I had a big plan to hit Scarlet Tree karaoke this past Tuesday, but it almost didn't happen. The combination of an exhausting workday and a fat feast of take-out mechado (beef & vegetable stew in a tomato sauce + white rice) from the Family Time (Filipino) Restaurant had me passed out on the couch by seven. If not for an inspiring text I received from my buddy Lex ("if you guys are thinking of a Halloween costume how about we all go as Chilean miners all you need is a hard hat shirts off and dirt") at nine, I never would have been able snap to it.
Quincy Lou Melton Maggie Riggins gets serenaded consistently by a Caucasian Drake impersonator.
Karaoke was already in full swing by the time I got to the Tree at ten. I was still feeling a bit groggy from the nap so I decided to establish a buzz at the tequila bar next door, Casa Patron. I enjoyed a shot and a beer and got acquainted with the bartender and this guy eating soup. From where I was sitting I could see the Tree's singers performing through the windows. It looked like people were having a good time.
The Cazadores shot made me feel a bit uneasy. It was one of those shots that told me I was going to need two more. I was hoping to brainstorm a song plan before entering the Scarlet Tree but my mind was drawing blanks. I decided to check out what the singers were singing and take it from there. When I entered I saw my buddy Riggins (we'd made plans to meet but I was still iffy on if he would actually make it). We sat barside--a great angle for taking in everything.
It was clear night and there's a sweet view of the I-5 freeway pillars through the booze bottles on the other side of the window. The stage is set up in front of the tall windows along NE 65th side of the restaurant and it's elevated enough that it really feels like you're watching a show. My buddy Josh is the KJ, and this was his ninth Tuesday at the Tree. The place was only half full, but the people were all there to sing; Josh runs karaoke at like six other bars within a mile of there and has a following of crooners that hit every spot throughout the week. There were a few female performers, but the night was heavy with dudes.
I caught the beginning of the second rotation and saw Josh do something I'd never heard before, a four-song medley of Erasure. It was a total marathon because it didn't seem like they shaved down the songs that much, and by the time it was done he looked spent. He threw on "Best I Ever Had" by Drake to let the crowd (and himself) catch its breath, and I turned to Riggins and told him how much I loved that cut. He said he sings it to his cat, Maggie, all the time.
I had a pretty good night. Over the past few weeks I've been working at my local spots on messing with song keys and learned I only have to take it down one level (which is half a key) in order to hit the notes I want to hit. For my first number I stole one of my friend Cary's standards, "Lady" by The Little River Band. I'd heard her sing it so many times and always wanted to do it. I took the stage and it always feels cooler when you're standing above everybody. The song starts out kind of slow and I wasn't fully buzzed yet. But I could tell my voice was going to be right in the wheelhouse once I got to the peak of the song. Once I hit they verse "As I love you best...you're not like the rest," the passion hit me and I caught fire from then on. That is seriously one of the most fun songs to sing.
There were few screwball numbers done throughout the night. I hate comedy sung karaoke. A couple performed this dirty version of "Summer Lovin'." It was so bad it made me actually miss the original Grease version. I never thought I'd ever feel that way.
But the worst were a couple guys who did Tenacious D's "Fuck Her Hard." Don't get me wrong: I am a huge fan of the D. That song is hysterical when Jack Black sings it. I just don't understand what would motivate anyone else to do it. Who are they trying to impress? Definitely not chicks. And these guys always have a shit-eating grin on their faces like they're on a roll. Watching someone get up and sing that song is one of the douchiest things to witness on the karaoke stage.