It’s not a closely guarded secret that one of my pet peeves is the proliferation of karoake in Sioux Falls bars. One of my first “Get Out of Town” segments close to three years ago was that very subject. Thankfully, it’s rare that I’m subjected to this garbage…
…until this past Friday evening. The beautiful Deanna called and wanted me to go out drinking with her. Since I can’t turn down any requests from hot chicks (mainly because they’re so rare), I let her talk me into hitting some dive bars.
We first hit a well-known dump on the east side that I’ve always had a soft spot for, mainly because they’re one of the few bars remaining that serves James Foxe, my favorite brand of whiskey.
We walk in to the sounds of some generic 90’s pop-metal song sung by a mullethead whose cover band obviously broke up around 1989. He was the host. For the next two hours, I had to endure the following people: a black dude named Spanky who sang “A Kind of Hush”, “Muskrat Love”, “Jive Talkin’”, and, surprisingly, two Clash songs; Spanky’s wife, who sang “Do That To Me One More Time” (I kid you not); a pair of Nascar honeys (and I don’t mean that as a compliment) with a fetish for Shania and that redneck woman song, and this PBR good old boy’s tuneless renditions of the Toby Keith songbook. We escaped before anybody could subject us to Meat Loaf or songs from Grease.
Next, we headed a few blocks away to a bar owned by some friends. Little did I know that not only do they also feature karaoke but they set the volume so high that one has no hope for any sort of conversation with even the person seated next to you. I knew we were in trouble when I saw the host of this travesty, decked out in a cowboy hat and a Garth Brooks drive-through headset mic. Many of the songs we had already endured were performed again, along with the most straight-laced accountant-type’s feeble attempt at “Billie Jean”. Our only real entertainment was this older gentleman who danced his own version of the waltz all around the bar to every single song. But our patience was really starting to wear thin, so we quickly moved on.
We figured that there was no way our last destination could possibly have any entertainment besides an outdated jukebox. We were wrong; this centrally located working-class establishment also found a few extra bucks to hire someone to hit play. At least there was one hot chick at this place – only one but she was really hot. Too hot for this bar. Great legs, a halter top barely hiding her goodies. The rest of the crowd – well, I’m too much of a gentleman to comment. One woman, whose braless mammaries hung damn close to her belly button, must have been having a terrible night as tears would well up during every slow country tune. Another woman had an opposite problem; too many men were hitting on her but in her words “even eight more beers” wouldn’t be enough to go home with these clems.
The topper was this middle-aged woman who must have once been a stripper…many, many years ago. Decked out in a white mesh top with at least six inches of makeup, she took the mic to Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and attempted to serenade each and every person in her own little…I mean big…way. When she got close to us, I pleaded to Deanna to just look straight ahead and pretend to not notice her. Thankfully, she warbled…and wobbled…right by. It was time to go home.
I’m here today to beg, plead, bribe – anything it takes – to bar owners to just say no to karaoke, which in Japanese translates to “no talent”. It’s bad enough that places like Chammps and Shenanigan’s feature it, but at least we know what’s going on before we set foot in these joints. Dive bars are supposed to be a last refuge for loners such as me; a place for strong drinks, interesting conversation, and oddball characters. Give me a well-stocked jukebox; at least then I can mix in some of my goofy songs next to the terrible garbage everybody else likes.


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