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Concert Preview: Andy Mineo

November 4, 2015

written by Brian Shesko

On Friday, November 6, 2015, Student Activities is thrilled to welcome Andy Mineo back to Liberty on the Uncomfortable Tour, with special guest JGivens and narrated by Propaganda, starting at 8 p.m. in the TRBC Auditorium.

This will be Andy Mineo’s third concert event with Student Activities, and his performances remain some of the most exciting we have ever had. We certainly appreciate him, but we feel like everyone can always be a little more thankful for Andy. Of course, we should be thankful for all of the top representatives of holy hip hop. But with his latest release, Uncomfortable, Andy should get an extra handshake or a gift card or a gramophone-shaped trophy or something. But even if he doesn’t win any awards, his album should have direct and lasting effect on the way hip-hop artists, Christian ones especially, approach their creative efforts. In the first place, Uncomfortable serves as a reminder of Christian hip-hop’s place in popular music: the uncomfortable, anomalous middle. Lecrae lamented this for everyone with his last album, and Andy talked about it on Sway in the Morning (starting approx. 20:20) – for somewhat obvious yet different reasons, mainstream and Christian radio outlets are reluctant to embrace Christian hip-hop. Yet, the charts, album sales, and even the most recent Dove Awards hopefully show a changing tide in that regard. Second, Uncomfortable is another offering in the trend towards the importance of creating an album, not just a bunch of songs. Rock heads should love the fact that Andy was inspired by what he calls “psychedelic rock” on the new album, an influence one can hear in both sound and structure. Listen to the track “Strange Motions (ft. Willow Stephens)” and you can almost hear Pink Floyd trying to break through; the only problem with this song is that it’s just a little over 2 minutes long, so maybe he should have pulled a little more, prog/psychedelic rock influence in. Beyond that, the album does stick closely to the basic idea of the title: the album will certainly cause some discomfort, lyrically speaking, as Andy does not shy away from some serious topics. At least one reviewer sees this as a negative for the album, asking essentially, “Where’s the fun?” But as Andy has said repeatedly, Uncomfortable is meant to be an embrace of difficult questions as well as an honest introspection, equal parts confrontation and confession. “Now I Know” is Andy taking stock of where he came from in terms of early life influence. The title track pulls no punches in its address of social ills, paralleling it with American obsession with ease and comfort. “Vendetta” offers a challenge to political structures. “Hear My Heart” is an apology to his older sister, who was born deaf, for his having never learned sign language. Uncomfortable calls to mind two, fairly well-known pieces of sociology. The first is Neil Postman’s explanation of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World – in short, people will be controlled, not by pain or fear, but by pleasure, slowly consumed by ease and trivialities. The second is G.K. Chesterton’s famous response to a newspaper’s question, “What’s wrong with the world?” He replied, “I am.”

Sadly, Mali Music was a late scratch from the tour, so you will not be treated to a live performance of the excellent track “Desperados”. Happily, though, you will get JGivens instead. Be sure to check out all of JGivens’ music, but especially go watch the video for his song “10, 2 Get In” in all its 360 degree glory. Last but not least, the tour has Propaganda as its narrator. This is another show we cannot wait for, and we think you need to be there. Tickets are still on sale, so get to our website and get them while they last. It’s the Uncomfortable Tour featuring Andy Mineo, thanks to your friends at Student Activities.