Nick Jonas Debuts His New Rock Band Live

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Nick Jonas / Photo by Dylan Hollingsworth
WRITTEN BY
Pete Freedman

If the gaudy, flashing marquee announcing the show wasn't enough, the packs of screaming teenage girls outside emphasized the news: Yes, there were Jonases inside Dallas' House of Blues.

Seventeen-year-old Nick, the youngest member of the Jonas Brothers and the band's creative force, was debuting his side project, Nick Jonas & The Administration.

Named for Nick's fascination with the presidency, his roots-oriented outfit has some impressive members: alongside John Fields, the producer for the band's upcoming full-length, Who I Am, are three players who were all original members of Prince's New Power Generation.

So, sure, there was some excitement about the affair -- all kinds, actually. Like when Nick smiled. Or when he waved. Or, like, when, oh my God, none of us could really see, but this girl over there swore she saw Joe and Kevin walking around and that's why everyone's head was turned.

Coming across like a young John Mayer, Jonas' songs were crisp and a little brooding. As advertised, this was a rock show, filled with more musicianship than spectacle.

The band blended soulful funk and blues-rock grooves into an overall pop-rock sound, complementing Jonas' introspective lyrics about love.

Opening song "Rose Garden" featured Jonny Lang-like blues flares over its Springsteen backbeat.

"State of Emergency" sounded like an early Stevie Wonder cut, with its R&B riffs and Jamiroquai-like falsetto hook: "Satisfy yourself, but not for me / Don't you let it be / A state of emergency."

The night's highlight, "Last Time Around," led with a bouncing blues groove, asNick sang about seducing a potential new flame who, it turns out, is actually an old one: "I break the ice and ask what your name is / Then I recall that we already did this....You've grown familiar with another in town / Don't forget about the fun that we had last time around." Alas, little of it was heard beneath the deafening screams.

A few JoBros tracks ("Inseparable," "A Little Bit Longer") helped stir up the crowd. So, too, did some choice covers -- Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody," Owl City's "Fireflies," and Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours."

Aside from a few vocal stretches just beyond his reach, Nick made a confident, capable first showing as an all-out frontman.

Of course, whether the majority of fans in the House of Blues truly appreciated what they'd just seen for what it was -- an enjoyable enough, but hardly life-changing performance -- is hard to say. To be fair, though, it's tough to notice everything when you're screaming the whole time.

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