The mark of a great karaoke night is how little you recollect about it the next day. Last Monday at the Benbow Room was a huge success, because I could hardly remember shit. Luckily, I woke up to eight drunken notes I'd texted myself throughout the show, and had friends there who were able to remind me of the other key highlights.
Here's what I recall: the three shots of Cazadores, the tallboy of Rainier, and the glass of red wine I had at my buddy Mochi's before even setting foot in the place. It was the night before his birthday, and we were celebrating. I also remember how much I loved the setup when we did arrive. The stage is located in the back bar, and tables are arranged to face the stage to provide the feel of a real audience.
We were there to see the Karaoke Kelli show, but she and her sidekick Sierra must have taken the night off, because a dude named Ian was hosting. He was kind of a goofball, and I remember him acting like a bit of a wiseass to Mochi and thinking to myself "We could be in for a long night," but Moch took it easy on him. Our buddies Tony and Pauline joined us shortly after the show started, and we promptly took a shot of Jäger before and after our first songs. My last solid memory is realizing it was only 10 p.m. and thinking to myself how miserable I was going to feel the next day.
Here's what I was reminded of: We entered to Ian singing "Old Time Rock & Roll." A guy in his late 40s with a Flock of Seagulls hairdo in a blouse with the Catholic Sacred Heart printed all over it followed with "Mad World" by Gary Jules. He sang it passionately, but Mochi thought it was boring. My first number was "Fallin' Again" by Alabama. I had high hopes for it, but midway through, I realized it was a total bore as well.
Mochi threw on a mini–cowboy hat he grabbed from Kelli's prop shelf and got the night going with "Amie" by Pure Prairie League. Ian went up to Tony and gave him shit because he forgot to put his name on his request slip. He asked Tony if the real Kenny Rogers was going to be walking in (it's a good thing we were all in a good mood that night, because he was really asking to be fucked with right back). Tony always comes through with gems, and his rendition of "Lucille" was fantastic. Not to be outdone by her hubby, Pauline delivered my favorite performance of the night, Loretta Lynn's "Don't Come Home a-Drinkin'."
By 11 p.m., the place had filled. The sound quality was fine from the floor, but for the first couple rotations we couldn't hear our voices while singing onstage. It was as if the mike was turned off. A guy named Ernesto sang Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are." He had an incredibly rich baritone voice, but was never even remotely in key. He reminded us of Ted Williams, the homeless guy with the perfect announcer's delivery. Ian sang Guns N' Roses' "Patience," and it was super-choppy but pretty entertaining. It was fun to finally come across a KJ who embraced his vocal limitations.
As midnight hit, Mochi delivered a show-stopping rendition of "Ride Like the Wind" and sang both Christopher Cross' and Michael McDonald's parts. That's the way to ring in your birthday.