Karaoke, Ravioli & Spandau Ballet on Leary Way"/>
It had been almost two years since my buddy Tim first told me that Medin's Ravioli Station on Leary Way hosted a karaoke night. I live just two miles away and stopped in for lunch a couple times when they first opened back in the '90s. And from what I remembered, I couldn't imagine there being fun, party-time karaoke going on in that quaint little restaurant.
Last week, after a couple of beers at the Sunset and three Bombay Sapphire sodas and a Headbutt (served up by Brucie Bruce himself) at the Eastlake Bar & Grill, I finally walked into what is now known as Ravioli Station Trainwreck crocked and ready to sing around 10 p.m. This place is nothing like what it was: It's been transformed into a bar, and a pretty ghetto one at that. I fell in love with it instantly.
There was a younger crowd of about a dozen people, mostly regulars, who filled in the small triangular room nicely. Their KJ, Sweet Leo, kept the six-singer rotation moving along steadily. Leo noticed I was a newcomer, and came up and visited with me as I searched for my first song. He was very welcoming and totally enthusiastic about the gig he's had there for over a year and a half.
It was the first time I'd set foot in a karaoke bar in almost two weeks. Within that time I had five rehearsals and two real gigs with the band I'm in. My confidence was at an all-time high, and I felt I delivered my first number, Spandau Ballet's "True," at such a professional level that I was ready to call it a night right then. But it was too good a crowd to bail on.
These two gals, Jackie and Kathleen, sang at least 15 songs between them during the time I was there. Every other song was either them doing a solo or a duet with someone, and they seemed most inspired when delivering country selections.
For my second offering, I stepped way out of my "old" comfort zone and tried a newer number (which for me means a song released within the last 15 years), "Answering Bell" by Ryan Adams. It was a simple enough arrangement, but Adams' pitch is way above my range, so I ended up sounding very "karaoke." That brought me back down to earth. The pick was also too obscure for the audience, and I ended up losing them.
The other male performers, Sweet Leo included, weren't the best vocalists, but they did go all-out with every song they performed and received a lot of love for their effort--espcially this guy named Peter, who attempted "The Warrior" by Patty Smyth and Scandal and got his ass completely handed to himself by it. The best random cut sung by a dude was "Valerie" by the Zutons.
I stuck to my most proven stuff for the remainder of the night, and sang a redeeming rendition of Springsteen's "Thunder Road" that brought me high-fives all around. After midnight, Cisco, a friend of mine from the old Luau days, arrived, and he and Sweet Leo capped off the night with awesome duets of "After the Love Has Gone" by Earth Wind & Fire and "I'll Be There" by the Jackson 5.
Ravioli Station Trainwreck, 4620 Leary Way NW, 789-6680, BALLARD