The Little Red Hen was my home for karaoke last summer. I went on a two month stretch where I was there every Monday. It's all about the crowd at that place, and singing in a country bar atmosphere is my favorite. I love performing southern rock in front of those old cowboys, because there's nothing better than having people get up and dance as you perform. That's how you know you're really delivering.
I have some gal friends that like to do the line dance/karaoke one-two punch on Monday nights. They called me last week to let me know they were there. I was really excited to head back, because I hadn't been in since I became the Karaoke Korrespondent.
Monday night karaoke at The Hen has always been a lot mellower than Wednesdays (which usually gets shoulder to shoulder packed), but this night was pretty dead even by those standards. None of the old timers were there. I was happy for the chance to get more songs in, but was sort of bummed my audience wasn't there.
The Hen had a team of three KJs. The head guy had short dark hair, wore cop sunglasses, a skin tight AD/HD t-shirt, and spoke with a lot of flavor. His two sidekicks both wore ball caps slightly tilted to the side. One dude matched his cap with a green Sonics t-shirt, and the other guy wore a black, unbuttoned, long-sleeved striped shirt. They seemed a bit out of place to me at first.
I was called up quickly, and chose Alabama's "Take Me Down" for my first number. I was completely satisfied with the performance because I adore that song, but it didn't get anyone dancing. It's too upbeat to waltz to, and I guess it didn't have the right beat for line dancing. The KJs were gracious enough to tell me I did a good job, so I decided stop judging them for being so smoothed-out for a honky tonk bar.
The three-man KJ team got up next and did "No Diggity" by Blackstreet, and it was pretty damn good. It's rare to see really polished male R&B sung in any k-bar; you need to be blessed with a silky voice to pull those types of songs off. Three older ladies got up and started line dancing to their performance, and it was definitely the most random thing we saw all night.
A dude in a scrubby flannel with a fat chew in his lip was called up next. Out of nowhere, he busted into such a great "La Bamba" that we all started laughing out of shock. We could not believe how good he was. It's always fun when you're convinced someone is going to suck and they totally surprise you.
A couple acts later saw a guy in his forties with a thick mustache deliver a great rendition of "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'." Steve Perry is really hard to sing, and he hit all the notes with ease--but I was mostly glad to hear someone pick a song from Journey other than "Don't Stop Believing." One of the KJ's told him as he stepped off the stage that he should have tried to do something with that voice ten years ago. At first, I though he was giving him a backhanded compliment, but figured this kid was pretty young and probably didn't realize what he was being insulting.
I was going to sing "The Gambler" until the KJs sang "Inside Out" by Eve 6. Personally, I think that song blows, but they did do a decent job trading off verses. They looked so pleased with themselves when they were done that it annoyed me. I was still bitter about that stupid contest I was in last week, and I wanted to blow their performance away with something that really rocked. So I went with "Last Nite" by The Strokes.
It started kind of wooden, but something came over me midway through, and all of a sudden I went crazy with the screaming and air guitar. Nobody danced for that one either, but those dudes got the message.