In the past, I’ve expressed dissatisfaction with local karaoke joint You Know?? Uno!!. There’s no real performance space, so on crowded nights it can be difficult to figure out where to stand for optimal glory, and the sound is sometimes so loud that you can’t hear whether you’re doing any justice to Susanna Hoffs in your rendition of “Manic Monday.” Plus, if you get there too late in the night, you have to endure endless rounds of “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” over cocktails in plastic cups just to get your one Pat Benatar song in before closing. But last night, I hit YN??U!!’s early enough in the evening with my Karaoke Week partners-in-song, one T. T. Tucker and one Tracey K., to craft an optimal experience. I’ve come to appreciate the bar’s completely perverse decision to pump only the vocal line into the street through outdoor speakers, so that all of Fayetteville can hear what you actually sound like when you mistakenly think you’re channeling Dusty Springfield. And last night, my vodka gimlets, served in an actual lowball glass, went appropriately wonky in favor of vodka as the night went on. Most importantly, however, since we gave ourselves plenty of time to sample the bar’s musical offerings, I finally realized what a fantastic collection they have. It’s not quite up to par with Philly’s Locust Bar, which is the only place (beyond my own living room) I’ve ever been able to do the Bangles’ “In Your Room,” but last night I was able to indulge in such perennially absent favorites as “I Hate Myself For Loving You” and “Naughty Girls Need Love Too.” There’s simply no excuse for a meager menu of Joan Jett and Samantha Fox at karaoke, and the folks at You Know Uno’s seem to understand that.
T.T. was a true karaoke hero, seducing the winsome punks at the next table with his Prince (“Kiss”) and Bill Withers (“Use Me”). In fact, the tattooed lads offered their own tribute to Mr. Withers in a riveting rendition of “Lovely Day”—imagine a cover by, I don’t know, Blink 182, fueled by love and cheap beer—and the young lady accompanying them made my night when she pulled out “Don’t Stop Believing.” (I may have screamed that I love her too many times. I may have offered myself as her groupie. I don’t really recall. In any case, her name was Kimberly, and I meant anything I said.) T.T. also brought the house down with his “Baby Got Back,” which is why he’s forgiven for trying to pimp me out to the dirty-dancing little dance floor pixie who haunted me for a while (before leaving me for some greasy frat boy, the fickle minx). When T.T. first agreed to a karaoke outing, he tried to play like he was only going to watch, but when it comes down to it, the man likes big butts and he cannot lie.
So how have you been serving the karaoke gods?