By DAVID KLEINMAN
For 21st Century Media
After months of seemingly endless rehearsals it’s clear there’s only one way for three ladies to blow off some steam the night before the start of a national tour.
“There’s a lot of liquor,” singer Aubrey O’Day laughed. “We’re hoping to have fun, the nerves are definitely kicking in. It’s the calm before the storm.”
Thirteen cities in 20 days. That’s the storm looming ahead for the members of Danity Kane as they prepare to embark on their No Filter Tour, a nod to the lens that first gave the girl group their start.
Long before the genre of music competition was saturated with efforts from nearly every television network Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs was “Making the Band” on MTV, grouping together relative unknowns and managing their careers every step of the way.
After achieving less-than-stellar success with prior groups O-Town and Da Band Combs joined together five women — O’Day, Shannon Bex, Aundrea Fimbres, Dawn Richard and Wanita “D. Woods” Woodgett — to form Danity Kane, a quintet of artists who’s musical backgrounds, ranging from dance pop to hip hop, are as diversified as the women themselves.
“It sounds like it would never make sense but it does make sense in the studio,” said 34-year-old Bex, who’s roots lie in country music and Latin pop. “The different elements our voices bring and all of the things that we’ve listened to serve as inspiration for us. When you put them together, that’s awesome.”
Reminiscent of fellow Millennial girl group The Pussycat Dolls’ bass-heavy beats, sultry lyrics and barely-there on-stage attire Danity Kane struck a chord with the show’s demographic, debuting their 2006 eponymous release and 2008’s follow-up “Welcome to the Dollhouse” at the coveted #1 spot on the Billboard charts.
It’s been eight years since Danity Kane last graced a Philadelphia stage, entertaining audiences with their biggest hits “Show Stopper” and “Damaged” before The Black Eyed Peas and Christina Aguilera’s headlining performances at the Wells Fargo Center.
“We were kind of getting (our) feet wet as a touring group,” Richard said of their first times on the road. “We were kind of figuring out the ropes and understanding not only how to be on the stage but how to translate to the stage for the fans and do it on a very low budget.”
After the group’s own headlining efforts in 2008 failed to generate significant buzz O’Day and D. Woods began to explore other avenues beyond the Danity Kane name and the group went belly-up a year later.
The women pursued individual careers for five years with varying results, with standout O’Day most notably making it to the final three on “Celebrity Apprentice.” Even still, none of the women could replicate solo success in the vain of Danity Kane and social media speculation of a reunion ran rampant.
“It was taken away from us,” Richard explained. “There’s sort of a moment of reality of ‘Why don’t we take it back and not let someone else write the ending of this story?’ ”
The takeaway moment of last year’s MTV Video Music Awards may have undoubtedly been Miley Cyrus’s oh-so-scandalous twerking on a married Robin Thicke but it was a more composed scene hours prior on the award show’s red carpet that had tongues wagging for all the right reasons.
Minus D. Woods, four of the members of Danity Kane posed together to announce their third CD release and a nationwide tour, which includes a stop at the Theater of the Living Arts on June 1.
“It was a really surreal feeling, to stand on the red carpet with each other hand in hand,” Bex said. “The fact that we had been away from each other for the last 5-6 years and there we were, not just on the red carpet but MTV, the VMAs, ya know? It felt really right.”
The women have spent the year since their announcement hard at work on the comeback album and tour, recently releasing the first single, “Lemonade”, from their yet-to-be-named new album. The cover art for the song depicted only three ladies and it was soon announced that the quartet, once a quintet, was now a trio with the departure of Fimbress.
There’s even more surprises in store for the women of Danity Kane and their fans but one thing is for certain when it comes down to their headlining premiere in Philadelphia.
“There will definitely be hangovers but we’ll still be amazing,” O’Day promised.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Danity Kane
WHEN: Sunday, June 1, 8 p.m.
WHERE: Theater of the Living Arts, 334 South St, Philadelphia
TICKETS: $42.50, with discounts for groups.
INFO.: Call (215) 922-1011 or visit www.tlaphilly.com.
CONNECT: On Twiiter @DanityKane