West Seattle's Skylark Cafe + "The Best Mick Jagger Impersonation Four Pabsts Could Inspire"

A couple weeks ago I learned you don't have to drive far into West Seattle to get to one of the best Monday karaoke nights in town. The Skylark Café is the first bar on your right immediately as you exit onto Delridge Way from the West Seattle Bridge.

I arrived at 8:30 so I could get loose with a few beers before showtime. It's a big, dimly lit space with a high ceiling and long bar that stretches down the right side of the room. The stage was located in the back and had a large projector screen for the lyrics on the wall behind it. There were around five guys bellied up to the bar and a couple tables of people on the floor. Song catalog binders were everywhere and had mini-flashlights tied to each of them to help singers search for their selections in the dark. The night was hosted by Karaoke Kelli, and she had a sidekick with her named Sierra (stage name Ci-Err-Rahhhh).

Although I was by myself I felt very at home and comfortable sitting solo at that bar. There were great tunes playing overhead, and the bartender gal made me feel welcome by asking if I was going to sing. When I said yes, she seemed genuinely happy I was going to participate.

Kelli announced the start of the show at 9. She grabbed a toy keytar from a rack of props onstage and pretended to play it as she opened the night with Three Dog Night's "Summer in the City." The sound was nice and loud, and it came as no surprise that she had a fantastic voice. Sierra followed with "Take the Money and Run" by the Steve Miller Band, and her skills were equally good.

The next round was a triple shot of Beatles numbers from each of us. I was kind of hoping we'd keep that rolling, but Kelli put on a big goofy hat and changed things up to country with the Judds' "Rockin' with the Rhythm of the Rain." Next, Sierra delivered an awesome rendition of Elvis' "That's All Right." When I took the stage to sing "Ruby Tuesday" by the Stones, someone in the audience yelled out to wear something from the prop rack. I found a red feather scarf, wrapped it around my neck, and did the best Mick Jagger impersonation four Pabsts could inspire.

We held down that tight rotation a few more rounds, and then things got busy around 10:30. This tall guy named Ryan was the first new singer, and he performed "I Don't Like Mondays" by Boomtown Rats. It was pretty clear by his style that he was a musician. He had long, flowing hair and a fat David Crosby 'stache, and wore a ratty wool sweater. His performances were very entertaining. During his second number, he grabbed a foam sword from the prop rack and slipped it down his pants and through his fly to make it look like he had a big schlong dangling between his legs.

At around midnight, Anders Marshall, a contestant on this year's Karaoke Battle USA showed up. It was the first time I'd seen him since he advanced from the state finals at the Columbia City Theater. The Skylark has been his Monday-night spot for years. I asked him about his TV experience, and he said a lot of the production was totally staged. He said the A.D. had them fake-clapping for the camera for eight hours straight. His favorite part of the whole thing was finally being able to break free with the other Seattle contestants to find a real place in Vegas to sing.

Skylark Cafe, 3803 Delridge Way S.W., 935-2111

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