One of the few things that can pull me away from my couch and premium cable on a Sunday night is an invitation to a new Absolute Karaoke venue. They are the best karaoke company in town, and their hosts turn every bar into the place to be, no matter what night of the week it is.
Two Train songs in one night? Far out!
Last Sunday, I checked out their newest spot in South Lake Union, Trago (next door to Jillian's), a brand-new Mexican restaurant with a deluxe second-floor lounge. I arrived at 9:30 and could hear the singing above my head outside the entrance. Two girls were performing Train's "Drops of Jupiter" as I walked in. The bar has its own seating area and is surrounded by two other table sections. The karaoke is set up on the dance floor, but is still very tied to the bar.
Since this is an Absolute production, great sound and a gigantic song selection are a given. My buddy, Pat Clark, hosted the show and worked out of a sound booth. The performance area faced the entire lounge, and the backdrop was a spectacular view of the north end and Capitol Hill through a big open window that stretched the entire length of the back wall. The sing-along screen for the audience was a big LCD that hung on the wall above the singers. This is such an ideal spot for karaoke; if they ever decide to do it on Friday or Saturday, it'll become the best venue in town.
It was a slow night. There were only two tables of singers early on, and I knew half them. My friends Steven and Kaeli were hanging out with Pat's buddy Andrew. Pat started a new rotation with "Livin' La Vida Loca" as I sucked down a margarita. The drink went straight to my head, but did nothing for my nerves. Andrew followed with a nice rendition of the Sam Cooke classic, "Cupid." Then Kaeli sang Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man." I thought it sounded great, but it left her unsatisfied.
My friend Steven, on the other hand, is like the Honey Badger--he doesn't give a shit. He'll do anything no matter how insanely out of his range it is. Shortly after Kaeli's number, he marched up to that stage and sang "It Hurt So Bad" in the style of Susan Tedeschi. I admire his balls, but that is not the song for him. My first number, "Shine" by Collective Soul, wasn't any better, though. I was way too sober and insecure to open with that one. Thankfully, a late happy hour kicked in at 10, so I started pounding $3 Rainiers to get into the groove.
The other singers delivered some great stuff. The black guy at the table next to us sang "The Wind Cries Mary," which made me realize Hendrix songs aren't requested enough. The bartender, Sean, was a fixture in the rotation and he delivered a solid "Let's Stay Together." Even the owner, Troy, got into the mix and sang Train's "Meet Virginia." This place is dead now, but not for long. Look for it to hit its stride come Labor Day weekend.