Last week, at the High Dive in Fremont, I scored a KJ gig at a private party for a company called Groundspeak. My buddy Spencer had been hired to DJ the event, but they also wanted karaoke. So naturally he called me.
Tim Seely with his cat, Gato.
I promised myself after the last time I had to run karaoke that I would never do it again. It's never been fun for me, it's hard work, and I suck at it. But everything lined up so perfectly with this job that I was stoked to break my pledge. The function started at 4 p.m., so we got there an hour early to set up. In addition to karaoke, the employees also wanted the option to play Rock Band. Spencer and his turntables were set up onstage along with the microphones and teleprompter for the singers. The KJ station was located at the table in front of the sound board at stage left and all the Rock Band gear was set up on the floor at stage right. We all wondered how much the video game would cut into the karaoke action.
By 4:15, everyone had arrived and things were in full swing. Spencer was serving up some choice cuts, but no one had requested any songs yet. I was already on my fourth PBR, but was still nervous. I sing in front of strangers all the time, but private parties are a different deal. I felt like an intruder. Thankfully, it didn't take long to settle on a good number. I did "Jack & Diane," and it worked out great. Spencer made it fun by scratching to the beat during the instrumental breaks, and the crowd seemed to really enjoy it. The floodgates were open after that, and people started turning in slips.
Karaoke dominated the rest of the party; nobody even touched Rock Band. Fifteen different people hit the stage, and I was very impressed by how many people sang solo. I expected there to be a lot more group performances, given that it was an afternoon bash consisting of co-workers who might be more guarded than usual. There was an awesome "Secret Agent Man" from a guy named Arne, and this dude Ernesto was an all-out Latin ringer with his performance of "Sin Sentimiento."
The evening ended with a milestone of sorts. Earlier that day, my buddy, Tim Seely (brother of SW editor Mike), found out that a song he wrote--"End of May," which Michael Bublé covered on his last album--had been produced for karaoke. When I told Tim I was going to sing it, he crashed the party. I ended up singing his song to him. It was bizarre, but not too many people can say they've sung an artist's song with the artist looking on.
High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., #G, 632-0212.