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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ed's Shady Birthday

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

First, let me say Happy Birthday to Ed Shady, man of the night at Amnesia. The timing was perfect: Glenny Kravitz Karaoke Shark was hosting his 4th Tuesday of the month Karaoke gig and dedicated the night to Mr. Shady. Many were in attendance to celebrate Ed and sing in his honor. Unfortunately, nobody sang "Kung fu Fighting," which would have fit the occasion like the color blue fit on Mister Ed!

Amnesia is not a forgettable bar, and with a full calendar of events, many people return for the live bands, dance nights, and open mic on Tuesdays.  I hope to try out some of my own material here sometime.

Ok, now I'm rambling. Back to the facts: Everyone had a great time. Glen managed to keep the eager crowd in fits with his Comedioke--a combination of comedy and karaoke--as a backup singer, faux-guitarist, and human sound effect machine. A force of nature in his own right, Ed crooned to the raucous crowd as they cheered him on. An anonymous stranger presented Ed with but two official Pierce Brosnan chapsticks and disposable razors, showing his love for the man with the silky smooth vocal style. Like Buttah!

Katie Holman did a sweet tribute to Brett Michaels singing "Nothin' But a Good Time," sending him some good vibes for a speedy recovery. Michaels is now lucid and in stable condition. Any coincidence? Patrick Maloney came straight from band practice and helped me get through Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water," my first time ever. Thanks Mr. Maloney, your awesome! Although I do not remember what everyone else sang that night--I was so caught up in the moment taking photos that you can view at Ash Wednesday Karaoke Insider's Group on Facebook--the level of talent who showed up to sing that night ran strong like Usain Bolt's 100m in the 2008 Summer Olympics. These vocal (and at least one oral) Olympians gave their all that night, each delivering a gold-medal performance for their champ, Ed Shady. Happy Birthday to you, Ed!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Kitty-Oke Leads Us A-Stray

Friday, 4.21.2010

At the top of the hill on Cortland Avenue sits Stray Bar, a small bar that puts on a very big Kitty-Oke freakin' deal every fourth Friday of  the month. Co-hosting the party are the infamous duo of Kitty-Tapata and Glenny Kravitz Karaoke Shark. For those of you who have never experienced Kitty-Oke brace yourselves for a shit-in-your-pants crazy fun time. Kitty is quite the comedienne--quick witted and funny as shite--and will knock you across the room with her Mighty Bazooms! Only Karaoke Sharks are safe in  these treacherous waters.

Now if your idea of Karaoke fun is sitting at a table sipping your drink and enjoying some easy conversation after a fine dinner at Limon then forget it DoucheNozzle, this place is loud and in your face and there ain't gonna be no easy conversatin' here! So pound a few hard drink specials and sing out fucking loud!

The infusion of hilarity and complete absurdity conspired with the warm evening to extract amazing performances from many singers, some of whom never knew what had hit them. It was amazing to see so many people in one smallish bar expressing so much talent on a makeshift stage made of wooden blocks and ottoman chairs. Nevertheless, it is a stage that leaves many other karaoke bars Kermit green with envy. And maybe that's part of the reason it is so much fun to sing at Stray. If standing two feet taller than the crowd  doesn't get your blood pumping then you'd better get yourself some Viagra limpy! Ok, maybe I'm being a bit too,   ahem, hard, but given that Kitty-Oke only happens on the 4th Friday of each month, you'll not want to stray  far from the Stray Bar...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A River of Songs Flow at El Rio

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Deep in the Heart of The Mission is El Rio, a neighborhood bar with a reputation for being a Gay and Lesbian bar. Whatever the classification it's a fun bar. Wednesday is Karaoke night and the crowd seems to be a mix of everyone. The host is KJ Paul, the man with the song machine. If you arrive at 8:00pm you're in luck. You will get to sing a few songs in quick succession before the other singers arrive. Last night, the place was moderately busy with only KJ Paul, Scott, and myself crooning for the first 45 minutes. The rest of the evening saw a slim rotation of 7 to 10 singers. Yesss! Woo-hoo!

Yelper's rave about this place for the cheap and strong drinks, the outdoor patio, and the club room next door where live bands perform. Yeah, this place can hold a ton of people and the calendar is packed with interesting events. I would like to add my personal rave review about the two friendly, black-and-white tuxedo cats roaming the bar after hours, looking like chubby younger versions of my kitty! Sadly, they weren't too keen on being photographed last night. What Pussies!

With Elton John as the special Rock Block of the evening, Paul sang "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues,"  I did "Benny and the Jets," Scott sang "Levon," and we all sang "Daniel." FYI--soon KJ Paul will be posting a list of the songs that were performed each night on his website. And I will link his list to Karaoke Insider when it is posted. A convenient way for you to reference a song you sang on a particular night. Cool, wouldn't you say?

I never really thought twice about El Rio as I rode past it on my motorcycle over the years, but the with the mellow vibe, friendly bar staff,   and now Karaoke on Wednesday night, who wouldn't want to become a regular here?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Empty Fun Tips for New Singers and More

A few friends and I met at Deco last night for Karaoke. It was a very chilly Tuesday evening, so many of the club's regulars kept themselves warm and cozy at home. The bar was somewhat quiet and not many people were signing up to sing.

This happens quite often during the week at many Karaoke bars. Slow nights like this can really suck for a dance club or a regular bar where crowds are an indication of a club's popularity. Yet for the hardcore karaoke singer a slow night is the Dog's Bollocks--the best time to go out. Imagine: A nearly empty bar, a three to four singer rotation, and who cares who is listening because this is karaoke after all you'll get to sing your ass off! Just remember   to tip the KJ, because his income is subsidized largely by gratuities. 

One time I showed up for Monday night karaoke at The Knockout. The KJ was running late so I waited patiently until he arrived at 8pm. In twenty minutes he was set up and ready to take requests. Being only one of two customers in the bar I felt a little silly singing alone, but then I thought to myself, "I'm freakin' here to sing" and put in a song. Turns out that KJ John, Bartender Tracy, other customer took turns singing for the first hour. When my friends had arrived at 10pm, I had already notched six songs in 90 minutes!!! For a karaoke singer that's unheard of.

One can never predict if a karaoke night will be busy or quiet, but if you arrive early you can maximize your chances to sing. Some bars start their karaoke  as early as 4pm, while others start at 8, 9, and 10pm. Arrive on time or early and the odds that you will get that mic in your hand several times before the masses arrive is good.

In the end, Deco and KJ Paul won the hearts of the singers there last night. Nobody had to wait very long to sing--not even That 70's Show! Sorry, bad inside joke. You had to be there...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Who are you taking to the Prom?

SFKM 2010 Karaoke Prom on the Bay! Presented by KJ Kenny Kravitz the Karaoke Shark! On May 15th. Dress up, bring your partner, and Sing your favorite Songs aboard the friendliest boat on the bay "Bay Celebrations". Board at the Oakland Ferry Dock by Jack London Square, Oakland on Saturday, May 15th. Board at 6:30 PM and cruise the bay 7:00-10:00PM. Cost is $40 per person and advance reservations are required for boarding. Go to to sign up and pay. Call 1-877-499-4229 for more information or to pay by phone. Reserve soon as we will sell out. Go to for more info as well. Also look at for fun things to do before and after the cruise! NO TICKETS WILL BE ISSUED AS YOUR NAME WILL BE ON THE BOARDING LIST.

Singing on the Road

We see people singing in their cars while driving all the time. It's a great way to kill time. I mean, how much fun is  it to sing along to your favorite song on the radio or your music player? As a singer, I can tell you that singing while driving is a great way to build power and endurance in your vocal chords, and a means to flesh out any vocal issues you may have without the hindrance of an unsympathetic ear listening close by.

Since July of 2009, I've taken two road trips per month for various reasons. And during each trip, I took the opportunity to sing for an extended period of time. On my first road trip, I found that my voice would tire after only 90-120 minutes, yet slowly but surely and with each subsequent road trip my vocal endurance increased. It didn't take long before I was singing for two, then three, and up to four hours. On a recent road trip to LA, I sang for five hours almost continuously. I did take breaks of course, to stop for gas, get something to eat, etc. Even still, it was more practice than I ever got singing at a karaoke club, or at band practice.

The end result of all this practice is a seemingly tireless voice. While other's voices tire out after 2 to 3 hours of karaokeing--which is singing a song followed by some singing along to other people's songs, talking, and waiting around for your next song--a highly trained voice will continue to deliver power and clarity. There is no way around training your vocal muscles. Like every other voluntary muscle in your body, they work best with routine exercise.

Treat your next five hour road trip like it's a marathon. And like running a marathon, you will need to build up the endurance in your vocal muscles in order to cross the finish line. Train  hard and you will always end up a winner.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Daytime Jitters at Caffeinated Comics - LIVE REPORT

Saturday, April 17, 2010

If you want a beer go across the street fool, because it's mid-afternoon and we're drinking coffee and tea. Just when you thought you'd seen everything happen in a comic book store, a fresh new concept arrives to blow your wad harder than BatGirl. It's Saturday afternoon karaoke at Caffeinated Comics, the world's first, and possibly only, Comic Book/Cafe/Karaoke venue. Co-masterminded by Caffeinated Comics owner David Pinch and Paul De Jong, this is an invention of sinister proportions.

For some people, singing without liquid courage is strange, alien, and freakin' scary. But if you can muster up the courage to go for it, then you'll be pleasantly surprised by how fun it is to sing fueled by the carbohydrates of a burrito rather than those of a Guinness. The drinks menu is fairly extensive and will give you a rush
 instead of the spins.

The Carmody factor sang Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On" with over an hour's worth daylight left. So blasphemous and taudry she was. Rock on Suzanne!

George Cirilo's "Work It" by Missy Elliot was a sight to behold. See it in it's near entirety here.

A rock block of gut-busting proportions broke out around 7pm, when KJ Paul, A.K.A. Scott sang "Jealous Again." If anyone can do Scott better than Scott it's Paul. Man it was freakin' awesome! Watching Becca and Tana fall on their behinds while imitating Tana made some of us almost soil ourselves. Poor faux guitar suffered damage but is in critical but stable condition.

The caffeine is beginning to wear off, which synchronizes perfectly with the conclusion of CaffCom karaoke this afternoon. A wide-eyed, jittery, frothingly fun, afternoon.

Your next chance to sing with Superheroes is Saturday, May 15, from 4pm to 8pm.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Singers Pounce on the Cat Club

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Many people do not know that the Cat Club does Karaoke every Wednesday night, from 9pm to 2am. It's hosted by Bruce Rogers, one of the nicest people you'll ever meet in a nightclub. Along with Bruce there is the awesome and lovely bartender Rachel, who really knows her drinks. The combination of Rachel, Bruce, and the Cat Club sound system form the perfect storm for singing out loud.

 For those of you wanting to get a head start on the evening, you can access Bruce's song list online and write down the songs you want to sing before leaving for the club. Speaking from personal experience, and I've been here many times for Karaoke, Cat Club is one of the best places to hang out on a Wednesday night. The bar staff is very welcoming and you'll feel right at home singing here your first time out. Plus, your song lyrics are displayed on the large screen, making for some great sing along's. And with the powerful sound system, your voice will never get drowned out.

Who sang what?

Let's see... Jan and I sang "Wonderwall" by Oasis; Jenner and Kym sang a something from Lady Gaga but I can't remember the name of the song; Steve sang "Fantasy" from EW&F; Patrick sang The Beatles "Imagine;" Jade and Randy performed a rap song together. Bartender Rachel was feeling under the weather and did not sing. There were many singers of all skill levels, and everyone was equally supported by the friendly, encouraging crowd.

In Conclusion

Everyone can be a star at the Cat Club, even if it is only for one evening. Come early, have a few drinks, sing lots, go home happy. Remember, it's every Wednesday starting at 9pm. Best part is it's Hump Day and nearly the weekend. So sleep when you're dead. And if you hang out until 2am... well, do find out for yourself. You won't be sorry you did!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kung Fu Fighting at the Rickshaw Stop

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sounds of vocal Kung Fu filled the air as warriors came from afar to display their talents. And when the dust settled it was clear who was victorious...

The Rickshaw Stop

Yes, the Rickshaw Stop is the latest venue to host Karaoke. A reliable source told me that this will happen once a month on the second Tuesday, starting at 9pm. Rickshaw is a concert hall with an awesome sound system, so when you're up on stage you can really hear yourself sing. I love singing at places like this, and wish all Karaoke venues had a sound system this good. Did I mention that bands play here?

Brought to you by Glenny Kravitz Karaokeshark, Tuesday night suddenly became fun. What? You need to wake up early tomorrow morning for work? No problem. You can sleep when you're dead! Seriously, be among the first to arrive at 9pm and sing early.

Coming straight from work on an empty stomach? No problem. Rickshaw has a menu replete with trailer trash eats to tide you over. So order a stiff drink from the bar, and request a song.

Crazy Night

The battle was on. Everybody was Kung Fu fighting. For some, it was a matter of life and death. Villains 
were dispatched by Ninjas hiding in the shadows. Archfiends hid themselves amongst the throngs of passersby, waiting to for the perfect opportunity to strike. And with the force of ten the Wu-Tang quan--Bobby, Scott, Franny, Kt, Katherine, Barb, Noelle--devastated their opponents fighting force, until there remained only one, last, Ninja.

Perhaps the Ninja on the sofa snuck out of the village before the battle had started? Or was he the hero? Only the battle weary warriors of last Tuesday will ever know. 

Master Karaokeshark is planning his revenge attack against the Wu-Tang's. He is recruiting a special Voice Fu force to restore pride in the Rickshaw Valley. Your special voice is needed. Should you hear the Karaokeshark's voice whispering in the wind then prepare yourself for battle young monk, because your time has come to Be Like Water, My Friend

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Practice makes perfect

People love to sing, and what better way is there to belt out a song than in front of a room full of strangers and  not get booed for trying? Well, that's the beauty of Karaoke. The friendly and supportive nature of strangers who share a common interest, keeps most beginners going back for more.

Often times, people want to improve their Karaoke by taking singing lessons. While I cannot stress enough the importance of proper training, that's not what I want to talk about today. There is lots of good advice easily found on the Web, for free. Example: Click here for singing advice from A to Z. As my blog continues to grow, I will post links to resources for singers.

What I would like to talk about today is practice time.

Think of your vocal chords as legs: the more you exercise them, the stronger they become. Combined with proper training muscle memory is established, and with that comes endurance and control. The best part about the vocal chords voice is that you don't need a gym to work out. You can practice singing almost anywhere. Start slowly practicing your vocal exercises for 1 hour every other day for one week. You should notice an improvement in sound quality by the fourth practice day. The second week's training routine is the same, except you should sing a minimum of two songs after the vocal exercises, to build up your singing endurance.

By the end of the second week you'll be ready to amaze the crowd with your new and improved vocal chops!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Singing in the Dark at Dalva

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Some bars turn their lights way down low, and then there is Dalva. And somewhere way in the back lurking in the shadows you'll find a unusual group of nocturnals singing, sometimes screaming, while playing faux guitars. Yes, this is Dalva's Sunday Karaoke, hosted by the man who invented the combination song request slip and business card, KJ Paul.

Reviewers on Yelp gave Dalva four stars, impressive for any bar in The Mission. It also seems to be one of the cleanest neighborhood bars in The City. Well, at least it smells that way, which goes a long way in my book. KJ Paul is a pretty clean smelling guy and has integrated himself well there. ;-)

If you love singing Rock, then you're in good hands. Paul has an great collection of Rock in his songbook. From Alice in Chains to Temple of the Dog, Paul's got it. And if you can't find a song in the songbook, just ask Paul to find it for you for the next time.

Get yourself a drink and settle in. Before you know it, your eyes will adjust to the cavern like darkness which, by the way, lends itself well to karaoke. It seems to lower people's inhibitions, allowing them to sing with more emotion and power. Some people will testify to this phenomenon.

Or perhaps Lyndsey was swooning to Scott's rendition of "She Talks to Angels" by The Black Crowes? :-) Have you ever of dreamed of being in a Rock band, but don't play an instrument? Well, you can start a faux rock band here, complete with a real audience to back you up.

With that in mind, are you ready to sing your ass off at Dalva?