Karaoke Korrespondent Runs Into KJ Konomi & the Officially Worst Song He's Ever Heard in His Life at Renton's A Terrible Beauty"/>
Last Tuesday, dead sober and still hung over from the night before, I decided to travel to downtown Renton to check out the karaoke at this Irish pub called A Terrible Beauty. I didn't feel like drinking at all, so I figured it'd be a safe time for me to drive to a place I wouldn't dare hit if I had the drinking shoes on, but this night reminded me once again that my drinking shoes are like horseshoes--they don't ever come off.
Some frigging gonad ruined KK's Little River Band romantic moment.
It took about a half hour to get there. I arrived just before 9. The place is gorgeous inside. I don't remember ever being in an Irish pub I haven't liked, but this one is as sharp as they come. It's in a huge corner building made up of all dark wood, and has an upper floor that looks down on the main level. There was a pretty decent amount of people there for a Tuesday. I immediately spotted a fun-looking blond and a brunette sitting at a table as I walked in.
I took a seat at the middle of the bar left of the taps. The stage area was situated in this open space on the floor at the entrance end of the bar. The KJ station was located in this elevated area in the corner behind it (which is probably where the bands perform). I freaked out the moment I saw who the KJ was. Her name is Konomi, and last summer at the Atlantic Crossing during the first regional qualifier of the Karaoke World Championships, I remembered writing less-than-flattering remarks about her and her singing. I looked the article up on my phone hoping it wasn't as bad as I remembered, and the comments were definitely shitty--and a little racist: "Contestant # 8: Konomi - "Ain't No Other Man" - This gal might be Filipino but I'm thinking she's from one of the other islands. She has good range but totally has to reach for those high Aguilera notes and it's coming off super pitchy. I think the judges are probably going to disagree with me, but this sounds like shit."
I felt like an ass. That first beer (that I'd planned on nursing) disappeared faster than the old guy that gulped pints on The Man Show. Then I downed another. So much for not drinking. Any hope I had that she may not have recognized me was squashed when she opened the night with the very Aguilera number that I trashed. In my defense, she sang it way better than she did during that contest.
After the second beer kicked in, my embarrassment began to subside. I grabbed a book and started in on my song search. This lady sitting next to me started to complain about the karaoke. Apparently, this was only their second Tuesday, she thought they only did Wednesdays, and gave me an earful about how much she hates karaoke. I sat there with my book in front of me, looked at her and said, "You're bitching to the wrong guy." She was out of there within five minutes.
The first rotation was packed with singers and many of them were way past 50. This one guy sang a song I sing a lot that I've never heard anyone do before, "Day After Day" by Badfinger. All due respect to the man--the song is from his era--but I do it way better. He could handle the melody just fine, it was just lifeless and he made the song sound dated.
I decided to go with a safe number for my first selection. I sang "Peaceful Easy Feeling" by the Eagles. It was crowd-appropriate, and I wanted to sing something I knew I could do well so Konomi wouldn't think, "Listen to this asshole--he talks shit about my singing, meanwhile, he can't even sing himself." I'm always bored at the idea of performing it, but as soon as I start in I realize how awesome it is to sing.
While I was singing, I noticed a guy walk up to where I was sitting and take my book. The books are for everybody, but I had my beer right beside and I clearly wasn't done with it. A decent person would have asked if they could take it, and I would have been happy to give it up. It wasn't the only weasel move this guy made that night. That first set of singers was a good hour wait, and he signed up as two different names to cheat the rotation. He went by Reuben for his first song and changed his name to Irving for the second. Prick move.
The meat of that first round brought a string of bad performances. This couple sang one of the most obnoxious songs you will ever hear butchered in a karaoke bar, "Sober" by Tool. I'm glad that lady had left, because I would have had to admit to her this is one of the worst things I've ever had to endure. People were screaming at them from the back of the bar to please stop. They were followed by the most excruciating "American Pie." The guy was so tone-deaf that that eight-and-a-half-minute song felt like an eternity. Then the topper was a guy who followed with a song called "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition." This is officially the worst song I've ever heard in my life. On and on--it must have been 10 stinkers in a row. I've seen more bad performances than most people and I support anyone who has the courage to get up and sing, but hearing that many horrible singers in a row got me really irritated. I had to turn to more beers to numb the pain.
Thankfully, Konomi broke the streak with an awesome rendition of "Decode" by Paramore. There was another singer I recognized from a past karaoke night. His name was John and he's a Filipino guy I saw perform at Mobile Espresso in Bitter Lake last November. He sang "Rock the Casbah" and did a solid job. I was only trying to hang around for one more number, but felt so great about my second performance of "Nights Are Forever" by England Dan & John Ford Coley that I went for beer five and decided to stick around for another round.
As the night went on, a younger crowd started filling the place in. A couple girls in their early 20s took a spot at this booth behind me and ignited three drunks (in their 40s) at the table next to them. One of them took a seat with the girls, and it was clear they wanted nothing to do with him.
Then out of nowhere the blonde and brunette I'd spotted at the beginning of the night came barreling into our area, totally blasted. After getting a closer look, I realized they were older than me. They introduced themselves to the drunk guys, and it got me totally jealous. I kept myself facing the stage so my peripherals could keep tabs of what was going on. These chicks were a mess. There were some moments when I thought the brunette was more drunk than the blonde. She kept trying to put the blonde in a headlock, but then the blonde would spill a drink or knock over a stool, so it was a toss-up.
They had every guy, including me, going for them. I caught eyes with the brunette and she made some flirty remark like, "smile" or "don't smile," I don't know, she wasn't making any sense, but I could tell I was in the running. It was midnight, I was already halfway through beer five at this point, and I wanted desperately to take a shot to really get me in this game, but decided against it.
Konomi called me up for another song. I sang "Tin Man" by America. That got the attention of the blonde. She came and rubbed up beside me. He eyes were totally glossy and she wasn't making much sense, either. The brunette was hunched over the bar trying to reach for something, and a dude came right up to her, licked his fingers, and spanked her hard on the ass three times. She didn't get pissed, it didn't faze her at all, but she did tell him to fuck off and to never do that again. Then this crew of geeks got in the mix and everything went to shit after that. They ran off the original guys I was hoping would leave, but were even more flies-on-shit on these chicks.
I ended my night with "Lady" by Little River Band. The blonde went nuts for it and charged the stage. We started slow-dancing for a moment, but this frigging gonad followed her and totally cut in. She was running on fumes and this guy was hanging all over her, but she still held my hand as I sang. Next time I'm drinking toe-to-toe with these people.
(These aren't them).