Monday, June 6, 2011
Karaoke review: Decanter Restaurant & Wine Lounge in Dallas
Competing against Game 2 of Mavericks-Heat, we had the karaoke all to ourselves.
If I’d had time, I would have written up a preview of this new karaoke gig, but with kids getting out of school and a horse about to foal, there hasn’t been time. But there was no way I could miss this — the new Thursday night gig with Totally Twisted Karaoke at Decanter Restaurant & Wine Lounge. I’ve been pushing for karaoke to come to Oak Cliff, and the Bishop Arts District in particular, since I first started singing. The only karaoke in North Oak Cliff is at a place called Barbara’s Pavillion — a great place that I reviewed last year, and found to be a lot of fun to be sure. But it’s a tiny joint, with a bare-bones karaoke setup ... and it’s just a fact of life that a gay bar (even a laid-back one like Barbara’s) isn’t for everyone.
I was definitely ready for karaoke at Decanter ... but Decanter itself didn’t seem to know what to expect. It’s a new place — it just opened last year — and doesn’t seem to have tried out any sort of musical event until now. They’d double-booked a party the section where TTK was supposed to set up their awesome light show, with lasers and disco balls, leaving them to set up in the small front area. This had the advantage of making the karaoke visible from the street, but it was a challenge — the south-facing windows let in a lot of heat. It’s hard to sample Decanter’s selection of 30 wines by-the-glass when you’re sweating!
We were up against another obstacle: The Dallas Mavericks were playing in the second game of the NBA Finals. Everyone in Dallas was glued to a television — likely causing karaoke delays at sports bars across the Metroplex.
But the heat and the sparse crowd — me and Bibi and some friends from Oak Cliff — didn’t stop Leah of Totally Twisted Karaoke from setting up the show. Our bunch sang and sang, and even had enough wine to ask Leah to sing one of her bawdy parody songs — a raucous version of “I Will Survive” centered around a disappointed woman and a sexual partner who doesn’t need his ego stroked, and who runs on Duracells. (I’ll let your imagination take it from there, but trust me — it won’t take it far enough!) Absolutely hilarious. It takes creativity to take something a bit off-color and make it funny, and Leah has it in spades.
The Mavs game ended with a rousing come-from-behind victory, and as if on cue, the streets of the Bishop Arts District filled up to their usual late-evening bustle. Our friends had to go, and me and Bibi needed to leave as well, but I couldn’t help but stay for another couple of songs, just to get the new patrons in the mood. I sang the Bee Gees’ “Tragedy,” and after one of the newcomers sang a Spanish/English song, I treated the crowd to “Asereje” (The Ketchup Song). It totally set the mood, and as I left, folks were perusing the books and signing up to sing. Because if a balding white guy can sing Las Ketchup en espanol, *anyone* can do karaoke.
Leah reports that Decanter will be bringing Totally Twisted Karaoke back next week — though they won’t be starting until 10 p.m., standard bar-karaoke hours. I may not be able to make it very often, with work looming on Friday morning, so I’ll likely continue to sing at the other TTK Thursday gig — 7:30 p.m. at Paradise Burger Co in Rockwall. But whenever I get the chance, I’ll tell my Oak Cliff friends to head over to Decanter, for good food (OMG, that goat milk cheese dish was awesome), wine and a full bar, and the best karaoke team in town.
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