As a sometimes observer and never participant of karaoke, I may not be the most qualified person in the world to write hard and steadfast rules for the game. However, after a karaoke outing over the weekend I've got some ideas. They're not quite guidelines, they're a little more firm than that, so lets just throw spelling to the wind and call them rulez:
1. Don't pick a song whose words you don't actually know.
This seems obvious right? Sadly, it's apparently not obvious to everyone. Now, I don't mean you have to have the song absolutely memorized, but at least be able to quote the chorus without the aid of the original.
2. Know your audience.
Unless you're really, really, really good (we're talking professional opera-singer good here) stay away from the ballad. It's got sentimental value, I get it. But that's why you've got a mirror and a hairbrush. This is karaoke--we're drunk and we want to dance, please don't bum the rest of us out.
3. Remember, you are not Whitney Houston.
"I Wanna Dance With Somebody" is the only exception.
4. Get drunk.
Responsibility is important. However, if you've got plans to get on stage to rock you're going to need some liquid courage.
5. Not that drunk.
Being wasted enough to do a Billy Idol impression is great. Being wasted enough to do a Jim Morrison in New Haven is not.
Got your own rulez? Lemme know. I'm trying to build up the guts to (someday) get up there myself.
Karokelistings.com has a whole database of karoke around Albuquerque and the US (it's good to do out of town where no one knows you). Is it up to date? Probably not...
Karaoke + WiFi + Friendly Bartender = Happy Writer
Options to sing Goth Karaoke in addition to the expected classics + Entertaining Company + Friendly Bartender = Very Happy Writer
I love that I live in a burg where I can text a bar owner to verify that there's WiFi in the bar before heading over with my lap-tot. (Tiny lap-top) Once I get the verification, I head over to where people are already singing VNV Nation and Wolfsheim mixed in with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Cyndi Lauper. DJs Sparquis and Twig keep the mood fun and though they are dressed in black and singing Ministry and Dead Can Dance, they'll still play that song that gets most everyone to dance in a line. (I'm told it's called the "Cupid Shuffle.")
Albuquerque Rocks, and tonight, Retro's Bar is a good place to be. I'm having a "Vanilla Coke" and working on my book in a booth in front of the stage, with just enough distraction to make it feel like a mini-vacation, even though my word count is going up exponentially.
Let me make a small plea to my fellow New Mexican bar-goers: find your neighborhood bar and go to it. Give your hard working DJs credit where credit is due (these guys are going out of their way to have any song you want to sing, even if it will never be played on local radio outside of KUNM) and spend your money locally. Yeah, I want this bar (and other local Burque spots) to be here in five years, I've got some songs to dedicate on the mic, and they don't rock it like they do here anywhere else that I've found, and I've been looking. It's not perfect, but it feels like home- at least on Tuesday nights. This isn't an ad for Retro's specifically, it's a beacon of light to let you know that your home bar is out there, and I think that it might be around the corner for you: get out there and look.
(Around the corner for me is about a ten minute drive since don't live in the heights. I also frequent the Albuquerque Press Club and love Gecko's on Academy when I'm in a gastropub mood. Your great local spot is out there, go find it! Two cute drunk girls are singing Mariah Carey's "Hero" to you right now, get inspired. Already found it? Post a comment and share the wealth!)