Autumn is my favorite time of year to karaoke for the simple fact that all major sports collide in this season, and most every night there is something good to watch at the bar while waiting for the singing to begin. The Iron Bull in Wallingford has karaoke every Monday. I checked things out the night the Bears beat the Lions on Monday Night Football and the Giants skunked the Cardinals to take game 7 of the NLCS.
This has always been a great venue to catch a game. The Bull used to be Goldie's on 45th, and was one of the first bars I would frequent regularly back in the mid-90s. When I walked in the big wide open area still reminded me of the old place, but the addition of the rows upon rows of the LCDs in the back has transformed it into a true sports bar.
There were around 25 people the Monday I went, but everyone was spread out, so the place looked more barren than it actually was. Front and center where the stage was located sat a table of Bears fans, and another table contained Lions fans, each group wearing their team's jerseys. In the game area on the entrance side there were a couple dudes shooting pool, and on the other side in the TV section were four ladies hanging out. I grabbed a seat at a tall table near the bar, where all the regulars were bellied up.
After football concluded, the KJs started setting up, and I was happy to see Joel Harvey from the Rickshaw was there. His host that night was a seasoned KJ named Ken who used to call rotations at the Mandarin Gate. I got to hang with Joel for a bit and am very excited to report the Rickshaw will finally be re-opening tonight [November 2] after six months of repair owing to a grease fire that burned their kitchen down in March.
I wasn't expecting much out of this crowd at first. It didn't seem like anyone was there to sing, but as soon as the show kicked off, the sports fans proved me wrong. The first singer was a skinny guy in a Calvin Johnson jersey who delivered a super fired-up rendition of Cypress Hill's "How I Could Just Kill a Man" as his buddy in a Matt Stafford jersey cheered him on. Not to be outdone, someone on the Bears' side sang a rock-solid version of Elvis Presley's' "Please Love Me." Then the happiest guy in the room, this guy in a San Francisco Giants cap, did Gaga's "Edge of Glory" to celebrate being on the brink of his team's second World Series championship in three years.
Around the second rotation, a group of five who looked in their mid-20s appeared at the long, narrow table to my left and took over the show. Their selections were so good it made me stick around to see what they were going to break out next. They also had a ringer among them: His name was Scott, he had a voice like Bobby Darin, and he looked like Ezra Klein. He performed the best "New York, New York" I've ever seen by anyone who wasn't Filipino or over 50 years old.
The Iron Bull, 2121 N 45th Street, 453-3901, WALLINGFORD