On the first Wednesday of every month in White Center, Ivan Terrazas, the man recently deemed Seattle's best KJ, brings his Baby Ketten karaoke show to Company Bar. On a night when my buddy Mochi and I assumed we were going to take it easy, sing a song or two, and be done in an hour, we ended up enjoying one of the most tequila-drenched karaoke missions of the year.
From the moment we arrived at 9:30, I knew we were goners—we walked into a buzzsaw of unavoidable fun. The place was packed with a trendy young crowd and the music was blasting. Within the first five minutes, a good-looking brunette asked me if we'd met before. Mochi and I were expecting a mellow weeknight south of the city limit, but it turned out to be a full-on Capitol Hill–type scene. The bar itself already looks like it belongs on the Hill. It reminded me a lot of Ketten's other once-a-month venue, The Hideout, with its long bar, dim lighting, and artwork covering every wall.
All the other times I've written about the Baby Ketten karaoke experience, I've focused mostly on Terrazas' songbook, which I believe to be second to none. But after the night we just had, it's time to acknowledge the following Terrazas has built for himself. As hip as the venue is, there's no way it gets this kind of action without a top-notch host drawing the singers in.
The knock on Terrazas is that he doesn't have that classic strip-club-announcer's delivery when calling up performers. He's just an easy-going guy, and after taking a closer look at his laid-back style, I realized KJs don't have to have zany shtick to run an energetic karaoke show. Then I thought about the hosts I know who are like that, and it all seems pretty dorky to me now. No wonder karaoke still has the cheesy reputation it does. Terrazas is cool, and his show mirrors his personality.
Most of the singers were seasoned karaoke pros and took full advantage of the obscure selections in the Baby Ketten book—the Smiths, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Flight of the Conchords, and Tina Turner. This dude named Mike sang an awesome rendition of "Given to Fly" by Pearl Jam. Aside from Mochi's awesome offering of Dire Straits' "Tunnel of Love," Mike's was the best male performance of the night. My best number was "Never Surrender" by Corey Hart. Late in the night, Terrazas put himself in the mix and turned in a solid performance "Is There Something I Should Know?" by Duran Duran.
At around 11, a bunch of Rat City Rollergirls took over the place, and this one gal delivered one of the smoothest hip-hop performances I've ever seen: "Doin It" by LL Cool J. It was totally hot and blew me away, much like hook girl LeShaun's lips would if they were affixed to my dong.