This is the latest weekly (every Wednesday!) dispatch culled from a series of karaoke excursions by Karaoke Jeff Roman (aka "KJR"). Read it and weep--with laughter.
If you live in or around Ballard and are looking for fun times on a Saturday night, you should totally hit up the Waterwheel. It's an all-out party. Even if you aren't into karaoke, the scene is so alive and energetic you'd have to be a complete pantywaist not to get caught up in the excitement of it all. I had one of those great nights where the $2.50 PBR tallboys went down like Nesteas, every performer was awesome, and the crowd hooted & hollered for every number.
When I got there at 9:30, it was already packed--but I was able to score a prime spot at the end of the bar. The Wheel has nice swivel bar-stools that allow you to turn around and face the stage. The setup is all computerized which means any song that's available to sing they probably have. I turned in my slip right away and it took almost two hours to get called up. But I didn't even care; it was so fun in there I was happy enough to be entertained by everyone else.
It's a really friendly crowd. There was a group of dudes in their early twenties to my right and this hilarious old Ballard drunk sitting on the other side of me. I buddied up with them immediately and they cracked me up all night. We spent that early time casing out drunk chicks--and there were a lot of them.
One of my favorite things about watching people karaoke is when someone performs a song I would never in a million years think they would ever choose to sing. Case in point: There was this one guy that totally reminded me of Brother Marquis from the 2 Live Crew, and before his song began he was up there clowning around in his white, straight-billed Storm Trooper cap turned sideways. I assumed he was just going to sing some R&B or rap number, but no, he wound up doing "Baby Jane" by Rod Stewart...and it was amazing. I was blown away. Never before had I seen such a random pairing of singer and song, but those surprises are what karaoke is all about.
One of the dudes I was hanging with got up and did Huey Lewis. It makes me very happy to see that kids these days still have a nose for the '80s. A couple cuties came up and sandwiched him during his performance, and the gal in front was really grinding away on his crotchal region. The old Ballard drunk grabbed me by the shoulder, pointed down at the kid's groin, and screamed in my ear, "That's the power of love, my friend!!"
"C", the KJ, was great. By midnight, most everyone in the house was on their lips--but she didn't flip anyone shit. Alex, the bartender, is super friendly and is also a great entertainer. He turned in a flawless "Johnny B. Goode" as he ran around serving drinks. I understand now the logic behind a place only offering karaoke one night a week. It keeps it special and gives the regulars something to look forward to.