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For Some, It’s Not Just Karaoke, It’s a Performance.

Mad Mex Monday, Country Night Tuesday at Pickle’s. For those of you who have the luxury of late afternoon classes, a light course load, a taste for alcohol, and the mighty privilege of being 21 or over (or a fake I.D.), you know the drill.

On Wednesday nights, a line forms outside the Shandygaff.  Besides Sharkies, it’s the only bar in State College that allows smoking inside, and on this particular night of the week, the smoky atmosphere calls not for My Hero Zero, but talented or drunk individuals who have the bravery and charisma to grab the mic and belt out their favorite tunes.

And by the hammer of Thor, the performances at the ‘Gaff do not upset.

A friend tells me that if I were to get up and sing, I’d have to go to the guy in the glass box (a DJ box behind the stage, turns out) and write my name on a list. “Go sign up early or you’ll have to wait a while,” he says. Those who are eager to take the stage get to the glass box extra early Black Friday style, and give their name and song requests to the MC.

When 10 o’clock hits, they are ready to go. It’s showtime.

Within the first few seconds of the vibrant solo, heads in the crowd lift up away from their drinks and turn to the stage. Or rather, the sequence goes as follows:

1.  Your ears perk from the sound of something, well, unexpected while simultaneously pausing from sipping your $6 liquor pitcher.

2.  You gaze up at your friends, who have the same quizzical look on their faces.

3.  Your body turns towards the stage, head straining to look over the crowd, feet on tippy toes.

4.  Upon seeing the performer, you stare. And of course, you listen.

5.  You look around the crowded room, finding solace in the fact that you are not the only one with the “what the hell is going on” face. I mean, shit just got real.

6.  Soon you are back to the pitcher of liquor.

Before long, these passionate performances to the crowd are replaced by the less sober groups of people. The majority of songs come from boy bands of the 90’s, classic sing-alongs such as “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, and a good mixture of crowd pleasers like Blink-182. You’ll find that on less busy nights, some lucky performers take the stage multiple times!

Although not all performances of the night are as reminiscent of this scene from the classic movie “A League of Their Own” as the first couple of people on stage, if you plan on making it to the ‘Gaff next Wednesday, be sure to beat the crowd so you too can witness the greatness that is Karaoke Night.

About the Author

Yuka Narisako

Yuka legally immigrated to the United States via airplane in 1996 from the small island nation of Japan. Since then she has migrated throughout the country and now identifies herself as a senior majoring in Architectural Engineering. The Shandygaff is her Happy Place, though she was once kicked out of the establishment after breaking her shoe and screaming “I LOVE DAY DRINKING. I’M HAVING FUN.” Yuka is overly enthusiastic about life in general, but especially Ja Rule, Halloween, and the puffy black vest she purchased from the Gap. You can reach her at [email protected], or through Twitter @yukahontass.


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