After we escaped the stultifying news-world Emmys last night, we were ready to party. You know, like if you asked us "Do you party?," we'd say "Hmm, yeah? I guess?" Fortunately, irrelevant music magazine Spin and Pete Wentz's emo bar Angels and Kings were hosting a karaoke competition!
By some horrible twist of fate, I ended up on stage in the suit and tie, with a stack of laminated numbers in one hand, judging the performances. The good news was free drinks. The bad news, we couldn't leave. Thank god we were sitting next to Super Frank, James Brown's manager and Andy Hilfiger, Tommy's brother, or else the night would have been a real wreck.
Andy H., who looks like a chubby version of his robot brother, is in a band with a couple of other middle-aged white dudes. He was wearing a tight denim jeans and a denim jacket with bedazzled patches on it. He plays bass, which Tommy taught him when he was a kid. The band is called MARS. They play classic rock. Other members include Scott Lipps, president of One Model management, and Michael H who is widely described, weirdly, as an adopted Hilfiger. Andy said that he is looking forward to playing the Halloween party at Scores.
Super Frank is an older shlubby looking white dude and was, by far, the person to know. He was James "The Godfather of Soul" Brown's business manager for the last 5 years of his life. He recalled how James Brown used to make him and his personal manager have these singalongs in the tour bus driving between shows. "We had to sing his new songs which was really stressful. If he didn't think you knew the words, he'd point at you and say, 'You're not singing loud enough.'"
On stage, the karaoke was dismayingly competent but completely boring. There's a sweet spot in karaoke performance in which the performer is neither completely in his or her comfort zone nor so wildly out of it that whatever song he or she is attempting to sing is debased into a series of grunts and shrieks. Last night's karaoke fell well within the comfort zone: Lots of rote memorization. An additional road block in enjoying the evening was the doucherie of those singing. Especially worthy of mention is the lead singer of Gym Class Heroes, a tattooed kid named Travis McCoy. His baseball cap was perfectly off-kilter, his Members Only Jacket was the appropriate shade of maroon, his version of "Time of My Life" managed to be both believable and depressing.