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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Five St. Louis Karaoke Bars in Five Days: The Diary of a Sing-Along Addict

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 7:50 AM

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The bar is silent until 9 p.m., when the KJ starts playing videos before calling the first singer. A guy who seems to be a regular does "Slide" by the Goo Goo Dolls, and the bright white lights remain on while he sings. I'm growing increasingly jealous of the KJ's permanent setup with all the monitors and speakers, and the attention whore in me is transfixed by the sign that says "Your performance can be recorded on DVD!" Mental note: Bring gay friend here to record "Suddenly Seymour."

Except for the douchey business-dude trio in the corner, the small audience proudly claps for all singers, and I'm at the mic within 30 minutes. I've got the third in a string of '90s songs, and I can see Alanis' angst about Uncle Joey reaching the five spectators in front of me. You guys, except for the weird barricade in front of the stage, this is downright pleasant; Double D's isn't the suckfest I remember at all, at least on a Wednesday!

A stocky guy sings "Under the Sea," a mom-type does "Gunpowder and Lead" and a dude in a pink polo shirt kicks ass on "Who Knew?" Everyone gets the clap in the best way possible, and I'm kind of forgetting about my crankiness. I sing "Maps" and "Angel of Harlem" before finally succumbing to exhaustion, leaving shortly before 11 p.m. You know, I kind of like this place now.

Night 4: Carson's Sports Bar & Restaurant, 1712 S. Ninth Street

Bias: Twitter friends have pumped up Carson's big time. Chance of return: Slightly higher than Joey B's, which isn't saying much.

My voice is starting to die. As much as I want to live Gleefully, I'm just not used to singing every damn evening. Good thing I'm going to Carson's tonight, which everyone on Teh Twitterz tells me about once they find out I do karaoke. Based on their recommendations, I'm expecting good vibes and a stress-free environment.

We arrive around 9:15 p.m. to what feels like a middle school dance -- singers on the right, grizzled bar guys on the left and miles of space in between. We want to leave room for Jesus, so we take seats on the right and gawk at the Blues game on the flat-screens. Borrowing a songbook from the large group celebrating something in the back, we feel like we're reading Latin -- songs are listed by title instead of by artist. It's been quite a while since I've encountered this, and my brain just doesn't want to register the shift; I get frustrated when I try to look at all available Huey Lewis songs but realize that I have to remember the names of each of them. Sigh.

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