Thursday, August 19, 2010
Karaoke review: The Cavern in Dallas
The Cavern’s upstairs bar, where the karaoke takes place, has an awesome funky atmosphere.
When I saw that The Cavern on Lower Greenville listed “Karaoke by Carmen” on Tuesday nights, I put it on my mental list of places to check out. It’s next to the final Greenville Avenue location of the storied Poor David’s Pub, a Dallas institution that outlived dozens of its neighbors but finally relocated to the Cedars a while back. The location was cool in itself, because Poor David’s was the first place I ever sang on stage — “Dancing Queen” with Colin Boyd, at a Green Party benefit show in 2002. And Carmen is an awesome, Hawaiian-style karaoke waihine, with a cheeky attitude that keeps things moving along at The Goat, her Sunday night gig.
When I got the first round of review CD-G’s from Chartbuster Karaoke — see the previous post for details — I immediately thought of Carmen. Her selection wasn’t the biggest, partially because her show at The Goat included a live keyboard and drummer, and partially because she was running a disc-based system. In order to try out my Charbuster CDs at a live venue, it would have to be one with a disc reader. So I figured Tuesday would be the night to try it out.
Turns out, though, that it’s not Carmen herself at The Cavern, at least not on this Tuesday night. It was her drummer, whose name escapes me (I’ll update the post when I find out his name). And he didn’t lug a trunk full of CD-G’s. It looks like Carmen has upgraded to a computer-based system. Great for the DJ, but not so great for me! After going through Chartbuster’s LearnToSing101.com site and cramming to learn songs I’d never heard before, that wasn’t going to be the night to try them out.
My disappointment, though, was moderated by the awesome funky atmosphere at The Cavern’s upstairs bar, where the karaoke takes place. Half the floor space is taken up by a dimly-lit area full of the most comfortable couches in the history of ever. And as if that weren’t enough, the Tequila Sunrises (and all other well drinks) were just $2 — though I only had one, because I wasn’t intending to stay late even if I’d gotten to play my new CD-G’s. The crowd wasn’t really a “karaoke crowd” — all 20-somethings having a casual good time, singing for themselves and not really looking for a show. But that didn’t take away from the fun, and would have made it a good place to try out new stuff.
Karaoke started at 10:30 p.m. (scheduled for 10 p.m., but I’ve *never* seen karaoke start on time), and I sang four songs before I left an hour later. It was a fun night on the comfy couch. If I ever do get the chance to take someone special with me to sing karaoke, I’ll be keeping the Cavern in mind. The only thing that would make sinking into a Cavern couch even better would be sinking into it with someone else.
Songs sung at The Cavern:
1. "Almost Like a Song" (Ronnie Milsap)
Something slow to get the night started. I thought something was going wrong with the track — it kept thumping — until I realized that the DJ was drumming along on a portable drum kit! He also had a three-octave keyboard. Even without the full setup at The Goat, he made it a cool semi-live-band karaoke time.
2. "Kryptonite" (3 Doors Down)
It was pretty clear that I’d have to jump into the current century for the younger crowd. Definitely the best-received song of my night, and always fun.
3. "Turn the Page" (Bob Seger)
On the other hand, it never hurts to show the young pups how it’s done old-school.
4. "Careless Whisper" (Wham!)
One of the other singers sang George Michael’s “Faith,” so that inspired me to go back a few extra years in the artist’s discography.
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