Last week, I caught a chest cold and my face got blasted non-stop by vicious hay fever attacks, but that still didn't stop me from heading down to Columbia City to sing at The Bourbon Bar on Wednesday. I arrived at 8 p.m. just as my buddy Josh was about to start the show. It's a sharp-looking bar that's connected to the Columbia City Theater. The mic and KJ station are set up right in front of the windows that look out on Rainier Avenue. There was only one table of people there and they weren't singing, so it was on us to get the fun going.
Courtney sows his seeds of love.
My face and head felt all swelled up and tickly from the allergies and I wondered how I was going be able to emote while fighting off the urge to hack every second. I decided to take down a shot of Jäger. It mellowed out my chest almost instantly. A couple minutes later the alcohol began to soothe me in that fun way so I took another shot, and before I knew it, I was feeling no pain. My nose even stopped running.
Josh opened the night with Duran Duran's "Is There Something I Should Know?" That is one hell of a tough song to warm up with. It starts out high and stays there. He knew what he was doing because he nailed it and his voice didn't crack once. I wasn't sure what direction I was going to go with my songs, but after hearing that, I was totally in the mood to sing some 80s.
I opened with "No One is to Blame" by Howard Jones. It was my first time attempting it, so I played it safe and had Josh take the key down half a notch. The adjustment worked out great for me. I loved singing it. It's a very pretty number and not something anyone can fake their way through. The only way to do it right is to belt it out, and the altered key gave my vocals the illusion of having great range. After it was done, Josh told me that was one of his standard numbers. I unintentionally snaked him but could tell he was fine with it. I did a decent job but not good enough to make anyone get defensive.
Singers started coming in as Josh opened rotation two with Paul McCartney's "Pipes of Peace." I was absolutely delighted to hear him deliver this one. Aside from his Beatles songs, my favorite era for McCartney was the stuff he did after Lennon died in the early to mid 80s. Josh constantly surprises me with how he can sound almost like the artist he is performing. His voice was perfect for this song.
The first new singer was a guy named Buster. He looked around my age (in his late 30s) and he sang the soft rock classic "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)." His buddy Scotty got up next and sang "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow." I brought it back to the 80s with Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out." Josh followed me with "Beds Are Burning" by Midnight Oil.
After Buster delivered some Hootie, Scotty joined the 80s fun with "Strangelove" by Depeche Mode. Then we got another addition to the rotation, a black dude who went by the stage name of Courtney; he opened his night with the Beatles' "Sexy Sadie." I thought he did a fine job, but he seemed frustrated with the performance because it was not the version he was used to singing along with.
My third song was "Something About You" by Level 42. I tripped on a couple verses but both Josh and Courtney commended me on the song choice. Josh had forgotten about that one and I was glad I was able to remind him about it. Courtney's 80s offering was "Sowing the Seeds of Love" by Tears For Fears. Everyone pretty much stuck to the theme after that.
Our buddy Steven met up around nine. He's in training for this week's tryouts for the Karaoke World Championships and he attempted "Alone" by Heart. It's definitely not going to be the number he chooses for his audition. Buster followed him with an awesome rendition of "To Be a Lover" by Billy Idol.
At around ten, I started feeling shitty again, but instead of spiking up with more Jäger, I decided to call it good and close out my night with Mellencamp's "Pink Houses." It wasn't that fun to sing. I should have gone with "Small Town" instead. I left to Josh performing, "Always Something There to Remind Me" by the Naked Eyes and it was a great capper to the night.