Two simple shots of Chartreuse over the course of a cheeseburger at the Red Door last Wednesday--and the next thing I knew I was up in Mountlake Terrace belting out "Dancing With Myself" at this place called O'Houlie's (a couple blocks west of I-5 off the 220th St SW exit). It felt like mushrooms were about to kick in all night. I wasn't drunk but my insides were humming and I was extra dialed-in for singing.
KJR was up on O'Houlie's Corrie like Petty on Nicks.
I had many options that night (Wednesday is the biggest karaoke night of the week for non 7 night a week spots), but I needed a bar that would best give me the chance to sing every 10-15 minutes. I tried coming here once on a Monday a few months back. It turned out they didn't have karaoke that night, but I kept it in the back burner because I dug the Sno-Co sports bar feel and it looked like a place that could easily be taken over. When I floated in just after nine it was good and dead, just as I had hoped. The rotation was a middle aged guy playing pool, the bartender, the KJ, the KJ's friend, and me. They got a few more singers in later, but by the time my night was through, I was able to do eight songs.
Dean was the name of the guy shooting stick. He had a good range and his voice at times reminded me of Gordon Lightfoot. He was the anchor of the rotation because it felt like he was up after every fourth song. The rest of us could not keep up with his request pace. I didn't mind his choices because a lot of them were 50's numbers barely over two minutes long. He did a very nice rendition of Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are" but over-sang "The Long and Winding Road." It was too theatrical; sounded straight off the Camelot soundtrack.
KJ Deanna provided a pretty adequate library of songs on her computer, and did a marvelous job of slipping in random 80's hits between singers. She and her friend George used to sing in their school choir together and harmonized very well. I'm completely sick of hearing the Fievel song, "Somewhere Out There" in k-bars at this point, but hearing their voices intertwine so smoothly made it semi-bearable.
By ten, things began to pick up where I was sitting at the bar. A group of dudes and a separate group of ladies in their late twenties came in and brought life to the place. Corrie, the bartender, was pretty hot and a couple of the drunks were swooning over her. There was one guy who was all about getting her up to sing as much as he could. He tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I'd be willing to do a duet with her. I asked him what song, and he said, "Stop Dragging My Heart Around." I told him that would be no problem. We got up pretty much the moment after he turned in the slip for us. She sang it well and the dude was hanging on her every verse. 80% of that song is Stevie Nicks, but I seriously delivered with my bit.
George, the KJ's friend, didn't jump out at me right away but his performances got better and better throughout the night. He was a Latin looking dude with a tight haircut, and his voice was high and boyish. I had a hard time placing who it reminded me of, but as he sang this beautiful rendition of Ronnie Milsap's "Smokey Mountain Rain" it hit me. The guy sounds just like Ralph Tresvant, the lead singer of New Edition. NE is my favorite R&B group from the 80's. As soon as I got that in my head he had my undivided attention whenever he took the stage.
I mixed it up pretty well with my picks, only dipping into a couple staples. All the rest of the songs were ones I'd never done or rarely do. The songs that worked well for me were "Werewolves of London" by Zevon and "Drive" by the Cars. Neither was much of a challenge, but both felt really good to sing--especially "Werewolves." That "ahhooooo" part is all over the song, and I hit it perfectly every time. The "Treuse" gave me the energy needed to hang with Springsteen's "10th Avenue Freeze Out," but the song (like most Boss cuts) just does not translate well to karaoke.