Joe Jonas, Swizz Beatz
House of Vans
Wednesday, July 6
Better than: Not seeing Joe Jonas at a skate park in Greenpoint?
My companion described the House of Vans as the result of a Brooklyn-wide fever dream about the popular ideal of a “Brooklyn party,” vomited into a warehouse. There were handlebar mustaches, short-shorts worn with ankle boots, and too many hair bows. Throwing Joe Jonas into the mix was walking the fine line of irony—would drinking sponsored booze while watching a member of the Jonas Brothers do his thing be too mainstream of an act, or would watching him perform set ironically complement said beer? The crowd seemed to be split 50-50 on the topic.
When Joe’s band started to take the stage, my friend asked “Is that him, is that Joe Jonas?” about every guy that entered. No, we said in something of a defense, that dude in the horribly retro blazer could not be Joe Jonas—we then had to eat our words when Joe walked on stage in an equally horrible blazer that should have been mothballed 30 years ago.
Joe is embracing “his longtime love of electro-beats” on his forthcoming solo album, according to the Paper cover story that was the impetus for the party. It’s a route previously (if only moderately successfully) taken by ‘NSync’s J.C. Chasez, and last night it involved way too many dancers for a four-song set. What is it like to be a male backing up Joe Jonas? Is this the ideal opportunity for someone who was in an unsuccessful boy band seven years ago? Do you hate wearing the blazers required, or do they complement your own style?
Thanks to the subpar sound system, the songs themselves were a little difficult to distinguish from one another. Jonas entered to “Love Slayer,” an electro-heavy track where he promised to be on his worst behavior and stay up all night—definitely a far cry from the Brothers’ purity-ring past. “Just In Love With You” followed, and so did the first appearance of a lady backup dancer. While his male dancers played double-duty as singers, the female dancers only served to grind up on Joe every so often. They were great dancers, but the stage became a tad overcrowded for an event with less than 300 people in attendance. The set quickly transitioned into “Fast Life,” the title track from his forthcoming album, and the staging and sound briefly evoked Chasez’s bandmate Justin Timberlake. But overall Joe’s more of a JC than a Justin, and that’s not a putdown by any stretch. (Plus, anything is better than being a Kirkpatrick.)
“See No More,” the finale and current single, was the most pop-oriented of the tracks; its video reeks of Enrique, except Joe’s shirt stays on the entire time. In the live performance he did edge a little more risqué, removing his blazer and unveiling of his arms, which the crowd appreciated quite unironically.
Swizz Beatz followed, singing over songs he did and did not produce (LMFAO, really?) while mumbling into the mic unintelligibly. The crowd was clearly more engaged by this hit list, but the heat became unbearable and we fled before the official end, only to stumble into a gaggle of young women who were barely old enough to attend the free-beer-soaked event and were still sticking around waiting for Joe to exit. Or maybe they were looking for an invite to a Bushwick loft party starring Justin Bieber.
Critical bias: Seriously, Schizophrenic, the lone Chasez album to see the light of day, is chronically underappreciated.
Overheard (on Twitter): “Are Joe jonas’ biceps kidding? #notheyareserious”—@ItsLauraTime
Notebook dump: The free ice cream was delicious, but there wasn’t a single drop of water at the venue and beer and ice cream don’t exactly pair well.
I’m Just In Love With You
See No More
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 7, 2011