Karaoke Korrespondent: Tiger's Sports Bar & Grill"/>
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Tiger's Sports Bar & Grill in Broadview used to be the Peking Palace. It was my favorite spot for karaoke until the owners sold it and moved into the place next door to open a dumpling house. My friends and I spent countless fun nights there when we were in our twenties and it was the first place I ever got up to sing. The atmosphere was the best: dark and divey with Christmas lights to set the mood all year round. It never got that busy and on any given night we would rally together and take it over. I have beautiful memories getting into altercations with the staff. One of my buddies even nicknamed a couple of them. He called the heavy set waitress that hated him "Rosanne" and the bald, goateed KJ that sang too much "Stone Cold." We got kicked out of there numerous times but they always let us back. My claim to fame was bringing Jack Black there twice after both of his Tenacious D shows at the Paramount. I compare all karaoke joints to this place.
Walking into Tiger's karaoke last Saturday reminded me of that part in "Back to the Future II" where Biff finds the sports almanac, steals the Delorean, places a bunch of bets, and turns Hill Valley upside-down. What the hell happened to this place? I had to do an about-face before entering to weigh out just what I was getting myself into. For starters there is a bad stench in there. It smells like a prankster peeled up a corner of carpet, took a dump on the sub floor and stapled it back down. The old restaurant area now has pool tables and a ridiculous amount of dartboards (nobody uses) and the remodeled bar with its cheesy blue lights just made me want to cry. All the character of the old lounge is gone. If the new owner's goal was to make a shitty smelling sports bar to attract despicable clientele then that mission was accomplished.
There were about fifteen people in the lounge - mostly sawed-off Kevin Federline types sitting around acting tough and a few Broadview locals hanging at the bar. There was tension in the air and I could tell right away a couple of these dudes were not on the best of terms with one other. Growing up we had a name for guys like this: we called them clowns. Settling in I realized how great a thing it was I had nobody with me because there would have been problems if I'd brought any of my friends along. I consider myself very easy going and honestly believe I can have fun singing karaoke anywhere but this place gave that notion a big run for its money.
The night started out mellow enough. The first couple singers did 90's hits and they were pretty good. I thought to myself, nice, I'm usually self-conscious singing anything from the 90's so this was my chance to do a couple songs I normally feel "too cool" to sing. I decided my first song would be Smashing Pumpkins, "Disarm." I figured it was a popular song from that era and I'd get a good reaction from it. Twenty seconds in the KJ turned down my mic. I hate when they do that. It takes me out of the zone and causes me want to scream into the mic even louder. I fought through it but by the halfway point realized this song wasn't delivering the way I'd hoped. When attempting to sing Billy Corgan you really have to make it your own, otherwise you just wind up sounding like a gigantic pussy. By the end, I got some courtesy applause but walked back to my seat feeling like a fruitcake. I knew my next song had to be something with balls so I requested one of my big guns: Springsteen's Born to Run. Unfortunately for me that's when the performances took an unexpected turn.
The KJ thought he was Eminem, performed nothing but Eminem, and crowbarred himself into the rotation after every four singers. He nailed it but it still came off like a cheese-dick. I got douche chills. For the record I like Eminem's music and I enjoy a great hip-hop karaoke performance. Anyone that's attempted to karaoke rap will tell you it's incredibly hard to do. You really have to know the song backwards and forwards because the lyrics go by so fast you're buried before you know it. I think the main problem is this guy took himself way too seriously. It's as if he was claiming those rhymes to be his own. Eminem has a very unique style that can really only be pulled off by him. This dude just wound up looking like a buffoon up there. By the end of his third song there wasn't a single vulva left in the bar. The only ones there were jokers requesting more Eminem, and it turned into this weird "battle" situation. I admit, I'm a pretty out of it when it comes to what's cool in hip hop culture today but I have seen "8 Mile" like three times. Isn't the idea to make up your own rhymes and use them to outdo someone else's rhymes? Someone needs to tell these guys they're not on a roll just because they're the best at mimicking Slim Shady in a karaoke bar in South Shoreline. That's poser shit if you ask me.
By the time I was called up to do my Boss number I knew I was a goner. People stopped applauding for each other and there was no way any of these guys had ever even heard of Springsteen. I never thought the day would come that I would feel out of my element in a karaoke bar, but thankfully, the inevitable happened. One of the clowns cracked another in the head and bloodied him up pretty good. That was my cue to get out of there. I'm never going back again, but for those of you that are curious, they offer karaoke seven nights a week.