Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lounge Lizard

When I notice that a bar or restaurant has live entertainment, I frequently pass it by. This is especially odd considering I used to want to BE an entertainer. But the problem I have with live performance is that it is usually too loud, too amateurish, or just too uninteresting.

In the last week, I've been to two eating/drinking establishments where live entertainment was provided. The first was on a weeknight, when the family trekked up to the local pizza joint for a quick meal. Unbeknownst to us, they had a live vocalist, and as he set up, I imagined that soon we would be unable to hear a darn thing, including our own screams as we ran from the place.

However, we were really pleasantly surprised. His vocals to music ratio was wonderful, and he had a smooth, easy voice that leant itself very well to the Sinatra covers he was doing. All in all, a big thumbs up for the live entertainment!

With this experience, I decided not to flee when Jen and I met at the Peak City Grill and Bar for our "every-four-weeks-on-the-Friday-night-we-used-to-work-together" post-work drinks rendez-vous. There was a live singer -- a woman this time -- with her karaoke machine, and although she was a bit loud, I wasn't scared. I decided to stick it out. Besides, I got free beer last time. You don't just abandon a joint like that because some chick is warbling out a tune or two.

For the most part, we were able to ignore her, but as it got later, she got bolder. No... not bolder... weirder. I was terrified to realize that she was singing Out Here On My Own from the musical movie sensation of the seventies, Fame. Anyone who has ever auditioned for a high school or community theater production has heard this song at least five times. It has to be one of the most popular audition songs ever, along with Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid. This is because every girl between the ages of 9 and 18 thinks she sounds good singing these songs. I was one of those girls. And now I know WHY we all think we sound good singing them. They have about five notes between them, and they are all within our vocal range. In fact, I think 50% of MEN could sing both those songs and stay on key. They are comparable to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, only more annoying.

And there she was... the live entertainment in a bar in downtown Apex, singing that horrid audition song. And guess what. She was flat. She sang other stuff okay, but she was FLAT singing the seventies' equivalent to Row, Row, Row Your Boat. So it was annoying and flat. Like a bad tire.

But wait, there's more. She followed it with Get Down, Boogie Oogie Oogie. And then she had to round out her seventies set with a song from the Broadway Musical (and now a major Motion Picture) Chicago. I love this show. I directed it in college. I know every line and every number. The show has some great songs that lend themselves well to lounge acts. All That Jazz, Mr. Cellophane, and even My Own Best Friend. However, she chose none of these songs. She chose When You're Good To Mama. If you've seen the movie, it's Queen Latifah's number.

Let me see if I can come up with a good analogy here. Picking this song from this musical to perform in a bar is akin to picking, say, The Lonely Goatherder from The Sound of Music. Sure, it's a catchy little fun tune... but take it out of its context, and it's just downright odd.

I'm going back to avoiding live music.

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