mix of serious and fun so it’s amazing to see Andy maturing as both an artist and a performer. He seems to be more comfortable (excuse the pun) doing his own thing and not worrying about what most performers do.
The videos on songs throughout the show really added to the experience as he utilized clips from NYC and elsewhere to emphasize the meaning. The crowd really got excited on “Know That’s Right”, “Rat Race”, “Hear My Heart”, and especially “Desperados”. The excitement was there despite most of those tracks not being crowd going crazy songs. The crowd did get pumped for “Desperados”, which was probably the best song of the new album from a performance aspect. Andy was into it and so were all the fans, as he topped the performance off with a stage dive. His older hits “You Can’t Stop Me” and “Never Land” also really drew in the crowd at the end of the show to leave a good feeling throughout the audience.
The entire show was very different from what I’ve seen from Reach Records before. There was a large variety of styles from the artists between SPZRKT’s almost R&B feel, Propaganda’s hip-hop/spoken-work poetry, and Andy’s classic turn up mixed with the more thoughtful tracks. It was unique and prevented the crowd from being overly exhausted by the end, but I could hear people thinking it was way calmer than they were expecting. Andy Mineo has changed his style as an artist, and that’s an important step. However, the fans might need some time to adjust to this new style. He’s becoming his own performer, and this unique experience definitely showed that. It was a ton of fun, and Andy is definitely on his way to establishing himself as an artist with his own diverse vibe.