The lights brightened on the 7th Street Entry stage as McNeal emerged with his guitar. It was a warm, sunshine-like glow. It was as though he brought some welcome Texas sun with him. He was joined by “right-hand man” Andre Black on drums. They made the Entry stage home right away.
McNeal’s songs feel like a playlist with which you’d start an early morning road trip. They have soaring guitars and a driving rhythm from Black. The lyrics feel like snapshots of moments that build to something big and memorable.
His stage presence is warm and positive. It’s infectious to watch. The pair have rolled through Minnesota quite a few times and it seems that they’ve got a few key essential locations pinned down to visit. Between songs, he chatted about his time in Minneapolis. Comments about stopping at Electric Fetus were met with whoops and shouts from the crowd.
“We’re going to keep coming back until you change the locks on us. Please don’t do that though!”
“Rumerosa” was a highlight from the set. McNeal’s guitar was melodic with southern character, but driving like a bass. At times it’s hard to remember that it was just two musicians on the stage.
“Run” showed off his lyrical chops for crowd members who may not be as familiar with his work. It’s a song that feels equal parts pop and Americana with the feeling of being downright ready to move on to new adventures in life.
“I tried staying busy
I must have lost my mind
Undone, it wears me out to try
To get rid of temptation to run
So I run”
The set ended with his introspective 2018 single “Change.” It’s one that spotlights McNeal’s soulful side with smooth vocals and a simple message: “don’t be so hard on yourself.” It’s an important message to keep in mind for sure and a really nice note on which to leave Minneapolis until next time.
“Thanks for letting us come back to this beautiful city, and thanks for making it that way”