Karaoke-dokey DAY 7 June 14th
by Rachel Enger
Suze and I went to two places: Stadium Club, and Fuller’s (which used to be Dark Horse); both are in Chandler. And both are sports bars, something Chandler seems to excel in providing.
There is one area of the large venue dedicated to karaoke. This karaoke area was kind of cramped, lots of tables and booths. The KJ console was located in one corner, and several monitors were placed around, easily visible to all seated in this area. There is also a patio, leading from the karaoke area.
A few steps up from this karaoke dining area, there’s more seating overlooking it, and adjacent to a bar. In a separate area toward the back of the place, there are yet more tables, stools, and pool tables. This part of the restaurant and the patrons were totally distinct from the karaoke atmosphere.
A bar without karaoke?
At these large venues, there tends to be one area in which the karaoke fans congregate. In addition, there are lots of folks there just to enjoy the bar, without the karaoke. This is something I vaguely remember doing…going to a bar or restaurant with friends, without karaoke. Now the Suzer has confided to me, she doesn’t particularly like this kind of arrangement, preferring instead to be hanging out with karaoke fans exclusively. Maybe it’s distracting to have all the other rooms, and the disinterested patrons. But I don’t mind. In fact, depending upon the place, I kind of like there being so much else going on, and more people to hob-nob with should I choose to.
Just right for fun
I do, however, have an opinion about the karaoke singers list or rotation. Even though, you can sing often if there are fewer than ten on the list, there isn’t usually a party atmosphere. With this few people in rotation, there are usually small disparate groups, and it tends to be quieter. If the ten people, however, are all acquainted and sitting together or near one another, then the enthusiasm can build. More than twenty singers though, and you will have to wait a while to sing. You may only get a couple songs in after spending all night in the bar. So…I like it somewhere between more than ten, and less than twenty. If there are about fifteen singers in rotation, even if it peaks at 20+, it means you get to sing plenty, and you get to hang out with groups of people that are typically boisterous and fun-loving. But then again, who doesn’t love fun?
The set-up and KJ
Starz was the provider at Stadium Club this Friday, and we’re familiar with their song book. Their searchable list is also available online. A really good feature. The KJ this night was Bob. I don’t remember if he sang or not, but he must have. All the Starz KJs do. He kept the rotation going, but didn’t seem to circulate much among the crowd. This may have been due to how difficult it was to get around the tables and get to people easily.
Should we stay or should we go…?
We didn’t stay long, and I only sang one song: Mercy (by Duffy). I tried to work the crowd, going up the steps to the elevated area, and down again over by the KJ, and past all the tables. The requisite dancing rule satisfied. The planned duet with Suze would have to wait. We were told it would take an hour before we would be able to sing it. There were 23 singers in rotation! Although some were checked off, without having new songs on the list. We had arrived at 9:20 pm. and left about 10:40 pm.
I wanted to try more new places. I think I kept wanting to up the ante. First, the dancing and the duet rules. Then, I challenged myself not to repeat any songs. Suze thought we should go to 22 different places in 22 days. But I wondered how many we could actually visit, if we just tried! Suze, however, didn’t share this crazy notion. So I’ve been overruled on that one. We have gone to more than one place in one night, but after this night, it hasn’t been the goal.
During this crazy and fun journey, I’ve noticed that when we first enter a new place, if I like the atmosphere, I want to settle in and stay a while. Seems logical, right?. There were times that we arrived someplace, and my first impression was “eh?” On those occasions, I’m willing to go hunting. Now Suze had decided we weren’t to leave and go to a second place. So we stay put. Then something happens. For every place that at first had failed to charm me for whatever reason…I had changed my mind. After hanging out with other karaoke people for a while, and just going with the flow, I am charmed and pleased after all. Patience. A virtue, I’m led to understand.
I have known a number of people who go to Stadium Club regularly, and they may like the sports bar scene. They may like Starz – as we do. Or they follow certain KJs – like we do. But I’ve found so many diverse places out there in karaoke world, that I’m not sure a sports bar is my first choice. It really all depends.
With that said, it’s on to Fuller’s! (Another sports bar)
The KJ is at Fuller’s was Phil. It was very busy here too. It was, after all, a Friday night. There was no display of the singers in rotation, but Phil would tell us in advance who was up next. So, until you’re next, it’s a surprise! In fact, since Phil didn’t know us yet, he got me confused at first with another Rachel. That’s okay, I got to meet her, and as with most Rachels, she is very charming.
It was a very lively party atmosphere at Fuller’s that night. Very crowded, with energetic and enthusiastic karaoke fans. There was a very communal mood, and people were genuinely supportive, just like we like it. Suze preferred this place and its vibe to the other (Stadium Club). I suppose I agree, the crowd made it fun. And 90% of the people there seemed to be on the list to sing, and took turns singing, cheering each other on, and dancing around to the music. The crowd was very diverse, like a lot of these places – in age, race, orientation – everyone just groovin’ together. A typical karaoke experience.
We were added in as new singers to the list, but it still took a long time before we got to sing. After being there an hour, there was a little dance contest. So we waited another half hour before we were called to the mic. I was able to sing one song solo (Try, by Pink) and the required duet, with Suze, Dream a Little Dream (Mama Cass).
At Fullers, there was a lot of cold A/C air blowing. It occurs to me that I may not have been fully recovered (from my pseudo-cold) yet, so it was probably a good thing I didn’t sing much that night. All told, a lot of waiting, observing, and hanging out. Not a bad night. But not one of our best.