Even though the lights were dim, the sold-out crowd knew exactly who was taking the stage once he bellowed, “How you doing?”
With the familiar, booming voice that late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel said could make him “the next Darth Vader,” Minneapolis’ scrawny YouTube sensation Tay Zonday gave his local coming-out performance in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
While not exactly as momentous as the first time “Purple Rain” was sung at the landmark rock club, Zonday’s performance of his bizarre hit “Chocolate Rain” capped an incredible five-month run for the 25-year-old University of Minnesota graduate student.
“This is just another totally unexpected honor,” said Zonday, who’s real name is Adam Bahner.
Tay Zonday, the bespectacled baritone from Minneapolis whose performance of the song ‘Chocolate Rain’ has been seen over 5.5 million times (including 1.5 million views since Friday), has booked his first official live gig since transforming from grad student to YouTube singing sensation.
He’s going to play a hometown show at First Avenue on October 5. He’ll share the bill with two other musicians whose new-found fame can be at least partially linked to “new media” – Pitchfork poster boy Dan Deacon and mash-up maestro Girl Talk. It’s a late show, and Of Montreal are playing earlier that night, in what’s looking to be an epic First Ave double header. Tickets might still be available here.
Girl Talk’s Gregg Gillis gave fans a heads-up MySpace bulletin yesterday:
dear Minneapolis, i’m coming to your city and i wanted to give you a fair
warning to get tickets. there’s going to be a special guest announced
tomorrow that will probably sell a bunch of tickets so i wanted to give
you guys a jump on getting in. i’m not sure of the best way to get
tickets, try contacting the venue, thanks!
As of now, Zonday has only performed twice since catapulting to internet stardom – at a private party in Chicago and on the Jimmy Kimmel show.
According to his MySpace blog:
So people keep contacting me offering to manage tours in California, Florida, New York, France . . . . and it’s like WHOA. I haven’t performed live for two years . . . when I did it was at crappy open mics. My music has basically not left my own apartment and people are wanting to manage shows in Europe.
It isn’t as though there isn’t a local scene in Minneapolis . . . which eventually might be a “first step” in getting my feet wet to the idea of performing live.
But it’s a huge investment of time and effort to rehearse and be on top of a show’s worth of material . . . and for the vast majority of musicians, not that many people are watching their stuff. I know. I’ve been to enough live gigs. It’s nothing to bet the farm on.
I’m not a touring professional ready to hop on a plane and knock down five shows in another region or continent. Someday maybe . . . but one must first walk, then fly.
Of course, there is such a thing as trial by fire. But I’m a realist, not a gambler.
Here’s Zonday on Jimmy Kimmel last week: