DigiTour 2012 Kicks Off at the El Rey
You may have never heard of Dave Days or stumbled across his YouTube channel, but the introduction he gave for his new EP at the first concert of DigiTour 2012 works surprisingly well as a description of many of the fellow YouTube rock stars featured alongside him in the concert.
The tour kicked off Wednesday’s at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles and marked the second annual DigiTour, featuring some of YouTube’s hottest acts including Nice Peter, Wellington feat. Ricky Ficarelli, Alex Goot, Asher Monroe, DeStorm, Dave Days, and The Key of Awesome. They were also joined by guest stars Booboo Stewart (of Twilight fame) and his sister Fivel Stewart.
Many of these performers are young twenty-somethings who started posting videos to YouTube while still in college or high school. Others are seasoned talent with experience in Hollywood or on Broadway, whose internet activities give them a venue to interact directly with fans. Either way, the energy and creativity they put out both on the screen and in person is enough to make you wonder why they haven’t all been snatched up like Justin Bieber.
The idea of a live concert featuring internet stars is a concept novel to this decade and you might wonder what kind of people would attend such a show. Are people who feel comfortable interacting via comment section willing to leave their desktops long enough to come see a good old-fashioned stage performance?
It turns out the answer is yes and that, unlike most concerts which draw only certain demographics, DigiTour draws a crowd as diverse as the internet itself. At Wednesday’s concert eight-year-old kids with their parents stood shoulder to shoulder with hipster-goggled nerds on one side and black gangsta types on the other. Part of the reason for this was the diversity of acts up on stage. Though most of the acts focused on concert-friendly singers backed by rock bands, they also included comedy acts, rap artists, and Britney Spears-style dance groups.
The logistics of getting that many groups synced up and plugged in properly is not without its challenges and the early acts had to wrangle with lighting issues and dead mics before the show could find its stride. Nice Peter, known for his viral “Epic Rap Battles of History” was particularly cavalier, having come to the YouTube world after working the standup and improv comedy scene in Chicago. “We don’t need it!” he declared when his keyboardist’s pedal wouldn’t work. “We can do this without it!”
Considering his fame is already set in internet stone, he actually has a pretty good point. Live performance has historically led to record deals and subsequent radio airtime, but these artists are bucking that trend, finding their audience via Twitter and Facebook then stepping back to play concerts as an after thought. That is not to say live concerts don’t have value; it is still the best way to get the attention of record companies with enough power to transition a musician from YouTube star to mega star.
DigiTour is set to play 18 more shows across the US, if you’d like the opportunity to come out and meet some of these guys in person. Imagine if you’d had the chance to meet Justin Bieber before he was Justin Bieber—after all he was once a YouTube star as well.
* * *
Partial Set List
- NicePeter and Friends
- Picture song
- Sunflower Song
- Superman Socks
- (keyboard peddle breaks) – ‘we don’t need it!’
- ERB – Lennon, Vader, Beethovan, (EpicLloyd) Hawkins/Einstein, Lincoln/Norris
Wellington feat. Ricky Ficarelli
- Perfect Strangers
- One More Time
- California Girls (Katy Perry cover)
- Pretty Eyes
- Katy Perry medley
- Like I Do
- Hello Baby (You are the Only One For Me)
- Only Imagine
- Every Night
- Love Signs
- Rapping Movie Titles
- Finally Free
- Random Topic
- Alive and Ready to Die
- First Kiss
- We’re Just Kids
- My Last Song For Miley Cyrus
Booboo and Fivel
- Cover of “Toxic” (Britney Spears)
- Heart on Fire