Monday, November 13, 2006

What's up with K-Ci?

When I walked up to Tempo nightclub at about 10 Thursday evening, I was surprised to see there wasn't a line for the free K-Ci (K-Ci & JoJo) show. The lack of people inside the club was even more of a surprise. In the past month, I've been to free Bobby Valentino and Ruben Studdard concerts at Tempo, and both were packed. The line for Valentino’s show stretched down the building. I assumed the same would happen for K-Ci.

After all, K-Ci can actually sing, and he, his brother JoJo Hailey and their group Jodeci are from the Charlotte area. They have a catalog of hits; some have been couples' wedding songs, others are directly responsible for countless babies.

After watching K-Ci climb on his bodyguard's shoulder and walk through the sparse crowd while singing the Bobby Womack classic "If You Think You're Lonely Now," I realized the people who didn't spend their Thursday night at Tempo were way smarter than I. Every time I see K-Ci or his brother perform, I hope the next show will be better than the last, but it never is. During the 25-minute set to promote his long-awaited solo debut "My Book," the rail-thin K-Ci took his shirt off as usual and screeched out the Womack tune, "Freakin' U" and other songs. His voice was ragged.

He sounded better a few hours earlier when I interviewed him after sound check. He was slightly more sober. During the interview, K-Ci talked excitedly about the tour, his solo project, and the even longer-awaited upcoming Jodeci album. He was personable and polite. When his cell phone rang, he answered it, turned it off and apologized profusely for being unprofessional.

A ringing cell phone is the least of K-Ci's worries. If he really wants to be professional, he'll dry out and put on a concert worthy of his talent.