Last week, after a solid recommendation from one of my>"/>
This week, Karaoke Jeff Roman takes a reader's advice and hits Goldie's on Airport Way.
Last week, after a solid recommendation from one of my readers, I took another stab at South Seattle karaoke and hit Goldie's on Airport Way in SoDo. Cautious to ensure a fun time this go-round, I decided to show up half in the bag. A buddy of mine agreed to be my designated driver if I covered his drinks all night, so I was set. We spent a couple hours throwing them back in Ballard, and made our way south.
It was a Wednesday night, and we arrived at around ten. I was very taken by how sweet the lounge set up was. There were mirrors all around with disco lights flashing in every direction, and sharp red tables & chairs throughout the room. The place wasn't too packed. It had just the right amount of people at the bar and the floor to make things feel happening for mid-week singing.
There was a big group of people that made up most of the rotation all night. The first performer I saw was an older guy, and he sang "All My Lovin'" by the Beatles--and it was completely out of tune. The next singer sang "Whole Lotta' Shakin'" by Jerry Lee Lewis, and he was equally bad--so bad one of the ladies in their party had to put a full plastic bag of ice on her head. She later got up and sang "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini," and wound up having the worst voice of them all.
But I had absolutely no problem with these tone-deaf singers.
This is their karaoke home, and there is nothing wrong with butchering a song you love in your own watering hole. I just loved that they kept coming through with the oldies. Bad voices aside, the song choices totally reminded me of being in a Filipino karaoke bar.
While this dude Ivan was up singing Elvis Presley' "Blue Christmas" I decided to attempt a song I'd never sung in public before: Frank Sinatra's, "My Way." I read an article in the New York Times last week about men killing each other over this song in karaoke bars in the Philippines. It explained how these people feel such a tight personal connection with the song that they get angry when someone else dares to perform it. As I absorbed how ridiculous this story was, I turned it around on myself and asked how I'd feel if I lived in Jersey amongst the rest of Springsteen nation and have to hear to every person sing "Born to Run" all the time. I wouldn't kill anyone, but would definitely get into run-ins with people.
When I got up to sing it, I tried to as good an impersonation of my dad's rendition as I possibly could. This is a song I've heard him do countless times, and I wanted to see if my voice had matured enough to capture the style and tone required to deliver it properly. The first line--"And now the end is near"--starts nice and low. Unlike most pop/rock songs, the great thing about a lot of standards is you don't have to grab your nuts to sing them; the notes are totally reachable. You just have to be able to sing it like a crooner--which is way easier said than done.
I found myself controlling my voice with every word to make sure I don't revert back to my rock 'n' roll voice. When I reached the part about "regrets," I remembered why I stayed away from the song. I haven't had enough "downs" in my life to justify ever singing that verse. Back in my Baranof KJ days I saw old drunks get very emotional when they got to that part.
The end of the song, however, was really fun, because it needed to be delivered with power and I didn't have to scream it. It was completely under control. I got some applause when I was done, but as hard as I tried, I couldn't completely deliver it. It requires a certain style (outside of vocal ability) to pull off Sinatra, and at this point in my life, I'm not equipped for that.
An old Asian guy with a big mustache and thick glasses showed me how it was done and sang "The Way You Look Tonight" by Sinatra. It wasn't a dazzling vocal performance, but it fit him way better. (It's a much better song, too.) Hence, I decided to lay off Frank the rest of the night.
Listening to the 70's station on satellite radio earlier that day, I caught Linda Ronstadt's "It's So Easy" and I decided to give that a shot. I had a hunch it could be out of my range, but didn't feel self-conscious attempting it in front of this crowd. I started way too high and it was total suicide. I had to do the karaoke no-no of taking it down an octave, which was basically showing everyone I couldn't hack it.
There have been a few times where my low voice has sounded good, but most of time when I hear that voice in the mic, I feel like I'm not giving it my all. I don't understand how when I sing that way in the car it sound cool, but when I try to karaoke like that it comes off boring and monotone. At least I know not to try Ronstadt again. I should have gone for the Buddy Holly version instead.