’N SYNC’s Lance Bass will give NC Pride some star power in Raleigh.
The 33rd annual Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Festival is this weekend, and the former boy bander is set to host the festivities Friday and Saturday at Legends Nightclub Complex in downtown Raleigh.
But you might see Bass elsewhere in downtown Raleigh, too. NC Pride falls the same weekend as Wide Open Bluegrass, which features bluegrass music all over downtown Raleigh as part of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual conference.
Bass, who was one of the biggest pop stars around a decade and a half ago, is a fan.
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“I love bluegrass,” Bass said by phone from California, just a few days before the Tuesday premiere of his new MTV series “90’s House.”
“It and blues are my favorite type of music,” he said. “As a kid in Mississippi, we were definitely into it. I was in different groups, very country and bluesy. But once I joined ’N SYNC, I never got to sing that style again.”
’N SYNC was more than just a boy band. It was one of the biggest musical groups of the ’90s, featuring Bass, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake. The group sold millions of albums, setting records for copies sold in a day and in a week. They epitomized the MTV “TRL” generation, gaining fame at the same time as fellow boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees.
After they went their separate ways, Timberlake went on to a highly successful solo career and gained credibility for his acting.
That seems like long ago for Bass. He came out as gay in 2006, married in 2014 and is known as a gay rights advocate.
But the ’90s aren’t completely in his past. He and singer-actress Christina Milian co-host “90s House,” a competition show in which a dozen millennial housemates spend up to a month in a 1990s-vintage house trying to get by without 21st-century conveniences. The first episode airs Sept. 26.
“Since I’m the host, I get to keep my cellphone,” Bass said with a laugh. “But the kids have to deal with AOL dial-up, no cellphone and all that. It’s an amazing social experiment. And since it’s set in the ’90s, I get to play myself in 1995. I’m overcompensating with pretending I’m straight, wearing awful clothes and doing all the good lingo.”
But in Raleigh, his main order of business will be to represent at NC Pride. As with similar Pride events, marches and festivals across the country, NC Pride is a celebration for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Past NC Pride hosts have included Raleigh native Randy Jones.
“I host a lot of different Pride events around the country,” Bass said. “My job as host is to introduce people. But it’s also to set the tone, keep things upbeat.”
But he may have a chance in Raleigh to get back to his roots. Told about the bluegrass festival, Bass sounded happy about the confluence of events.
“Oh, I might have to sneak away and go see some bluegrass,” he said. “It depends on my hosting duties, if I’ll be able to get away at all. I do really want to check it out.”
What: NC Pride with host Lance Bass of ’N Sync
When: Friday and Saturday nights
Where: Legends Nightclub Complex, 330 W. Hargett St., Raleigh
Info: For details on Legends events, go to legends-club.com/pride. For more on all NC Pride events, go to ncpride.org/pride.