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 beers at the Sunset and three Bombay Sapphire sodas and a Headbutt 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 who filled in the small, triangular room nicely. KJ Sweet Leo kept the six-singer rotation moving along steadily.
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. 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 tried a newer number (a song released within the past 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." The pick was 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—especially this guy named Peter, who attempted "The Warrior" by Patty Smyth and Scandal and got his ass completely handed to him. The best random cut sung by a dude was "Valerie" by the Zutons.
I stuck to my most proven stuff for the rest of the night, and sang a redeeming rendition of Spring- steen's "Thunder Road" that brought high-fives all around. After midnight my friend Cisco 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.