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Thursday, July 10, 2014 | Last updated: 6:23pm

The art of karaoke: Where to get your fix in Tucson



“Empty orchestra,” the literal translation of karaoke, began spreading from Japan around the world in the 1970s. In the beginning, karaoke was used to accompany musical artists, but after it was advertised to the public, karaoke quickly became a social activity for everyone, no matter their level of talent and ability.

Generally, there are three types of people who go to karaoke bars. The first is a cynical member of the peanut gallery who sits in the back corner hollering obscenities and inappropriate phrases to throw off the performance of the onstage talent. By the end of the night, their loud heckling leaves their voice just as hoarse as the performers’.

The second type is the way too good performer who have made it their mission to blow everyone out of the water with their rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings.” But karaoke is not a talent competition. It’s hard to get these people to stop performing after just one song, and by the end of the night their friends have dispersed and left them. Warning: you do not want one of these in your group.

The third type is the liquor-swigging, swaying-to-the-beat and using-the-microphone-stand-as-a-crutch type of person. By the time they have the “liquid confidence” they need to go onstage, you can’t even understand their slurred words. They become their group of friends’ entertainment for the night, prompting inside jokes but annoying the rest of the audience with their disruptive laughter.

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Whether identify with a certain karaoke type or not, everyone should try their hand at the local scene. Karaoke is just not the same at home with a video game or a couple of friends who chuckle, but secretly pray for the agony to stop soon. Whereis the audience to make your performance exciting?

Public scrutiny or support is what makes the night memorable, for better or for worse.
Just be sure to pick your song carefully. Don’t make everyone listen to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” for the umpteenth time, and stay away from mood dampeners like Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.”

When you’re ready, give the following bars’ legendary karaoke nights a try over the weekend.

Friday:
Best Western Royal Sun 9 p.m.

Saturday:
Best Western Royal Sun 7 p.m.
Bumsted’s 10 p.m.

Sunday:
Hotel Congress 9:30 p.m.
IBT’s 9 p.m.Skybox 9:30 p.m.


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