Portland resident, ComicsAlliance editor, and insane karaoke addict Laura Hudson continues her 7-day karaoke marathon, hitting up a different Portland hotspot every night and reporting her experiences back to Blogtown.
If someone who doesn't go to karaoke regularly decides to sing a song like “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” it's entirely possible that this is very first time they've performed it, or even heard it at karaoke. If you go to karaoke all the time, however, song cliches become rapidly and gratingly apparent, so unless the person up at the mic happens to be Bonnie Tyler somehow reincarnated despite still being alive, it's kind of like listening to a word repeated so many times that it loses all meaning, as sung by the voice of Rebecca Black.
I do recognize, though, that this is not necessarily the perspective of everyone who goes to karaoke, or even most people. It's supposed to be fun, after all, so there's nothing wrong with people wanting to treat it as a casual thing where they get drunk with their friends and cue up really, really familiar songs they can all sing together in unison, especially at a like-minded karaoke venue with a like-minded audience. For these purposes, The Boiler Room is a pretty good venue.
There's a lot to recommend it: a respectable song list whose choices were significantly broader than those of the singers; song books that are as neat, well-organized as any I've seen; a pool table; a reasonably engaged audience and an enthusiastic KJ who was quick to pick up a tambourine to back up singers on appropriate songs and even compliment them off stage for a good performance.
When the air guitars came out, I had to admit that the evening actually turned the corner to being slightly incredible, and then almost liberating when I realized that I could attempt the worst song in karaoke history and the crowd would probably cheer me. Which is how I found myself singing the most ridiculously enthusiastic version of “Love Shack” I knew how to do, while a friend narrated the male part with his best impression of William Shatner. Cue applause.
I know that singing ironic versions of songs while everyone around you is being deeply, drunkenly sincere is kind of a dick move — or at least, my boyfriend thought so later after he showed up halfway through “Love Shack” and started dancing to it really earnestly — but like I said, I'm kind of a karaoke snob.
If you're not, you might really like Boiler Room.