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Thursday, Oct. 14, 2004 10:07 pm

now playing 10-14-04

art1484

During a recent excursion to a downtown nightclub, I was accosted by a local musician who was more than a little disturbed at the prevalence of karaoke nights in our Pub Crawl calendar.

"That's not live music," he declared. "It shouldn't be in with the bands." For fear that I might not get the full story, I didn't tell him that I put the listings together. "Anybody can do that," our talented friend continued, "but it takes ability and practice to get good enough to play in band."

He was beginning to sound a bit whiny, but I had to admit he had a point. Yes, anybody can get up and sing, but unless they're three or more sheets to the wind, they usually don't -- and if they do it at that stage of inebriation, it may well be the best performance of the night. Actually, a good number of karaoke singers are quite talented, and it does take some nerve to get up without a protective band coating and sing to an audience. On the other hand, there are those (and you have no idea who you are) who are convinced that they are Sinatra or Patsy Cline reincarnated. We shouldn't interfere with the harmless beliefs and convictions of others.

My only personal experience with karaoke came in New Mexico, just over the border from Texas, in a little town I no longer care to remember. Drawn in by the half-lit outdoor sign and a need to restabilize after just driving through a West Texas hailstorm that had my van's exterior looking like a lunar landscape, we stumbled into a karaoke evening. I sang "I Will Survive" (Gloria Gaynor, not Cake) and really had a blast. My buddy Jason Eklund did "Alley Oop" and had the crowd eating out of his hand. The next day we swore a pact to never tell anyone what we had done, so please remember, mum's the word.

My advice to my complaining musician friend was to get out of town and have fun at a karaoke night, then use his newfound empathy to allow his fellow human beings to be all that they can be. Singing is believing.

Please feel free to enjoy any and all of the many karaoke adventures that are -- and will remain -- listed in the Pub Crawl calendar.

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