Not to Wussy!!

Yes, trapped between my perpetual fear of public singing AND my interminable desire to be the shining star in any situation, I kicked wussy's ass last night. HA!

We actually had an awesome day all the way through. The usual gang (me, the girls, Calvin & Jenn) went to a flash library some 30 minutes away and stayed for, oh, a good hour. Then we headed over to McDonalds's, aka Old MacDonanld's (Calvin), aka Cheeseburger Place (the girls), for lunch. The one we visited had a huge play place, so the kiddies let Jenn and I sit and talk for a good long time. Generally, everyone was peachy and well-behaved.

After parting, I took the girls to the grocery store where, I kid you not, four different people in the span of our shopping trip asked if they are twins. Granted, they wear identical (except for size) bright yellow parkas, I had put their hair up in single pony tails, and they sat side-by-side in a double child shopping cart. But it was still weird. I actually get that a lot about them, the twins comment. One day, it'll annoy the girls more than it ever does me.

Oh, and when we passed the flower display, the girls insisted that I need flowers. Seriously. I had just passed right by. They MADE me go back and pick out red roses. Dorky kids.

We came home and did usual domestic things: laundry, laundry, dishes, dinner, put away all the groceries, take out trash. Then Keven came home. And I went out to become a rock star goddess.

We mom types gathered, nine strong, at a local Mexican restaurant. It was...ok. The food was quite bland, if truth be told, but considering my nerves, this was not a bad thing. We sat for two hours talking about our various pregnancies, deliveries, and families -- like kid names for anatomical parts -- but we also strayed into less familiar territory like wax jobs. A good time.

But I kept tuning out, waging battle in my head. Pathetic scardey? Or shiny star?

The bar was nearly empty when we arrived, but more folks showed up through the first hour -- probably close to 100 in total. I paid my cover, downed a gin, and satsatsatsat. Over to my right, the band's coordinator sat with his flip book of songs and a sign up sheet. I satsatsat some more, deliberating. Then I figured the worse case scenario would be that I decide to actually DO IT, and then the sign up sheet would be filled! Oh, painful irony and missed chances!! So I went over, signed up, got my number order (#5 -- mid set, not bad), and slapped it on the bar in front of me. Ha! No turning back.

By this time, our group of nine moms had dwindled to four, including me. And I was the only one with any intention of singing. Surrounded by wussies! I had to make a good showing, and I had their full support. If I didn't sing, the whole evening would have been bathed in crappy mommy stereotypes. We have our kids, then sit on the sidelines and watch things happen to everyone else.

So guy #1 sang "Taxman" by The Beatles. And he was really good! Shit! Then a lady wearing a shiny halter top and too-tight pants sang "Don't You Want Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airplace. And she rocked! Shit! Who are these people? Where are the coming from? It was like a good night of "American Idol." Nicole and I were up dancing. An old dude named Swampy sang "Something's Happening Here" by Buffalo Springfield, and although he wasn't the most tuneful singer -- by a long shot -- he was very confident on stage. I got the feeling these were not your usual crowd of drunk bar-goers.

In fact, the Gracie Slick singer went behind the bar, helped out the band's coordinator, and talked with Taxman Guy about the restrooms -- a ha! They owned the place! That means they took the stage first of the night to get the crowd warmed up and get other losers on stage. Clever, actually.

Singer #4 looked like commedian Geechy Guy, and he sang Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." Of course! It was weird. He kinda...wasn't there. I figured, heck, I can't annoy people that much. After all, my song is only three minutes!

So up I went. On stage. Knees like play-doh. I couldn't see a damn thing other than the microphone and a couple of vague silhouettes -- which was just fine with me. If people cringed, I saw nary a one. The band couldn't remember "Never Tear Us Apart," so the bassist/lead-dude had to run through the chords really quick and remind the drummer of the "DUHdudududuDUH" beat. Fun! They didn't know what they're doing, and I certainly didn't know what I was doing!

But it sounded great. Loud. Drum right behind me. Big ole' rock anthem guitars. And then I sang. And I sounded great -- for what I could hear of myself. I had no choice but to belt it because otherwise the band could win. My opening was a bit timid, as you can imagine, but by the second verse I really had it. "'Coz we all have wings, but some of us don't know why-y-y-y-y-y-y." Yup. That was me. Applause and everything, mid song. Rock like PJ!

I thought I lost it a bit toward the end, melody-wise, but Nicole said she thought it was better 'coz I was more loose and into it. Who knows. Who knows what I actually sounded like. Who knows if it matters. I am not on "American Idol" with reply tapes to torture myself with, so I prefer to exit the scene thinking I was cool.

Afterwards, the two owner/singers came over and congratulated me. I told them it was my first time on stage, ever, and they didn't believe me. Or they could have been being good business people, buttering up their new patron. But I don't care. It was fun.

Singer #6 did some awful thing, probably Van Halen or Sammy Hagar -- because that's certainly who he was trying to look like. Skin tight everything, too much paunch, blonde, teased-out mullet. Not cool! A short, well-built college kid sang "Superman" by Lynard Skynard and sounded JUST LIKE Bon Jovi. I said to my friends that his voice made me want to have sex with him. He was incredible. So much better than the guys on "Idol" this year. Another guy, who looked dead on for a 1980s Steve Martin, sang "Rebel Yell" by Billy Idol. OH MY GOD! He kicked it out of the building. And, of course, the requisite drunk girls out for a birthday party sang "Love Shack" by B-52s and made us want Rebel Yell Man back.

Turns out, when talking with Bon Jovi kid during the set break, the Tuesday night shows are packed with regulars. The Friday 5pm happy hour sessions are more likely to feature co-workers out for a drink and daring each other to sing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" for a laugh. Tuesday nights = people with stage experience. Ha! And me! Aside from the drunk college girls, I was the only non-regular to perform in the first set of twelve.

Take that, long-term psychological block!

The next set wasn’t as good because the regulars who had so impressed us during the first set just seemed like show-offs the second time around. We left before I could convince myself to sing "Message in a Bottle" -- which would have been cool because the music and live venue inspires the need for loud songs.

But I had used my courage. I put this experience up with other seminal spotlight moments in my life, such as dancing on stage with U2, a double dose of natural childbirth, and bellydancing on a rooftop for my flatmates. Out, out, foul wussy! I have conquered thee.

I sang Wham! songs all the way home, counteracting the old rock songs with some slightly-less old pop songs. And it was good.


Jessica said...

Glad you had a good time!

Jess said...

YEAH!!! CARRIE THE ROCK STAR!!! Did y'all take pictures or not??? I'm too chicken to kareoke. Jess = major chicken. Insert clucking noises here. People are lucky if they hear me crooning away in the shower.

Anonymous said...

Well done!
Funnily enough I have a brain inbalance which means this sort of thing doesn't worry me, but plenty of things do (Abba revival, forms), so I am impressed.

I was at the Waterfron on saturday....I got some very odd looks during the Artic Monkeys...not my fault the sound system is slightly quieter and I was venting.

Oh, and showing that I am growing disgracfully...Nine Inch Nails at Brixton academy this weekend...Whooo...except the devils sign looks a bit rubbish with my finger.

Have fun.



kelly said...

You rock. Stage isn't so scary, see? Just remember how many people in the audience lack any gumption to step on the stage, under those lights, looking out at the dark shadows of rustling people you can't see...and be watched. I got the bug in high school theater, then belly dancing on stage, then a VERY short stint as keyboardist in a band. I sang two songs with them -- Blondie's "Call Me" and "Heart of Glass." I never got to see the tape and I'm sure I sucked LOL but I had a blast. Welcome to stardom :-)

Ann(ie) said...

Good on you! Karaoke is more fun when you're drunk, btw you don't care what people think.

Pacze Moj said...

You know, if you had put the Shakira picture third and the Morissette pic first, I never would have read this...


Congrats on the singing. Or, double congrats, rather: that you had the guts to do it (me, not for a million bucks) and that you did it well (me, not in a million years)!

Anonymous said...

Not To(o) Wussy,
You sang in front of drunks and others who thought they were conquering their fears too- not exactly performing at the Albert Hall.

carrie_lofty said...

Anonymous #2, that doesn't sound appropriately charitable or supportive :(