Nick Jonas Ends NYC Mini-Tour with Intimate Brooklyn Gig

Nick Jonas, 2014.
Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images for Free The Children

Nick Jonas performs the hit song 'Jealous' for 20,000 students at We Day at Rogers Arena on Wednesday October 22, 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  

Tucked away in the industrial back room of Rough Trade, an uber-hip record store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is what looks like a small funk band setting up. Twentysomethings clad in J. Crew stand patiently in the crowd, scrolling through Instagram feeds and snapping selfies, trying to bide time. At 9:23 PM, Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” blares out of the speakers. The requisite drunk girl in the front of the crowd starts the cheer as dozens of other women (plus four men) follow. Drums sputter, a few chords strum and the jazzy intro of a darkly dressed blues-ish band comes to a climax. The main man awkwardly struts out to his mic.

And then, the Nick Jonas Experience begins.

Now 22, the sexy, brooding Jonas Brother is trying to distance himself from the good-natured Disney family band that dissolved right around this time last year. Despite his new self-titled solo album’s dramatic, heavily manufactured production, Jonas has infused his live show with a coffee house vibe, including live instrumentals, two back up dancer/singers and a set list carefully chosen to show off his ability to seriously belt, church choir-style.

Clean-shaven with just a hint of post-puberty scruff, Jonas — dressed in an army-green parka, dark washed jeans and a pair of white California-style slip-on’s — yanked the microphone stand towards him and began crooning “Wilderness,” a thumping, quick-paced track. In an attempt to rile up himself and his mostly female crowd, a dulled Jonas blankly remarked that there were no drinks on stage. Soon after, Jonas was handed a bud and slyly asked, “Who here has pre-ordered my album? If you did, I like you better.” He chuckled, then cautiously added, “No, I guess I like you all the same…” So, yes, Jonas’ stage banter could use a little polishing.

Is Nick Jonas The Next Justin?

The good news: Jonas took his jacket off after this brief insert of comic relief, and it was just in time to bust out some Timberlake-inspired hip thrusts, foot swivels and full-body spins for the newly released funk track “Teacher.” After hitting his falsetto notes on “Chains” and “Santa Barbara,” Jonas ended the set as expected with his new Top 40 hit, “Jealous”. But of course it wasn’t without letting the general audience know that yes, even we too were “sexy beautiful.” The reassurance is always appreciated, Nick.