JORDAN KNIGHT and BRAINS DAVIS at Revival, January 28. Tickets: $25. Attendance: 300. Rating: N Rating: N
I was never one of those girls with New Kids on the Block sheets on my bed. I had my moments - a Tiger Beat poster or three (Joey was my dream boyfriend), a slumber-party Step By Step singalong - but never invested in the kind of rabid fandom NKOTB inspired in most girls my age.
I've always wondered, though, whatever happened to all the prepubescent groupies whose hearts crumbled when the New Kids announced they were breaking up over a decade ago. On Saturday night at Revival , standing among enough shrieking 20- and 30-something girls to clean out the NKOTB linen supply of every K-Mart in Ontario, I got my answer.
The ladies in the house screamed, gyrated and snapped cellphone photos while opener Brains Davis , the formerly MC Brains (remember Oochie Coochie? Didn't think so), implored them to "snap your wrists, move your feet" over top of painfully bland mainstream R&B riffs and dead-in-the-water beats. By the time he leapt onto the bar and started shaking his booty, I was dying for a Jell-O shot.
Sadly, the downward spiral had only just begun. As Brains and his hype man sauntered off, the girls howled "Jordan! Jordan!" for a solid seven minutes until the fallen teen angel appeared, anticlimactically, on the decidedly-not-arena-sized stage.
You'd figure that with a new album to plug - The Fix (Madacy), executive produced by Backstreet Svengali Lou Pearlman , which hit store shelves October 11 - Knight would feel pressure to croon his latest adult contemporary hits. Not so much.
Instead, his DJ spun old-school New Kids record after old-school New Kids record as the man of the hour sputtered out sporadic hooks and choruses while grimacing and attempting to pull off stiff versions of the Running Man and the Roger Rabbit.
That Knight insisted on squeaking in the same watery falsetto that made him famous before his voice changed was bad enough. But when he shouted out a dedication to his man Donnie as the opening strains of the Wahlberg-sung Cover Girl wafted through the air, then settled into a silent, swaying groove while the DJ stopped and started the record, letting the girls in the room fill in on vocals, you couldn't help but feel utterly embarrassed for the man.
When four lucky fans clambered onstage to bust out doe-eyed dance moves alongside their erstwhile idol, and Knight and his entourage urged them to make a display for the dudes in the room (there were a grand total of 10 fellas there, including the bartenders, Brains and his hype man, and Knight and his DJ), I knew he'd hit rock bottom. Worse even than having to watch Brigitte Nielsen and Flavor Flav do the nasty on The Surreal Life 3.