The Venue: Tuesday night was my last chance to find a new spot to sing before the snow hit Seattle. Just before midnight with only hours to spare, I drove from my house in Greenwood all the way to West Seattle to sing at A Terrible Beauty.
Taking into account the distance and the impending storm, I understood the two shots of Cazadores I usually take with my first beer to help loosen and charge me up could not be enjoyed on this night.
The Book: There were many song binders laid out on tables throughout the bar. Half were organized by artist, and the other half by song title. The artist catalog was 174 pages thick.
The Setup: Just like their original Renton location, this is a gorgeous Irish Pub furnished in wall-to-wall dark wood. They have an elevated stage located in the corner in front of the windows that look out onto California Avenue. From the stage, the performers sing out to the entire bar. There is a monitor onstage and a big plasma TV above the bar that displays the lyrics. They have a solid sound system and the microphones sound very good.
The KJ: Karaoke Kelli hosts Tuesday nights here and Wednesdays at the Renton location. I became an instant fan of hers last fall during a slow Monday at the Skylark, where she, her co-host Si-err-ahh and I wore funny hats (along with other props drawn from her costume rack) and traded off a bunch of Beatles songs for two hours. Si-err-ahh wasn't there this time, but the bartender, Krystal, filled that backup role nicely.
The Audience:There were around 20 people spread throughout the room. Everyone seated along the bar had a direct angle at the performers, but no one was paying much attention to the show. It was a casual crowd of mostly guys drinking beers and shooting the shit.
The Rotation: Six male and three female vocalists made up the roration. I got up three times within in the first hour I was there.
The Performances: The first couple songs I caught were Hall & Oates numbers. A dude in his 30's named Ian sang "She's Gone," then a Filipino named Reg (who could pass as Manny Pacquiao's twin) totally nailed "Sara Smile." Everyone was pretty good in the sense that there were a lot of creative song choices, and everyone tried their best. There weren't any jokers that got up to as a goof to intentionally sound like shit. The most random number was a guy that did the early '80s classic, "Lunatic Fringe" by Red Rider.
My voice was solid but my songs picks were lame compared to the energized numbers performed by everyone that sang before me. And the lack of booze in me directly affected my ability to grab the attention of the crowd. I delivered what I thought was a pretty good rendition of Howard Jones, "No One Is to Blame." but it barely got any applause.
Ian's best number was "Love Lies Bleeding" by Elton John. Kelli, Krystal, and this gal Lindsay took turns singing with each other. Their best offerings were "Living Room" by Tegan and Sara, "Blister in the Sun" by Violent Femmes, and Roxy Music's "Love is the Drug." The last singer was called up at 1:20 a.m. Kelli would have taken it later, but everyone was done at that point.
A Terrible Beauty
A Terrible Beauty, 4752 California Ave SW, 453-4066, WEST SEATTLE