The first thing that I noticed (even before the pink & blue neon bar and two eight foot bubble walls) as I walked into Citrus on South Lake Union was how many young women they had in there for a Monday night. There were tables full of them and the bar had a set bellied up, too.
"Hey, Jeff--I'm cold. Will you be my human blanket?"
I've been looking for a place like this.
Granted, there were a few striped-shirt dudes with the gelled-up hair acting like fuck-wads--but not many, and I've seen way worse. I got there at 9, bought a Heineken and sat in the section between the bubble walls where the KJ station and stage are set up. I had a great angle of the sun setting on Lake Union through the windows to the left of me, the stage straight ahead, and all the ladies in the bar to the right.
This was my buddy Pat's first time running the show here. I've seen him work many times and I found it interesting he chose not to sing the sound check/opening number on this night. I wondered if he was shy about kicking things off in front of all these hot chicks. I definitely wanted to wait to see the quality of singers and the types of songs they'd be picking before committing to my song. The first singer called up was a rail skinny Asian gal with big eyes named Christina ,and she delivered a smokin' rendition of the Pussycat Dolls' "Sway." This mambo number originally made popular by Dean Martin fit perfectly in this place, and she looked great singing it. She reminded me of the actress (Alexis Dziena) that played E's psycho girlfriend on last season's Entourage, to give you a better idea of the hotness.
A couple singers later was a guy named Dylan. He delivered for me the funniest performance of the night but I'm sure he didn't intend it to be. His song was "Rocket Man" by Elton John. He sang with great confidence and his voice had pretty good inflection but the entire thing was out of tune. His phrasing was off, he was always three seconds behind, and it seemed like he was going for a Boz Scaggs in "Lowdown" white-man-soul kind of voice. But it sounded more like a combination of Cleveland from Family Guy, or my buddy Jason's impersonation of Aaron Neville. I was a couple singers away and Dylan's performance allowed me to breathe easy.
Next up was a gal named Leah, she was dressed in black, and I'm not kidding when I say this gal was Minka Kelly hot. She had beautiful brown hair and tan skin. She sang some techno song; I don't even remember what it was, I was too busy staring at her face. She could have been singing Weird Al and it still would have given me a blue-veined diamond cutter.
This wasn't the night to try anything new. I needed to pick a catchy pop number that I could sing well with little strain. I sang "Jack & Diane" and it worked. The bar started to pack in and only half the people were paying attention to the stage, but it's a really good vantage point to sing from. On a busier night you can turn around and sing toward the restaurant audience and then there's that water. I loved the refection of the bubble walls on the windows.
After me was a guy with slicked-back hair named Jamie, and he was on the edge of being completely wasted. When handed the mic he started doing the "chshhhhh....cHSHHHHH" sound really loud into it. Pat told him the mic was good but he did it again. He was being an asshole but he did pick the perfect song to sing when sloppy drunk: "Electric Avenue" by Eddie Grant. There's not much to it, it's easy to follow, and even easier to sing.
The third female performer, Lynette, was not only beautiful but had the best pipes of the night. She sang Aretha's "Chain of Fools" like it was nothing. She was also dressed in all black and had a juicy body. Listening to her sing made me think of the young Lisa Lisa but I YouTubed the "Lost in Emotion" video later and this girl is five times hotter than Lisa Lisa ever was.
A few performances later it became clear to me when all three girls got called up to do "Lady Marmalade" together. It turned out Christina, Leah, and Lynette all worked there. That's why they were dressed in black. Their performance was fun but it was just okay for me. I've come to learn I hate hearing Christina Aguilera done at karaoke. I don't have an issue with her voice when she sings the songs, but there's something about other people singing those long runs that bugs the living shit out of me.
Pat picked his spot and dropped a stick of dynamite in the room with a truly awesome rendition of "Angel," doing both Shaggy & Rayvon parts flawlessly. This is something that has clearly been in his arsenal for years, and his performance ran like a well oiled machine. The rap parts were so fast I barely had time to be impressed with his flow because of this hilarious Donald Duck voice he used. Then he kicked in with the Shaggy part and I would kill to sing with that sweet R&B style just once. The crowd finally gave it up.
That performance made me reassess my repertoire. Everything I had was nothing compared to what Pat just unleashed. I wound up singing "Faith" by George Michael and it just felt old and irrelevant. I need to succeed in all karaoke situations, and that means getting newer songs in my lineup. By new, I mean anything from the past 15 years. The process starts next week.