I had three double-shots of Cazadores and two Rainiers in just over an hour before entering The Signature on Queen Anne last Friday for their karaoke night. Drinking post-happy hour with friends at Lecosho on the Harbor Steps caused me to overshoot my ideal singing buzz by more than a bit.
All the boys think she's a spy, she's got...Eric Carmen's blinds.
We got there a half hour before it started and were disappointed by the thin selection of songs. They had one half-inch thick binder that had a few pages organized by artist and a few by title. For a place that occasionally has a cash prize karaoke contest, that puny list was very surprising. Most of the time I hardly have a song plan and just go with the flow, but I had my heart set on singing all Eddie Money all night--and they didn't have a single song of his. My friend Mike had a great idea to do "Sundown" by Gordon Lightfoot, and that wasn't there either. It's a good thing we were as drunk as we were, because it would have been a real pain in the ass to settle on something otherwise.The place was about a quarter full when karaoke started. The bar area where we were sitting had a few tables of people as did the restaurant. The KJ's station was right in the corner between the two sections. We adapted to the songs available and turned in our slips as soon as the KJ was ready for them. The KJ was very upbeat and greeted everyone with a smile. He reminded us of a Persian Ralph Macchio.
The first singer was a gal that did Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart." It's not my favorite to hear, but it's a good sound check song, and she projected her voice well enough that he was able to set his levels properly. I was called up next and tried, for the first time ever, "Make Me Lose Control" by Eric Carmen. It's one of my favorite songs from the 80's and a number I never would have attempted had I not learned how to ask to turn the key down. The song starts out mellow enough, but it hikes up really quick; and even with the key change I was hanging on for dear life pretty much the entire time. Trying to make it through a song like that really makes one appreciate and understand how amazing some of these pop vocalists are.
This night wound up being the Mike show, and the first of his three performances that switched this entire place on was "Hello" by the great Lionel Richie. The mood must have been hitting him just right, because he had control of his songs in a way I hadn't heard before. This number can turn into a joke very easily, but when done straight there is something real that can be tapped into. He was able to get people off their chairs and dancing. For a slow song at the top of the night that's a pretty good accomplishment.
After a disappointing rendition of The Fugees' "Killing Me Softly" by a woman who totally looked like she could sing, the KJ put himself in. He sang A-ha's "Take on Me" so pathetically that it actually turned around and hit that good-bad level where you wind up pulling for the singer for being such a good sport, but also laugh about how much of a train wreck it is.
Mike's wife Cary was also on top of her game that night. After he brought the house down with "Footloose" everyone stayed on the dance floor as she delivered the best "Betty Davis Eyes" I'd ever heard her sing. I was pretty spacey by this point, but people were really getting down, and all this action was just in the first hour.
I can't even remember the rest of my songs. My last memory was Mike singing "Purple Rain." He was just toying with it he was so dialed in, and he had the crowd eating out of his hands. This night was further proof that as long as you're good and drunk it's pretty much impossible to not have the best time singing karaoke.