Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Quest for Karaoke—Chapter Ten: The Ranch Club

Posted By on Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 4:12 PM

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Within moments of entering The Ranch Club, an immense dark dive full of pool tables and bucket seats, I discovered what is possibly the single best amenity any karaoke night can have going for it: $1.50 beers. Pint in hand, I took a seat in the deserted back of the bar.

Even with a good 60 feet and a KJ in the throes of "Redneck Woman" between me and the bar, I could still hear the Boise State game cranked up on the TV. I did my best to ignore it and delved into the book.

That's where I got my second pleasant surprise. The Ranch Club's book is deceptive. By all outward appearances it didn't really stand out. However, I discovered that it was laid out in triple columns, meaning it was much much more densely packed with songs than it initially appeared. Bonus.

And though the only shortlist I'd put "Redneck Woman" on would be songs begging for SNL parody, it couldn't be denied that it sounded great through the Ranch Club's sound system. Not too loud, not too quiet, and with a fully-balanced frequency range through nice speakers. As another bonus, the lyrics were up on a giant screen making them super easy to see.

I turned in a slip for "If I Were a Rich Man," and a got a totally blank look from the K.J. "Who's it by?" she asked. "It's from the musical Fiddler on the Roof," I said, and got an even blanker look.

It only a few minutes before it was my turn—the benefit of patrons being more interested in football. The KJ handed me a well-maintained wireless SM-58 mic, probably the best pound-for-pound vocal performance mic going.

I did my best Tevya, and got a few chuckles from people playing pool in the next room, then turned in another slip, anticipating a short wait since it was just me, the KJ and one other singer in the rotation.

But that third singer was in the middle of a game of pool. And rather than skip her, the KJ put things on hold, creating a period of dead air. When the back had filled up with an office party, the KJ switched the dead air to songs played through the system. The office party danced. I was a little frustrated, but another $1.50 beer took care of that.

I hung around, getting more blank looks for "Under Pressure," "Rock Lobster" and "Sixteen Tons," while the office party offered up some Shania Twain and Billy Joel.

Though my evening at The Ranch Club wasn't great night, it was pretty good one especially considering karaoke options for a Sunday night.

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