Shore Lounge Karaoke
Coeur d’Alene Resort
Sunday nights in downtown Coeur d’Alene can be a little eerie. Most of the week, the area is full of nightlife, revelers hopping from bar to bar, live music pouring out onto the streets. However, on Sunday evenings the place turns into a virtual ghost town. Most of the pubs and cocktail lounges are closed, and the ones that do open close their doors early.
Nevertheless, you’re bored and surely you can’t be the only one in town with a wild hair to go have some fun on a sleepy Sunday. Where is everyone at? Well, dear reader, I know the answer. They’re tucked away deep inside the Coeur d’Alene Resort at the Shore Lounge for Karaoke Night. On a typical Sunday after 9 p.m., this dimly-lit, touristy lounge with the vaguely nautical theme transforms into a packed showcase for local singers and non-singers alike. Despite it’s location inside the stuffy confines of the resort, this Karaoke night has been known to get a bit weird and wild.
Your hostess for the evening is the gorgeous and talented Karaoke diva Tequila Leah (pictured above). For the most part, she keeps things rolling along smoothly, always injecting some of her acrid sense of humor into the proceedings and amazing regulars with her edgy fashion sense. She would never come right out and insult a bad singer, but she has a charming trick of getting the message across in a passively aggressive way, without actually hurting any feelings. She always insists that the audience give a big hand to the last singer, no matter how tone-deaf their performance.
Leah’s bubbly personality keeps the atmosphere fun and lighthearted, and even if you screech like a maimed kitty-cat during your performance of “My Heart Will Go On”, she will make a little joke, insist the audience applaud, give you a hug and ask you what song you want to sing next. She makes everyone feel so good about their singing, that it can create an occasional problem - certain not-so-hotso singers have developed a false sense of grandeur about their abilities and insist on terrorizing the crowd at every opportunity. In reality, the vast majority of people that get up to sing actually perform very well. Several of the regular singers could feasibly pull off a career in pop music and even seem to have developed small fan bases here at the lounge.
The stage set up here can be a little bit intimidating. Traditionally, in Japan where Karaoke was invented, people stay put right at their table and the microphone is handed around to the different participants. At the Shore Lounge, singers have to get up on a stage in front of everyone, complete with a spotlight shining directly on your big face. You’re the star, and there’s no escaping it. Most of the regulars here embrace the idea and really ham it up. Some people even dress up for the night – a couple of twenty-something dudes like to show up in ungodly ugly polyester leisure suits from the ‘70’s and sing the hits of Barry Manilow. There’s guaranteed to be a hardcore cowboy or two, dressed in full regalia, and singing some bombastic patriotic country hit. The crowd here is entertainingly diverse – it seems like everyone from the other nightspots end up here on Sundays since their regular haunts are closed.
Sometimes the chaotic nature of the crowd leads to wild excitement. It was here a while back that I witnessed one of the goriest girl fights ever. I had just returned to my table after singing a rousing rendition of Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life.” Suddenly we heard a girl hiss “You bitch!” She had been completely. drenched when another girl threw a drink at her. In seconds, both girls were on the floor struggling, ripping out huge chunks of each other’s fried hair. The music stopped, the house lights went up and people were piling up, trying to get the girls to break it up.
One of the girls finally got up off the floor and we watched as she spit something out of her mouth, it went flying across the room. She immediately brushed herself off and promptly slipped out the front door before security even had a chance to arrive. Meanwhile, the other girl let out a chilling cry: “My finger! She bit my finger off!” and our jaws dropped as we realized that what the other girl had spit across the room was a fingertip. Gross! The excitement died down and Tequila Leah fired things back up as medics hauled to poor girl away.
Being that this is the Coeur d’Alene resort, the drinks here are certainly not cheap, so bring some extra cash if you need some liquid encouragement before tackling your Karaoke tune. If you’re on a budget, go with the beer special – five dollars for an extra tall mug (about 3 pints worth) of draught beer, your choice. Sit down and grab a song book. Leah has an awesome selection of over 15,000 songs and she gets updates all the time, so whether you’re dying to re-interpret Patsy Cline, Metallica, or Fergie’s “Fergalicious”, she’s got you covered.
I’m a firm believer that everyone has the ability to get into Karaoke – it doesn’t matter if you can sing or not if you’ve got some schtick. Be creative. Some people need to delve into choreography or props to distract from their lack of vocal talent, but who cares as long as you’re entertaining. Get into the spirit, conquer your stage fright and just get up there and do it. I swear, all it takes is once to wipe away all your fears, and suddenly you’re a Karaoke addict. You’ll be braving the fabulous chaos of the Shore Lounge every Sunday night.