Ian in Your Ear: Nick Jonas: The Purity Ring is Off!
And the purity ring is off! Yes, Nick Jonas moved the accessory to a neckchain and ably pulled off his first New York City gig with his new band The Administration Thursday at a sold out Beacon Theatre. With older bro Kevin (freshly back from his honeymoon) cheering him on and singing along from the side of the stage along with hundreds of shrieking Jonas Brothers fans, the pop trio's youngest member unleashed his inner John Mayer and Prince for a coincidentally more grown-up sound during the 90-minute set (he even hired the Purple One's drummer!)
While the mood in the crowd was the same as at any big JoBros arena show, onstage Nick was acting all the grownup, complete with a much older backing band and blues-imbued sound plucked in large part from his upcoming solo disc, Who I Am. Jonas strapped on a series of guitars (including an acoustic he showed off as a Christmas gift from his family) and pounded out tracks including the meandering ballad "Olive and an Arrow" (he introduced it with this pearl of wisdom: "love -- the good moments and the not so good moments and the importance of both for a healthy relationship") and the funk jam "State of Emergency," where it was as if Nick was trying to prove he was a far more seasoned pro (something his very apparent 17-year-old voice somewhat betrayed throughout all of the new numbers).
But the screaming hordes of young girls were not disappointed in the least, especially when the Nickster mixed up his brew: There were a few JoBros favorites ("Inseparable," the piano ballad "Black Keys"), a medley of his favorite 2009 hits (Owl City's "Fireflies," "Use Somebody" by the Kings of Leon and his own duet with Miley Cyrus, "Before The Storm") and a less soulful cover of Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" that delighted the 'rents in the room even more than their broods. He also whipped out perhaps the night's most impressive moment, a Princely ballad titled "Stay," that came complete with a soaring falsetto and which he boasted of writing two days before the show while watching QVC.
The squeals never died down, though, even as Jonas ended the show with his debut single and proved overall that, Disney marketing plan or not, the kid's definitely aiming for an impressive future even if he's not all the way there yet.