KaraokeJournal: Christ you know it ain't easy

For once the userpic is appropriate!

I sang at C II both of the last couple of nights. Monday night, I was by myself and just hung out there briefly: did Joe Jackson's "Breaking Us In Two" (which I don't think I'd heard in 20 years or more, I just had it stuck in my head that day and gave it a try; decent not great) and "The Ballad of John and Yoko" (because I've been listening to the Beatles reissues a bunch, and I admire the fact that John wrote a formally uncoverable song--Chopsticks' book includes a ton of Beatles, although not the two songs I wanted to do most, "You Won't See Me" and "I'm Looking Through You").

Last night I was part of a big group, and there was a sizeable crowd, and I stupidly didn't write my name on the second slip I turned in, so I only got to do two songs in almost 3 hours: Dave Edmunds' version of "Girls Talk" (it's slightly too high for me, and there is that fakeout key-change at the beginning that screwed me up) and ABBA's "Our Last Summer" (as a tribute to summer officially having ended; I sang it in low range, thinking I'd jump up to high range for the final verse, only to find that... THE KARAOKE VERSION OMITS THE FINAL VERSE. WTF. That's the dramatic payoff for the whole thing--the "screw you, soccer dad I used to love" part! Otherwise it's just a sweet little reminiscence!).

Hoping to go to the karaoke blowout at SPX this Saturday night. Any requests?
the horror!

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Tell me something, anonymously. Whatever you want me to know.

KaraokeJournal: c-c-c-c-c-c-c'mon

Karaoke two out of three nights! First up: the Alibi for post-Stumptown fun with Liz & M.K. & Nicole et al. on Sunday. Damn, that place filled up fast--sang right near the beginning (my old reliable "If She Knew What She Wants"), then waited for 2 hours until I got to sing again. We were actually starting to leave, but the KJ made the international hand signal for "but wait, you're next!" So I did ABBA's "The Visitors," which was new to me but went decently, then scrammed.

Last night I went to Voicebox for the first time--it seems to be Portland's only private-room karaoke joint, and Tuesday nights they have a $10 all-you-can-sing special, plus it was my friend Michelle's birthday. Advantages: private room, disco ball, pitch control, nice staff. Disadvantages: a small and not-very-deep book, all of which seemed to be from vaguely disreputable sources (several songs were semi-illegible from onscreen digital glitches; in two hours I don't think I heard a single Sound Choice track). I did, however, get to attempt a couple of songs I'd never done before. I'd never even seen the Smiths' "What Difference Does It Make?" in a karaoke book before; I'm pretty sure the karaoke recording was pitched down a couple of steps, but that's just as well, because I'd totally forgotten that the last half-minute of singing is all stratospheric falsetto ("my sacred one..."), which I could barely hit as it was.

And then I tried George Michael's "I Want Your Sex," which I had surprisingly never seen anybody do at karaoke before somebody sang it on Sunday. It's... very singable. Lots of stuff that sounds difficult to pull off and actually isn't (like the yodely leap in the middle of "tell me you're gonna regret iiit!"), although listening to the George Michael version just now reminds me that he's a better singer than I ever noticed 23 years ago. Only disadvantage is a long instrumental break where there's nothing to do if you don't have somebody to write "EXPLORE MONOGAMY" in lipstick on your back. Might have to do that one again sometime.

Best performance of the night was laddertostars nailing "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand," though.

KaraokeJournal: this is what she said

I hadn't done karaoke in way too long, but Jacq convinced me to get out of the house last night & join a crew at the Alibi that included Sarah Oleksyk and Derek Kirk Kim, and how does one say no to that?

Sadly, the place filled up very quickly thanks to a birthday party and some kind of Pearl Jam-related Yelp gathering. Only got to sing two songs in three hours (although I did get to see Sarah doing Van Halen and Derek doing Al Green); neither were songs I'd done before...

Pet Shop Boys' "What Have I Done to Deserve This?"--I've been wanting to sing this for ages, and nobody I've asked knows the Dusty Springfield part. So I attempted to sing both parts. MISTAKE. I forgot that not only are there harmonies all over the place, but the entire final third of the song is a pile of overdubbed vocal parts. I'd do this again with a Dusty (or a Neil), but not by myself.

Jilted John's "Jilted John." Couldn't believe they had it, but I was not going to pass up the opportunity to sing it. Went okay, I think.

KaraokeJournal: nono it goes "since you went away..."

My first karaoke in MONTHS last night--up at Chopsticks III with Laura Hudson, Jacq Cohen and a late-arriving Sarah Oleksyk, along with a bunch of their friends. I sang Willie Nelson's "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other" (probably would've been better if I'd held off until more people were there, but let's face it, it's not really a singer's song or a high-energy number), Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me" (on Brian Eno's say-so, but I'd forgotten how high it goes--had to switch to falsetto on the second line of every verse, which didn't quite work), Berlin's "The Metro" (went pretty well), and an old favorite: ABBA's "Does Your Mother Know" (for which I had dancers!).

I wanted to do Pet Shop Boys' "What Have I Done To Deserve This" as a duet, but nobody at my table knew Dusty Springfield's part.

I think I was there for close to 3 1/2 hours, which meant I was out way too late.

KaraokeJournal: how was the show?

I don't usually do karaoke on a Saturday night, especially at Chopsticks, but laddertostars was going, and so was her sister, and a bunch of their friends came too, and I needed a break. Only got to do two songs in an hour and a half, and the ambient noise got so loud I had to put in my earplugs. But I did my old fave "Ça Plane Pour Moi" (they finally have it at CII!--the other bar patrons did the oo-oo-oo bit) and a new one for me, Charley Pride's "Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger," possibly the most passive-aggressive song ever:

Science Says

the inevitable meme

Via at least a dozen of my friends:
Take a picture of yourself right now.
Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair...just take a picture.
Post that picture with NO editing.
Post these instructions with your picture.
Science Says

a personal message

Dear home-schooling freak who's currently boring the pants off his two kids at the table next to mine at Starbucks in a very loud voice: you can teach them about Biblical history all you want, that's fine, but when a Hank Williams song comes over the PA and you tell them that he invented norteño music, I am tempted to throw my matcha-shot Vivanno at you.

KaraokeJournal: nuts and berries

Jacq was kind enough to ferry me up to the How Can Be Lounge last night, where we sat with Sarah and Matt. I like the atmosphere of that place on Monday nights (lots of singers who are terrible and totally don't care because they're having such a good time), and the KJ was terrifyingly good--did more than justice to both Jeff Buckley's "Grace" and Queen's nearly-impossible-to-sing "Somebody to Love." And then got upstaged himself by some dude doing Prince's "The Beautiful Ones."

I tried three songs that were new to me: the Traveling Wilburys' "Handle With Care" (very singable, although my attempt to do different voices for the Harrison, Orbison and Dylan parts didn't work so hot), Electronic's "Getting Away With It" (hadn't heard it in at least five years, maybe more, and it's not exactly a singer-centric song, but it was fun to recall), and Talking Heads' "(Nothing But) Flowers" (a really awful karaoke video--a David Byrne soundalike guide vocal played the whole time, and the lyrics slowly scrolled up the screen, plus I forgot that there's a 2-minute guitar solo in the middle, although that seemed to be the song my tablemates liked best). Not likely to reprise any of them in the near future.