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Last Tuesday, I checked out this club called Hayley's Bar & Grill on Hewitt Avenue. I rolled into town at 10:30 pm and felt energized when I saw there was action happening up and down that strip. I could hear the music blasting out of Hayley's from a block away.
The place used to be Jimmy Z's, the legendary Everett night club that closed after 25 years in 2008. There were a good 40 people hanging out when I walked in, but the club is so enormous it would have taken another hundred to make the place look busy. You enter at the bar and it opens up to a huge stage area and an elevated level with pool tables, video games, and dart boards.
It was very drafty inside, and everyone was bundled up. The majority of the crowd was concentrated at the pool tables and the bar. I took a seat at the table area behind the dance floor in front of the stage. A gal with raspy pipes was up singing an awesome rendition of AC/DC's "Whole Lotta' Rosie." The guy after her did Pearl Jam's "Daughter," and he was followed by a man who sang "Poison" by Alice Cooper.
I wanted to find a hard rock performance of my own to sing, but there were no song books anywhere. The host was out having a smoke, so I asked their sound guy. He had no idea where they were. I was informed later that all the books were locked in the office.
The KJ calls his show "Shadow Karaoke." He was dressed in a burgundy shirt under a black leather vest, blue jeans with leather chaps, and a hairdo straight out of a Pert Plus ad. He had a professional delivery, but did a poor job managing the rotation. He was constantly away from his post, and kept having to be called back to announce the next singer.
Nobody seemed to mind, however, as everyone there was regulars. This one gal sang "The Only One" by Melissa Etheridge and it got a bunch of people on the floor dancing. The house ringer was a gal named Ophelia who sang "Feeling Good" by Michael Buble. Shadow was so fired up by it that he did a cartwheel as he charged the stage and danced in front of her. It was pretty over the top.
Randomly, a familiar face got up couple singers later. It was Robert, the KJ from Greenlake's Little Red Hen. He sang Journey's "Separate Ways." Shadow put himself in the mix a couple songs later and belted out a solid performance of Bob Seger's "Night Moves."
His performance inspired me to sing the Boss. When my name was finally called, I sang my #1 standard, "Thunder Road." It was pretty awesome to sing on that big stage in the midst of that amplification. I could hear echoes of my voice coming from all angles as I sang. I don't normally care if the KJ likes my singing, but for some reason it mattered to me that Shadow take notice of my skills. But as soon as I took the stage, he stepped out for another smoke break. When I was done he was still out there, and someone had to go out and get him again. At least the bartender gave me props as I closed my tab. Good venue, shitty host.
Hayley's, 1712 Hewitt Ave, 425-374-7721, EVERETT