Three thousand, nine hundred and sixty minutes. Three thousand, nine hundred and sixty moments to sing. Three thousand, nine hundred and sixty minutes – how do you measure the season of spring?
In late nights, in high notes, in costumes, in shots of vodka; in mic drops, in schwing, in tries to top Glee. Three thousand, nine hundred and sixty minutes – how do you measure Spring Karaoke?
That’s what the fine folks at District Karaoke aim to find out – in a mere eleven weeks, out of 18 teams, only one team will be crowned Champion of the Capitol for their ability to out-sing, out-bring, and out-schwing every other ragtag band of misfits in their path.
On this inaugural Wednesday night of the spring 2012 season at Policy Restaurant Lounge, six teams attempted to stake their claim to the karaoke throne – 99 Problems But Pitch Ain’t One; Pitch, Please!; The Fat Bottomed Girls; The Hipster Grifters; The Artists Formerly Known As Lush Wagon; and I’mma Let You Finish. With setlists set, costumes at the ready and a rowdy crowd ready to hear it, Tommy B. of 99 Problems took hold of the mic and did not relinquish it until he brought the crowd to its feet during a stunning, energetic rendition of “The Kill” by 30 Seconds to Mars.
After Tommy B. killed it loudly, Natieka S. (Pitch, Please!) took the stage and began “Killing Me Softly,” followed by The Fat Bottom Girls’ Doug E. doing a Fresh take on the Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden,” even getting a little audience participation at the end. Alex P. of The Hipster Grifters did a highly ironic version of “You Know I’m No Good,” demonstrating that she was, in fact, quite good. Representing The Artists Formerly Known as Lush Wagon, Melanie C. tempted the teetotalers in the crowd by telling them to “Call Me When You’re Sober” and the first round was I’mma Let You Finish(ed) off by Brittany T. begging for “Mercy.”
When all the votes were tabulated, it turned out that Tommy B.‘s version of “The Kill” had sufficiently slain the voters, taking first place in the first round of the first night. But there was much more singing ahead…
Colleen B. of 99 Problems led off the second round of solos with an impressively soulful performance of Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man,” cheered on by her husband and incredibly adorable months-old son. Adam W. of Pitch, Please! got in early on the gender-bending (next week’s theme!) with his rendition of “Lovefool” by the Cardigans, as did Courtney E. of The Hipster Grifters with her answer (or perhaps question) to Melanie C. – “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw?” The Fat Bottomed Girls’ Molly U., unimpressed with the death-dealing in round one, defiantly sang “I Will Survive” as her solo. Karl E. brought it all the way from New Orleans during his wailing, powerful performance of “The House of the Rising Sun.” The round was I’mma Let You Finish(ed) off again by a smooth, sunglassed version of “U Got It Bad,” performed by Doug F.
The votes for round two were counted and 99 Problems again took the gold, with Colleen B. racking up the highest solo point total for the night, singing, bringing and schwinging her way into a pair of tickets to see at the 9:30 Club to see Route 29 Revue feat. Lucinda Williams & Drive-By Truckers.
The group round revealed what one of 99 Problems But Pitch Ain’t One‘s problems actually is – YouTube buffering. In the middle of their performance of Gotye’s “Somebody I Used To Know”, the music cut out, but that didn’t stop them! They finished the song a cappella to the claps and cheers of the crowd – and if that’s not schwinging it, then I don’t know what is.
The costumes and props were also out in force during the group performances – Pitch, Please! made it rain singing “My Humps,” while The Artists Formerly Known as Lush Wagon dug into their retro martial arts movie bank for costumes to make a very real “Kung Fu Fighting” scene. The Hipster Grifters kept their choreography impressively tasteful while performing “Bad Touch” and I’mma Let You Finish managed some impressive harmonization with a heartwarming performance of “Seasons of Love” from Rent.
But the show was unquestionably stolen by The Fat Bottomed Girls, who had Freddie Mercury’s doppelganger in attendance to do their namesake song. The costuming was dead-on, and every last member sang and schwang their way to the highest rated performance of the night.
It was a raucous opening night and every team at Policy brought their A-game to an impressively talented room of performers. But the night belonged to 99 Problems But Pitch Ain’t One, who came away with the victory on the strength of their solos, with The Fat Bottomed Girls a close second.
So with the first night complete, there are 10 weeks to go – it’s time now to sing your heart out, District Karaoke never ends! Let’s celebrate – a season of songs with friends! See you next week for Gender Benders. Policy, 7:00pm, Wednesday May 9. Be there.
^Robert S. (99 Problems But Pitch Ain’t One)