A major venue change went down in Madison Park recently. Baby Van Beezly, the magnificent host of the most dynamic karaoke show in town, ditched the Red Onion and moved the party four doors down to The Attic.
The news bummed me out at first. The Red Onion's vintage look and cozy, wide-open space was such an ideal stage for Beezly. But the fact of the matter is she is the best KJ around, and all her fans, including myself, will follow her wherever she goes.
So far, her only night at The Attic is Friday. Last week, a couple buddies and I checked things out. We got there an hour before the show started at 8:30 and took our seats at the bar. The place was already full.The stage is set up in the back of the room. We had a good angle from where we were sitting, but I could tell the exposed beams in the bar would cause view-obstruction issues during the money-shot hours of midnight-2 a.m.
Beezly arrived at 9. Cliff, the former head bartender at the Red Onion, was with her and helped her set up. The night I visited the Red Onion back in April, I spent some time chatting with Cliff before the show. I remember him being the nicest guy. According to Beezly's website, the Red Onion's owner fired Cliff for giving her a $25 raise, so in an act of loyalty, she left with him.
The night started with Beezly singing "Jessie's Girl." She looked sexy, as always, and it was great to hear her perform a classic (she mostly does dance songs and contemporary hits). The sound was solid and the crowd was lively. So despite the quarters being a little cramped, the overall production hardly skipped a beat.
Beezly draws great singers wherever she sets up. We caught awesome renditions of "Sir Duke," "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," and "Feels Like the First Time." This couple delivered a sweet duet of The Swell Season's "Falling Slowly" from the movie Once. I did my part and contributed a flawless version of "You Might Think" by the Cars.
My buddy Juan totally nailed "Plush" by Stone Temple Pilots, and what was extra-sweet about his performance was he unknowingly sang the bartender's standard song. After Juan exited the stage, said bartender was walking around bitching. The other bartender was a good guy, however, and more than made up for Mr. Grouchypants.
After midnight, Beezly busted out one of her showstoppers: "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga. When she stood on a table to really grab everyone's attention, the big wooden ceiling beams got in the way, and people in the front of the bar weren't able to get a clear shot at her. This place is fine for Fridays, but I'm very excited to see where she lands on Saturday nights.
The Attic, 4226 E. Madison St., 323-3131, MADISON PARK