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.