Monday, February 15, 2010


I finally did it. After months of saying I would get around to it, I went to Karaoke. And it was good.

The venue: Silver City on the Danforth. The team: a couple of work-friends and their motley crew. The crowd: Average age 45, definitely not there for a beauty pageant. I'm not saying they were an ugly bunch, just that no one was dolled up for the occasion. People were there in old jeans and flannel shirts; baseball caps; one dude was wearing sweatpants. It was good - no pressure.

Ken and I arrived at 9:30, just after our friends showed up. The place was almost empty. Over the next half hour, as the karaoke host set up his computer, screens, and sound system, a steady trickle of people filled the small bar. A game of pool got going at the back, on a blue-felted table.

The woman who had invited us decided that I needed to be liquored up for the occasion, so she bought me a vodka and cranberry. I had only had a few sips of that drink when she decided we all needed to do a round of shots called Hurricanes. I'm not sure exactly what was in it, but it looked like a thunderstorm was brewing in the shot glass. Lightweight that I am, I nursed both drinks over the next three hours. Yes, I sipped my shot. You got a problem with that? Tough nuts.

The next order of business was to pick songs. I was handed a thick book of song titles listed by artist. Immediately, every song title that I've ever known fled from my brain. It was like I'd never heard of music before. I flipped through the catalogue feeling completely confused. The Hurricane wasn't helping either.

The host finally got all his gear set up, and the singing began. My friend went up first, gamely running through an Abba medly. She did alright. Then her boyfriend sang something I'd never heard before, a bluesy rock song, complete with dance moves. I was impressed. Then they called my name.

My first attempt was lame. No two ways about it. I tried to pick a simple song, but sadly I went for one out of my range. Apparently they can transpose the music if you request that ahead of time, but what did I know. I sang The Cure's Friday I'm In Love. I couldn't hit the low notes. When I was finished, the audience gave me a golf clap.

Things heated up shortly after that. Beer was flowing, and with it a seemingly endless supply of sad cowboy songs. There were a couple of old guys who stumbled up to howl out these long country ballads. When we couldn't stand it anymore, we went outside into the freezing night to watch my friend smoke.

The wince-inducing performances were interspersed with half-decent to amazing talent. One of my colleagues truly lived up to her reputation as a top-quality songstress. The only consistent thing seemed to be an overwhelming choice of melancholy lyrics. One song, and I'm paraphrasing here because I don't have a photographic memory, went something like this:

"There's a kid in the ghetto
and he's stuck in the ghetto
He's hungry and his nose is running
He's got no one to look after him.
Now he's growing up and joining a gang.
He's doing drugs and soon he'll get shot
or rot in jail. Boo hoo, life in the ghetto."

Sheesh! Lighten up people.

For my second chance at the mike, I went with Cyndi Lauper's Money Changes Everything. That one worked out a lot better. I belted it out. My only regret is that I don't know the freestyle part at the end very well, so I missed my chance to hold that one really long note. I know I can do it. I sing that one in the shower all the time.

After I nailed my song, I felt better. I got compliments from some of the regulars. So, yay! *fist pump*

We stayed until around 12:30, and then, before we sustained permanent hearing loss, said our goodbyes. Will we go back? Put it this way: I couldn't fall asleep because I was too busy compiling a list of songs I want to download onto my iPod so that I can learn them for next time.


Mone said...

I love Cyndi Laupers music, I could have sung with you, yeah. =)

DarcsFalcon said...

LOLOL I love your version of the song lyrics! Those rock!

I so admire you for getting up there and singing. I always envy people who have the stones to do that. :) Next time you'll have to get a video of it and post it on YouTube so we can all see and hear you. :)

Ily said...

Sounds like you can sing! Most of the people I know at the karaoke club practice endlessly in the comfort of their own homes before they sing and they do OK. If you went there well rehearsed with dance moves, they'd PAY you to sing!

I'm glad you had fun. :)

Anonymous said...

There is no more fun activity than drunken karaoke.

Anonymous said...

Nothing's more fun than karaoke after drinking a lot!

Nothing's more horrifying than HEARING karaoke after participants have been drinking a lot. ;)

Glad you had fun. That song you paraphrased sounds like it might've been Elvis Presley's "In the Ghetto". Which I think is sorta funny. But then, I like horror novels too.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

There's this old country song, "I got tears in my ears from lying on my back crying my eyes out over you." I've never actually heard it sung, but it sounds pretty funny. You should try that one!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I don't think I've participated in karaoke since college and there's likely a good reason for it. =)

There's a bar around here that has Live Band Karaoke ... yes, a live band plays the songs and helps sing the lyrics when you're, ahem, too inebriated to sing them yourself. I've watched that a couple times - it's pretty entertaining.

Sparkling Red said...

Mone: Cyndi Lauper is awesome. We could do "Time After Time" - that one is supposed to be a duet.

DarcsFalcon: I'm brave enough to perform once, for friends, drunks, and drunken friends. I know it'll be forgotten by morning. I'm not bold enough to post a video on YouTube.

Ily: I sing moderately well. On a scale from "This is pure torture!" to "Get this girl a recording contract!" I'm squarely in the middle. I think if I tried to sing and dance at the same time, it would all fall apart.

WIGSF: Maybe I'll see you at Silver City.

darcknyt: You're right! I just looked up those song lyrics, and it was that very song. Nice call!

Ron: I wonder if that's the same song that has "There's a tear in my beer" in the chorus. There seem to be a lot of songs like that.

G said...

Kewl....glad to hear that you had a good time participating in some extracurricular activities...

Who says that rock ain't dead?

Jenski, PhD said...

I have blankly flipped through a karaoke book before...then not sung. Glad your second song went better! You should post a good-karaoke songs list. :-)