Why You Should Never Show Up Sober to a Karaoke Bar

Karaoke Korrespondent runs on Reverb every Wednesday.
Monday night karaoke at Roosevelt's Atlantic Crossing has a Thursday night crowd that I was completely unprepared for. My body (still reeling from too much Fernet Branca Saturday night) fought every sip of beer I tried to take down when I got there. Sitting at the bar, trying to read their enormous catalog a half hour before show time, I was angry at myself for not having the spirit to rally. I forced down a shot of Cazadorez and warned myself that was only the beginning--and I was going to keep them coming until I changed my shitty attitude.

That shot did mellow me out but I still didn't know what to sing, and that book was borderline too big. The bar's either too tall or the stools are too short because having to navigate through that five inch thick binder above chest level was a real pain in the ass. I thought about moving to the tables where I could get a better angle at the stage but both gals tending bar were attractive so I decided to just stay put. At fifteen minutes before show time I just said screw it and turned in Tom Petty, "The Waiting."

The Karaoke Jock (KJ) kicked off the night with "Unchained Melody" and he did Bobby Hatfield proud. The next singer--one of the bartendes-- sang "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'" and she sounded hot. I got up from my chair and watched her performance from the floor.

A couple singers later was a guy named Matthew. He was a white dude in his thirties with a beard and a Brewers cap and was the best singer of the night. His first offering was "Bring On the Dancing Horses" by Echo and the Bunnymen. I see great singers everywhere I go but rarely do I see anyone attack a song with the same enthusiasm that I do and this Matthew gave it everything he had.

MYQUE P was the stage name of the guy who sang before me. He was slim black dude sporting a t-shirt, plaid shorts and a cabbie hat. He got up and just killed with Coldplay's "How Long Must You Wait For It." He didn't have Matthew's range, but he sang with just as much passion. I hadn't even sung yet and already these guys were totally beating me at my own game. Both of them were flying solo that night as well.

I was happy with my pick, but as I stood on stage I knew it was going to be a rough go. I still felt uptight. The first verse starts out real high and I overshot the note and volume level as I delivered it. The KJ had no choice but to turn down my mic. He didn't take it down too low, so it didn't distract me, but that song is really tough all the way through. I know it by heart so I fought my way through, but it moves fast and it's just out of my range enough I kept running out of breath. During the instrumental break I looked down at the KJ and he gave me an encouraging smile and it was enough for me to finish strong. I got a big round of applause as I left the stage and MYQUE P gave me a high five. I looked over at Matthew and he gave me a nod to let me know he appreciated the effort.

My favorite performance of the night was when Matthew sang "Promises Promises" by Naked Eyes. Holy shit it was awesome. I didn't recognize it at first. That's an 80s song you don't hear too much anymore. But when nailed the chorus, it fired me up so much I chugged down my beer and ordered up another shot.

MYQUE P's kept delivering in his own way. His picks weren't by my favorite artists, but he took so much joy in singing them that they wound up sounding good. I'm not a big fan of Staind but their song "Fade" won't suck so bad for me anymore because of what he brought to it.

The bar was packed by the third rotation of singers. I ended my night with "Thunder Road" because I wanted to show these guys what I was all about. I was still a bit shaky but it was way better than the Petty song. This time as I left the stage both those guys extended their hands to me and we all exchanged how great we thought each other were. I'm still bitter about not showing up ready. I'm never showing up sober to a karaoke bar ever again.

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