It was a mash up of comedy-meets-melody at its best as Korean-American YouTube sensation, David Choi took the stage on an intimate weekday night on Jun 21 at the Esplanade Recital Studio.
Even in a dimly-lit setting reminiscent of his first gig at Timbre @ The Substation last year, it was clear that David had amassed a greater crowd of youths and middle-aged fans as a tame group of 245 people huddled together in the style of a high school campfire, much like an informal session of feel-good sing-along.
As the spotlights dimmed and found their mark on 2 lone Taylor acoustics guitars with a hollow, wooden box as a table to fit 2 stripped bottles of mineral bottles, the humble gig was about to begin. A shimmer of movement was faintly spotted beneath the curtains of the studio, as a pixie-like figure in a little black dress emerged and made her way inconspicuously towards the spotlight in the middle.
The Sweet Appetizer
Inch Chua, the opening act for David, carefully sat down and hid shyly behind her guitar. It was an interesting sight to behold as the petite beauty rocked a pair of rainbow-coloured shoes.
The moment she took the stage, the audience was treated to a crisp, angelic voice that felt almost surreal. With a solid 3-song repertoire, Inch displayed impressive fret-board work with slides and syncopated rhythms on the guitar that marked her as a skilled singer-songwriter. The raven-haired beauty also showed off sweet jazzy dimensions to her voice, while her effortless falsetto and high register were comparable to that of a young Cyndi Lauper.
Every Inch the sweet appetizer, the audience was hyped up for the main course, the multi-talented Youtube sensation, David Choi.
The comical crooner wasted no time and got straight down to teasing the audience with his jocular ways, as he joked, “I ran all the way here from the United States!” while lacing the end of most of his sentences with the Singaporean colloquialism “la”, sending the crowd erupting in bouts of laughter.
Kicking right into high gear, David paid tribute and showed his love for the channel that brought him his fame with the opening number, YouTube (A Love Song), which had garnered close to 3 million views on YouTube. With lyrics like “I like the founders, some Asian and some White dude, but more than you, I love YouTube,” and “YouTube, will you make passionate love to me,” no wonder the crowd was cackling in their seats.
David continued to entertain the crowd even as he questioned the naked bottle of water in his hands, where the label had been removed due to advertising issues. “They took the label off because they said it’s free advertisement. Well I don’t care!”
The funny man then proceeded with a Hall of Fame-like induction of the various brands that he saw around him, paying tribute to the brands of microphones, water bottle and even expressed mock regret that he didn’t know the name of the manufacturer of the wood for the table, which sent the audience guffawing.
The audience was also pleasantly surprised by an overly giggly David, who couldn’t seem to control his laughter during an emotional rendition of his song, ‘So Weightless’, off his sophomore album, By My Side. The sudden cheesy red and blue spotlights from the default fluorescent house lights felt particularly contrived and overwhelming as Choi made 2 failed attempts to stifle his laughter from the corny moment, and eventually had to restart his entire song.
A Twitter Frenzy
What added to the intimate touch of the gig was when the comedic 25-year-old decided to whip out his trusty iPad 2 to start a frenzy on Twitter, compelling the audience to tweet to his Twitter account to win autographed album booklets.
“I always knew David was funny by watching his YouTube videos, but I never knew he was this funny!” remarked 17-year-old Krisha Balakrishnan, an avid fan who won herself an autographed copy of David’s By My Side album leaflet.
The David Choi Dance Dance-Off
The night truly started to heat up when David called on 3 males and 3 females from the crowd to compete for autographed prizes by having the signature “David Choi Dance Dance-Off” (which is best popularized in Ryan Higa’s YouTube Video, Best Crew – The Audition video). It comprises of a simple dance move created by David Choi in his YouTube videos, which requires you to have a blank expression and do a sort of lackluster side-swaying action with your hands. That was when the audience started to let their hair down, and the closeted fan girls started to unleash their screaming prowess.
The musical side of David
One of the main highlights of the night was when David treated the crowd with a worthy single, “You Were My Friend”, which will be featured on his third album. The song, as David explained, was about a friend who left him after finding a girlfriend, and presents a refreshing perspective of a man’s view when his buddy leaves him for a girl.
A particularly saccharine feeling was left in the audience’s mouths when David completed the last stanza of the song by imitating the buzzing sound of muted trumpets, giving him a shine to his reputation as a singer-songwriter, which also showcases how David is pushing the boundaries for his musical sense in his third album.
“I really enjoyed how David switched things up with the song. Trumpets? Didn’t expect him to imitate that instrument at all! He’s such a talented musician who knows exactly how his voice works,” said one of his fans, 17-year-old Republic Polytechnic student, Nurul Nabilah Bte Sukimi.