Nicholas David at First Avenue, 5/10/13

Categories: Concert Review
Seeing Nicholas David live isn't like watching the man on television. It's infinitely better.

Anyone who followed season three of The Voice can attest to David's astounding showmanship. The tall, bearded, "family man from Minnesota" captivated audiences around the country with his uniquely soulful renditions of classic tunes week after week until he placed third in the competition.

The first sold-out show of a two-night stint at First Avenue was packed to the brim, with hardly any space to move around both upstairs and on the main floor even while David's opener, DJ Heatbox, warmed up the stage, which was filled with plants and prayer flags, Buddha statues and incense. A few minutes before 10 p.m., clad in a gray fedora, brown suit jacket, vest, and orange pants, Nicholas David emerged onstage to whoops and hollers, before bowing at the audience and launching into his first song.

See also:
Nicholas David on life after The Voice and selling out First Avenue
Nicholas David's final performances on The Voice (VIDEOS)

The evening drifted back and forth between cover songs and David's original material, but there was never a dull moment. Energy burst from the man's fingertips whether he jabbed at the ivories or plucked at his guitar, danced behind his keyboards or jammed with the musicians behind him.

It appears David took his Voice coach Cee Lo Green's performance advice to heart, moving fluidly with the beat of each song as a truly great presence. However big the improvements David made on the show looked, they were minimal in comparison to the zeal this man performs with for a packed house. There's something about the intimacy of sharing a room with several hundred people packed and swaying about that can't be captured on studio camera, let alone a television screen broadcast to millions of people.

Liveliness just emanates from the guy when he's onstage, and it's infectious as hell. It's impossible not to get amped during the monumental build up on "Monsters Sleep," bop along with "She's Gone," or feel "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" aching in your heart. (Although it should be noted that it's hard not to feel something when hearing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow.")

Nicholas David and Melanie Martinez
Friday's guest of honor Melanie Martinez came onstage for three solo songs, promoting her summer album in a collared dress and Cruella DeVille-style dichromatic locks. Martinez's most well-known song was her nearly unrecognizable rendition of Britney Spears's "Toxic," which won her lots of fans on The Voice. While her lilting, husky voice does show through on her original material, it feels a lot more natural than on her cover songs. Martinez stayed onstage for a searing duet of Fiona Apple's "Criminal" with David, a repeat of the chemistry-laden version they performed together on The Voice.

Near the end of the set, David announced, "A really good buddy of mine just got into town..." Within moments, his Voice co-competitor Trevin Hunte emerged to an uproar from the audience. Turns out Hunte just had a birthday, and David had everyone sing Saturday night's guest of honor "Happy Birthday" while he blew out candles on a giant cake. While it looked like Hunte might've joined in with David on a song or two (he gravitated toward an open mic when he first came on), Hunte ended up taking a picture of the singing crowd and disappeared backstage.

Location Info


First Avenue

701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music

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