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Boyz II Men 

When: Sun., Jan. 18, 8 p.m. 2009
Price: $35-$50

Boyz II Men may have conceived itself, initially, as a new jack swing group in the vein of New Edition or Bell BivDeVoe, but its real forebears were the doo-wop outfits of the '50s and '60s.  Formerly a quintet, the group started at PhiladelphiaHigh School for Creative and Performing Arts, signed to Motown in 1990, and released a spate of top-selling albums. Besides having a toothsome, clean-cut image and lyrics that erred more on the traditional side of romance (these guys were constantly "on bended knee" or offering pedestrian forms of seduction), the singers of Boyz II Men paid attention to the musical qualities of their songs. To this day, frontmen Shawn Stockman and Nathan and Wanya Morris remain superior to most R&B balladeers, with their pliant, melisma-prone vocals and luxuriant harmonies. They might even have some more hits in the pipeline. Boyz II Men perform Sunday, Jan. 18 at Mezzanine (444 Jessie St., San Francisco). 8 p.m., $35-$50. MezzanineSF.com


— Rachel Swan

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