Perhaps the highlight of Portland hightlights was Karaoke.
On Saturday night to celebrate my sister’s looming birthday Dwane, Alicia, Sarah, Katherine (a roller girl – here after referred to as An Inconvenient Ruth), and I sang our hearts out at the Boiler Room in Portland.
Something about West Coast Karaoke: It’s not like east coast karaoke. My east coast karaoke experiences have all basically been like this: a singer gets up on stage and rocks or does not rock. On the west coast, at least at this bar, not only did the singer rock or not rock, the CROWD DANCED AND SANG ALONG. They got into it. It was EPIC.
Alicia started us off with Heartbreaker. The warm up songs were done with a smaller crowd in the room so the resultant reaction was warm but small. Frankly Alicia owned the tune. Next up, I ran through a quick Audioslave tune. Also fun, but still quiet.
Then the crowds started gathering. While we all did some pretty epic songs, the best were as follows:
Alicia: Brandi Carlile – the story
Dwane: Crash test Dummies – mm mm mm mm
Sarah: Wild thing
An Inconvenient Ruth: a pat benatar tune. The title escapes me at the moment
Me: Toadies – Possum Kingdom
Let’s talk a little bit about these. Alicia sang Brandi first. It starts as a slow song, but when it kicked… oh man. Alicia belted it like a champ. The crowd was all singing with her through the chorus and there was intense dancing. She was amazing.
I was up next with Possum Kingdom. I’d never done this song at Karaoke, but I knew it well from the band, so I felt pretty comfortable. I danced heavily and sang it with as much umph as I could. As the song ended, and this isn’t a lie, women lined up to hug me.* One said “please, I have to hug you.” Portland? awesome.
Dwane sang Crash Test Dummies next and… out of nowhere… appeared a man with a sparkling silver wig standing beside Dwane. The wigged man raised his hands and conducted a choir of Portland residents through the chorus of the song. Dwane’s low voice worked pretty darn well with the tune and the added bonus of the random sparkling wig dude was staggering.
Sarah had an amazing night. She started with wild thing, which I highlight because it was the more sung of her two songs. She got a lot of fans from this first song, especially two tall blonds who seemed to want to do more than just chat with Sarah afterwards. She also befriended the neighboring table who, for Sarah’s next song, all got up and stood in a huge line behind her singing along with the chorus. The bar was united and Sarah was their queen.
This was the first time An Inconvenient Ruth sang at Karaoke. She seemed a little nervous, but she got up just the same and belted some Pat Benatar. I don’t remember the title because it was late, I was jet lagged tired, and I don’t know Pat Benatar very well. BUT! She sang it with gusto and she deserves many accolades.
I can’t tell you how much fun it was to sing with my sis and her friends for her Birthday. Alicia’s last song of the night was Barracuda. A song that has a range so vast that many tremble in its presence… but not Alicia. no no. Alicia punched the accelerator down and plowed through the song with unparalleled power. Rock knows no name but Alicia DiDonato Paulsen.
Someday I will explore more west coast Karaoke. This is a promise.
*three women and one dude named Rob who really seemed to appreciate me maybe even a little too much