Speaking of musical violations

Pretty Lady’s recommendations aren’t universally hailed:

Pretty Lady has been remiss, once again. Months ago, she picked up a free CD in a charming little French café on 5th avenue and 11th street. Months later, she remembered to play it. Months later still, she is reporting that Clare Burson’s music is quite lovely, well worth listening to, and not a bit like Tara’s, for those of you who are still feeling violated and betrayed by Pretty Lady’s rougher tastes.

Actually, I thought Tara’s two songs were rather nice myself, not completely unlike how Sara McGlock-Land (or however you spell it) might sound with a smoking habit. But with music, as with so many things, one’s mileage always varies.

The Lady’s post reminded me of an amusing episode a few weeks ago when Big Chilly and the White Buffalo insisted on my meeting them at a bar that I’d never hitherto frequented despite living nearly on top of it for four or five years. It was next to the Mermaid, and apparently the plan was to commit karaoke again on an unsuspecting public. I’m not a karaoke fan – I first encountered it in Japan and I’m still shocked that it not only made it over here, but became popular – but the boys are genuine karaoke fiends, being Confirmed Performers.

The bar seemed three-quarters empty, but this was a little misleading because it was so big that there were actually a fair number of people there. The women tended to favor vaguely country songs I had never heard before, while the men were mostly singing old songs by people with names like Dan Fogelberg, which I didn’t know except for one guy’s “Hotel California”. Still, one woman did do an unexpectedly credible version of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”, while a random skinny guy did a great job at “So What’cha Want” by the Beastie Boys. Our fellow patrons seemed slightly taken aback when the three of us enthusiastically joined in the callbacks, but you can’t front on that and by the end of the song everyone had gotten into the spirit of things.

I can’t remember what songs the White Buffalo did, but he brought the house down as always on two out of three, while Big Chilly uncharacteristically butchered a Lenny Kravitz song. He did better on his other two, but it was still an off night for the big bass. After the WB provided a second Blue Hawaiian, I finally obliged them by first confusing the DJ by giving the name of Javert – “Jahvurt? Um… Javahrt” and then failing miserably at “Stars” from Les Miz.

But for the first and surely the last time, however, I managed to upstage the two of them at their favored game. Keep in mind, the musical theme for the evening was overwhelmingly soft and 70’s, so the DJ was visibly amused to put on “Down with the Sickness” for “Jahvert”. I’m not sure which was funnier, the look of total disbelief on the face of the Whitney girl followed by her collapse into helpless laughter during the matricidal rant, or that during the second verse, a rather intoxicated woman came up to the stage, sat down next to me and put her head on my shoulder for the rest of the song. Judging by the crowd’s initial reaction, they were as unfamiliar with Disturbed as I was with their Dan Fogelbert and so forth, but they came around and eventually seemed to appreciate this stretching of their musical boundaries.

Either way, it was the only time I’ve ever been enthusiastically applauded for a karaoke performance. Clearly, I’ve peaked and it’s time to end my career on its solitary high note.