Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Monday, August 25, 2008

    Every once in awhile I get a gig that I know I will truly love. When I found out I would be reviewing a performance from the legendary R&B quartet, En Vogue, at B.B. King Blues Club in New York City—I was ecstatic. Special thanks to the publicity department at B.B. Kings!

    En Vogue is my youth. Taking me back to middle school and high school, when people would try to harmonize in the hallways—they all wanted to be En Vogue or Boyz II Men. Now, they are dropping it like it’s hot in the hallway, forgetting the talent…but I digress.

    The Funky Divas gave an excellent show. It’s funny, I have seen Madonna, Prince, Janet Jackson and other icons live, but there is nothing better than a small venue performance. It takes true vocals, stage presence, and soul to perform when the crowd isn’t being held back by barriers.

    En Vogue set the place on a feminine fire with their drop-dead gorgeous looks (I can’t believe these women are in their early forties and they look better than every girl group that came after them—that includes the haggard Danity Kane and the Pussycat Dolls!), absolutely flawless vocals, and a presence that showed a well-seasoned group who paid their dues.

    As I say in the review I did for the EDGE, En Vogue was a true group—an R&B quartet with no lead. No insult to some of my favorite female groups from rock to R&B, but when there is a lead, all the other girls feel like backup singers. In En Vogue, everyone had a voice, class, and they were equally divas.

    Well, of course Dawn Robinson, the Shannen Doherty of R&B, wasn’t there. Supposedly, she is joining the tour in September. Still, the other girls made up for it, especially Terry Ellis, that southern gal sang like she was on Broadway. I am not sure if anyone knows this, but was Dawn Robinson the strongest vocalist out of the four? To me, they were all fairly equal but considering Dawn left En Vogue, reunited in 2005, left again, and is now back—I’m just wondering if she was the vocal diva for her to be so...let's say...testy.

    My only critique: I was disappointed they didn’t sing “Don’t Go” from the Born to Sing album or “Runaway Love”—those are R&B classics! I still have the cassette to the Runway Love EP! Also, En Vogue performed to tracks, not a live band, considering the opening act (forgot those German girls’ names) had live music, En Vogue should’ve had one.

    Check out my full review for the EDGE. Of course someone already put the video to the show on YouTube. It isn’t the best quality, but it’s worth it to watch them kill “Giving Something He Can Feel” and their #2 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Don't Let Go (Love)".

    En Vogue: Still Funky

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    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 5 comments

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