The Hideout & Baby Ketten Reveal Pill Hill's Karaoke Scene to be--Surprise!--Very Different from Queen Anne's"/>
Since first discovering it in September, I've been back to Queen Anne's Spectator five times to sing at the Baby Ketten show. Last week I checked out Ketten's other residency at The Hideout on First Hill, which hosts karaoke the first Sunday of every month.
The Venue: The Hideout is a long bar with a high ceiling and artwork covering every wall. The bar takes up one side of the room and one long booth is on the other side. Since it was Sunday, I was hoping for a dead night, as there are about 50 songs I've been dying to sing that can only be found in Baby Ketten's catalog. But when I arrived at 8:45, the place was packed.
The Setup: The stage and KJ podium are located on the opposite corner from the entrance and look out to the entire room. There's a nice red curtain backdrop at a big projector screen that displays the lyrics above the singers.
The KJ: Ivan Terrazas isn't a flashy host, but he keeps the rotation moving. His shows are always busy and he knows how to manage a big crowd. He has a great singing voice, but knows to keep himself out of the mix when there are a lot of singers on deck. He's also very friendly and approachable.
The Catalog: The Baby Ketten catalog is another example of quality beating quantity. It's not that thick a book (about 150 pages organized by Artist), but I am constantly finding selections I have never seen before. And Ivan is constantly revising it. This latest book was just updated a couple months ago. It has all the essential 80's and Classic Rock stuff, but it's totally geared to a younger crowd, as it has all the latest pop and Indie stuff you're not going to find anywhere else.
The Rotation: The young Capitol Hill crowd is a completely different scene than the sports bar atmosphere of the Spectator. Of the 28 songs I saw performed, I'd only heard of half of them. Ivan seemed much more at home here. He opened the night with a sound check of Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like a Hole." Then he announced he already had 15 slips up. The first rotation was 12 singers deep, and I wasn't able to stick around to see the end of the third rotation. I got up 9th and 28th.
The Performers: The bartender, Ginger Alex, was the best overall performer of the night. She delivered awesome renditions of "Call Your Girlfriend" by Robyn and "Glory Box" by Portishead. The best male performer was this dude named Chris G who brought the house down with "Jump Around" by House of Pain. This other gal, Mala, is a Baby Ketten follower. I've seen her sing a couple times at Spectator. She sang Rilo Kiley's "Portions For Foxes" and her standard, "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People. My favorite performance of the night was this dude that sang "It's So Easy" by Guns 'n' Roses.
The Audience: It was a very energetic crowd. There were about eight separate groups on the floor and the focus wasn't completely on the performers. But after every singer was done, people were sure to give applause. I sang a Beatles song i'd never sung before, "Dig a Pony," and this sophisticated crowd really appreciated it. I heard a guy in the back tell his buddy, "That was fuckin' good." It made my night.
The Hideout, 1005 Boren Avenue, 903-8480, FIRST HILL