Five Nights, Five Karaoke Bars

Dont let the sun go down on me.

TWO MAXIMS WARM my heart whenever Im fraught with doubt about my lot in life: Those who can, do; those who cant, write reviews and No statue has been put up to a critic. Naturally, I mean warm my heart in the drop-the-blow-dryer-into-the-bathtub sense.

Sauntering onstage and unleashing some pretentious, indecipherable, extended metaphor about my ex in a sexy, detached Marlboro rasp? Im pretty sure the four horsemen of the hipster apocalypseOld, Fat, Wrinkled, and Uglywill throw me a good old-fashioned boot party before my first paying gig.

The only surrogate is karaoke. I spent five consecutive nights in five different karaoke venues last week and heard an MC summarize the experience as your chance to be a rock star ... for three minutes at a time. Thanks, MC Plato, but Ive developed my own enduring philosophies on hara-karaoke.

SUNDAYTWILIGHT EXIT, 2020 E. Madison St., 206-324-7462

The moment my acquaintance Austin informed the semipro, no-fucking-around Twilight regulars that this shongs goin out to Jee-shus, it was clear that all were in for a transcendent version of Creeds Higher. As I urged the masses to take me to a place where blind men see, Austin harmonized with a just-right, five-minute-and- 16-second RAAWRRRRRRRRGHHHH!!!

Our bro-down evidently had nothing on Avril Lavignes Sk8er Boi, during whichdespite the fact that my microphone was apparently never onI was brutally dry-humped by an exuberant lady who screamed, I fuckin love this song! mid-thrust. Trust me: My moves had nothing to do with this. The Twilight is the kind of place where Carrot Top comes off like Enrique Iglesias. Your pants may not survive.

MONDAYBAR, 1525 E. Olive Way, 206-322-1788

I arrived alone to find seven jocks playing billiards; I left vibing an undiscovered gem that I shall reluctantly espouse. Bars T-shaped stage, fog machine, off-Pine/Pike location, and nonexistent early evening crowd gave me the opportunity to growl, I wanna fuck you like an animal, in all Reznorian glory to . . . the Ms. Pac-Man machine. Come early enough and youll enjoy similar playlist autonomy.

Easy highlight: A guy in a Tool shirt performed, no shit, a Tool song. I complimented him earnestly in the bathroom, he asked if I was a cop, and we did something that may or may not have been illegal but ultimately put my body on lockdown until I finally breached ...

TUESDAYR PLACE, 619 E. Pine St., 206-322-8828

Walking home from my nightly booze n bullshit rounds, I often gaze up covetously at R Place. Every night seems to be an onslaught of No Doubt and gyrating silhouettes thatas a straight dude who hangs out with 85 percent straight dudes I stupidly disregard.

Id always assumed that Tuesday karaoke ignited such fervor, but the event was surprisingly subdued, awash in balladry and dedications. Thankfully, my cohorts, Heather June and Simon, applied electroshock. He literally shoved her off the stage during Dont Let the Sun Go Down on Me, igniting an hour-long pissing match that culminated when I negotiated Wild Wild West (my Heather duet) to bump P.I.M.P. (my Simon duet). Worse, Heather Junes mike was inexplicably shut off during said Escape Club classic. Not the best day for a woman who regularly owns the Twilight dance party covering Lita Ford, but considering the depth of my pre- karaoke jittersI was considering Elvising a bottle of valiuma home run for yours truly.

WEDNESDAYSUNSET TAVERN, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-784-4880

Rockaraoke: an entirely different beast. No TV screens. No vocal cues. Actual working musicians. Monster stage. Blinding lights. Only one sign-up per set. Everyone knows its impossible to drink enough to make your first attempt remotely tuneful, and I was not in company that I wanted to make a spectacle of myself before. Perfect recipe for a fuckup.

So I fucked up. I selected Enjoy the Silence and froze. Not choked froze; just meowed monotonously, looked at the guitarist like a bunny for every cue, stormed to the john afterward, dry heaved, then slumped back to my table in ignominy.

Having suitably alienated everybody, I drove back to Bar, met my friends Arlie and Kelley, and, in familiar, nonthreatening confines, blasted through the Strokes, Green Day, 50 Cent, and Limp Bizkit with such depraved gusto that the MC yelped Marshall (long story ...), youre a karaoke whore! If he only fucking knew.

THURSDAYFENIX UNDERGROUND, 323 Second Ave. S., 206-467-1111

Dream finale. Rusty, yesterdays rockaraoke axman, recognized me right away, coddled my ego, insisted that we try Silence again instead of Blue Monday, and voilຠI danced, I hit my spots, and he told everyone to give this guy a big fucking hand during the outro. For three minutes at a time, I was Cinderella. Maybe next week I can graduate to Ratt.

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