The Badd Boys Show Plenty Of Gyrations

Color Me Badd and the Main Attraction in two shows yesterday at the Puyallup Fair.

PUYALLUP - Color Me Badd, the Oklahoma City group that's leading (along with Boyz II Men) a revival of four-part male harmony in rock music, brought its flashy show to the Western Washington Fair yesterday, where it headlined afternoon and evening performances at the grandstand.

It was Kids Day at the Fair, and the majority of CMB's fans fit into that category. But parts of the show - like the hip-thrusting and stage-humping and sexy come-ons - were more geared to adults.

Some parents who brought their kids to the afternoon show sat there with startled looks on their faces when one of the Badd boys was prone on stage doing something that looked like push-ups but wasn't, or when another brought an attractive young woman up from the audience onto and proceeded to evaluate her attributes, starting with her toes.

But most of the show was good, clean fun with lots of fast-paced, sometimes acrobatic choreography, and contemporary R&B that mixed classic Motown harmonies with new jack swing, hip-hop and rap.

All four members of the group showed themselves to be talented vocalists, both as soloists and in three- or four-part harmonies. Bryan Abrams, probably the best known because of his lead vocals on the group's smash hit, "I Wanna Sex You Up," sounded as good as he does on the record, and was the strongest front man. Sam Walters and Mark Calderon displayed talent in their solos and leads and Kevin Thornton contributed low, rumbling bass sounds that gave the vocals a streetwise edge.

The four, backed by a tight seven-piece band, bounded onstage singing their signature tune, "Color Me Badd," and were so active it was hard to believe they were actually singing. But it soon became apparent that they were, as each took turns singing lead while still participating in the complicated, athletic dancing.

The hyperactive opener was followed by "All 4 Love," a slower, Temptations-like number that underscored CMB's Motown influences. It, too, had some fancy dance steps, and allowed each of the singers some solo time.

They seemed tired by the third number, and retreated to stools to sing their current hit, "I Adore Mi Amor," which this week is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The slow, romantic ballad with a Latiny feel was another showcase for the group's impressive vocal talent, especially on the part of Walters.

The rest of the set consisted of more songs from the group's debut album, "C.M.B.," with lots of stage business that had the four coming and going - often at a running pace - giving the impression they were working hard, while giving each member a chance to stop and catch his breath.

All the activity helped pad the set, because the group doesn't really have much material yet. "I Wanna Set You Up" was a long closer to the hour-long performance, and was reprised as an encore.

The young girls who made up the majority of the audience screamed for everything, but were especially loud during the finale, when each of the boys came to the lip of the stage with a bouquet of red roses, and threw them, one by one, to a sea of outstretched hands.

The shows were opened with some fine a cappella singing by the Main Attraction, the popular Northwest vocal group.