fredag, oktober 13, 2006

Karaoke Redux

Our host and her devil eyes chat up the audience. In the background, the Killian's Poster Girl cries out, "That's what I'm talkin' about!"

Here we go, Thursday night karaoke at the Sportsman’s Pub:

Jana kicked it off around 10:30 with Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker.” Just lovely. It recalled to me a nice Tuesday night at the Turf Club when the three bands playing agreed to the Benatar Challenge. Each band played one PB tune. It was loads of fun. I don’t recall who won, or which tune they played, but it’s almost unfair to uncork “Heartbreaker.” It’s got power, friends. Excellent early evening tune.

You see, one of the magics in karaoke is its ability to remind you of things you love about songs you probably distance yourself from on a normal day. For example, some of the strangers in the bar added “Jolene,” “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” and “Who Can It Be Now?” (Admittedly, it helps to be drinking. In fact, when one girl went up to sing and issued the caveat, “I haven’t done this in awhile,” Keith shouted, “You tryin’ to quit drinking?” Apt, and appreciated by all there…which makes me wonder if a similar smokescreen governs Dance Revolution.) Maybe you sing along, maybe you stomp or nod. But you hear things in the tunes and think, “Oh, yeah.”

Karaoke is democracy in action. It’s a great equalizer, a fist to the music snobbery within us all.

Jana’s later version of Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son” made me think more of this. I never think to listen to Kansas. I probably won’t. Ever. But when she sings it, I say to myself, “You know, that ain’t a bad song.”

(Why does Kansas make me think of “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” another song I’d ignore were it not for Billy Dankert’s live version from venues like the Terminal Bar?)

The Killian's Poster Girl continues to be a camera whore, but at least she raises a glass for Mike's Johnny Cash.

Our boy Mike was a star this eve. He brought it with a version of “The Highwayman” that reminded me of the Cannanes (one of my favorite favorite bands of the past ten years, so good I give ‘em two favorites), only with greater vocal range and skill; a fine “Devil Went Down to Georgia” (which Flannery assured me, correctly, that he could keep up); and a crowd-pleasing “Gambler.”

Flannery: Thanks for bringing the knitting. You know that always makes me happy in the pub!

Ah. But things weren’t all joy. Jeremiah horrified us not once, not twice, but thrice with ghastly, alcohol-veined, pile-driven renditions of “Joy to the World,” “Uptown Girl” and…I didn’t even write the third one down. I wrote down Keith’s quote when Kym asked if they could leave ahead of the song: “Don’t worry. We can stone him, we can hang him. We have options.” We did, but we didn’t use them.

Jeremiah did wear his kilt, though. That was a plus. He’s a good spirit.

Truly, karaoke needs to be experienced. Don’t hide from it (I’m talking to you, Lollie—HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!, by the way). For example, our boy Tim sang “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” an experiment that revealed how more songs should fade out sooner. Much much sooner. This is diabolically more interesting to learn when you know the people conducting the vocal research! Few things are more awkward than a karaoke singer being hung out to dry by the two-minute repetition of a reluctantly waning chorus. They just want to, they just want to. You get the gist.

Some additional corkers from the PBR-frenzied crowd: “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”, “Yakkity Yak,” “For What It’s Worth,” “Teddy Bear,” and the song that concluded my night, “Superfreak.”

(I did not contribute vocals. I know my skill sets, friends; karaoke ain’t one of them. But I’ll listen.)

Jana, you were a lovely host. Thanks for your patience, the funny commentary, and the sweet version of “Fever.” We appreciate your kindness and energy. Hostin' isn't easy.

And big thanks to Josh and Ben for spending a little time with us all when they have only this week to see one another (at least until Josh catches a flight for some time on the east coast). It’s good to see some of us in the blisskrieg, you know? Yeah, you know.

Happy Friday, all. Off to Wisconsin now for some hot food, autumn colors, sniffling ‘round the firepit, and a couple cold-ass nights on the porch. I adore this time of year. Trip to Duffy’s anyone?
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