Sunday, December 28, 2008

On Singing in Public

Last night I attended a holiday party and met a whole bunch of new people. Always a good thing. A group of them left early to go to a piano bar and asked if I wanted to tag along. I brought some cigars to share with my host so I told them I would meet them up later.

After leaving the party, and then going home to put on a sweater because the air was getting chilly, I made my way to National Harbor. This is the brand new hotel/convention center/outdoor mall complex just over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Maryland. Only took about 20 minutes to get there from my house and I found the place with no problem.

I call one of the folks to find out the name of the piano bar. "Bobby McKey's," she said.

It's not a typical piano bar. It's what would happen if a dueling piano bar were dropped into the middle of a frat party. And people don't get up to sing while the pianists provide backup, rather, the performers encourage the crowd to sing, clap, chant, and make all manner of ruckus while they belt out a bunch of very different tunes.

On the plus side, all of the musicians were pretty good. Nice piano technique and serviceable voices. Even their canned jokes didn't feel quite so canned. They all knew how to read a crowd, and this was a raucous one. So they got appropriately raunchy when they needed to be and then clever to amuse themselves.

All in all, I had a nice time even though my voice paid the price for howling along with the rest of the crowd. But as I drove home, I felt a longing for a real piano bar. And then I remembered the one that my friend TRP took me too many years ago when I was visiting Seattle

I usually prefer new takes on old forms, but in this case I'll make an exception.


TeacherRefPoet said...

Oooh. Sounds like I'd have wanted to dig a hole to crawl into. Somewhere out there, especially in a place as big as DC, there's got to be a piano bar that comes close to Sorry Charlie's. Have they all gone the way of the dodo?

tommyspoon said...

There are a few around town, and some of the performers at "McKey's" have played a few of those places. I'm going to seek them out in the New Year, maybe as an after work treat. Nothing wrong with a cocktail and some Cole Porter, right?