Julia Nunes brings her YouTube hits to the Cedar

Categories: Concert Review
julianunes.jpg
Robert Downs
Julia Nunes signs autographs after her show at the Cedar Cultural Center
When 20-year-old Julia Nunes stepped on stage Monday night at the Cedar Cultural Center, she represented what YouTube can do for musicians who choose to build their fan base electronically.

Nunes stopped at the Cedar Cultural Center Monday night as part of her tour for her new CD, I Think You Know, which she is releasing to the Internet on February 2. Since January 14, Nunes has played shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. Monday marked her first appearance in Minneapolis.

She established her original material as the foundation of the show by opening with four of her own songs, the most popular being "Balloons," which has almost 1.4 million YouTube views. Most of her originals are based off of simple open strumming patterns on her acoustic guitar and ukulele, but her voice remained on pitch through the periods of loud singing and talking during and between songs as she joked with the crowd, the majority of whom were women under 30 years old.

Ill admit, it's hard for me not smile during her cover of "Build Me Up Buttercup." which has more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.

Before the show, a woman sitting a few seats over told me she wanted to hear the cover songs that Nunes sang with a ukulele online. In the front row, two teenage girls wore matching homemade t-shirts for Nunes, which on the front read "Jaaaaaaa" -- Nunes's YouTube user name. Behind me, a 20-year-old woman told me her favorite song was one of Nunes's originals.

Later in the show, Nunes threw in some covers, including "All My Loving" by the Beatles and an obnoxiously entertaining rendition "Bye, Bye, Bye" by 'N Sync. She also played her most viewed cover, "Build Me Up Buttercup" by The Foundations.

Her first video went onto YouTube in 2006, and she is now the 27th most subscribed to musician on YouTube, passing in front of pop figures from Kelly Clarkson to Al Yankovic. She enjoyed enough success to land a gig as the opening act for Ben Folds' U.S. Tour in 2008. Her last scheduled January show is in Chicago tonight.
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