Saturday, March 24, 2007

Karaoke - 22nd Mar 2007

Well do ya, do ya, do ya wanna...

Too right I do, what else would I be doing on a Thursday night other than taking the 1/2 mile trek to the Hotel for the weekly sing-a-long! This week is no exception and although there were slightly more people in tonight than have been of late, apart from one elderley gentleman none of them sang which left the usual suspects completing the playlist!

I'd planned for my new song this to be Space - Female Of The Species but this was quickly scuppered when I checked the book to find that of all the disks Andy hasn't got, it's the one with this on which suprised me. Will have to rectify that! Fortunately I've still got some of the tracks I bought from SBI that I haven't done yet and so my new song this week was Hard-Fi's - Better Do Better which got to number 14 in the UK charts in April last year. More below.

I would say that Scott suprised me this week but he's been doing it so much this year that nothing he does suprises me anymore (this is a compliment by the way, although please apply bandages to keep the swelling down! :p). This weeks off-the-wall song was the 80's Electro-synth pop classic Together In Electric Dreams. I could listen to this genre all day with the likes of New Order, Kraftwerk, Visage, Godley & Creme etc. and the song was done justice by Scott on the mic. Nice one.

A new one too from Andy, Richard Marxs' (not Carl Marx as I first blurted out. tsk.) - Hazard. This is one of those songs that you don't hear very often but when you do it's instantly recognisable and you know it is a quality song. If I do ever run out of new songs to sing then this might well be on my short list to have a go at too. Good choice dude!

Now, no new ones as such from the girls, who were minus Louise this week, but.... I've created a new section at the bottom of the stats page which gives you the percentage probability of the said singer singing a new song when they get up and.... according to the stats the girls as a group are more likely to sing a new song than me or Scott. In fact, I'm the most repetitive singer....apparently :( The stats for the girls are weighed in their favour though as they keep swapping partners (car keys anyone :p) when repeating their songs but we'll let them have their moment of glory. At least they have more than six songs now ;) (I may not be blogging next week!)

The run down this week goes like this:

** NEW SONG **
Hard-Fi - Better Do Better - A track I've had lying around for a while but never got round to doing. I'm not a big Hard-Fi fan but I do like this one although it's not the easiest to sing as it goes from low to high quite a lot especially in the chorus. Nevertheless, I gave it a go and whilst it's not one of my better attempts it wasn't as bad as it could have been. As with all new songs, you never know until you try :)

Finally, there's a band on at the Hotel next Friday (30th March) called Stepping Lane. I've heard good reviews about this band and I missed them last time they were at the hotel so will hopefully be going to see them this time to see what they're about. From what I've heard, you should to. You can find out a little bit more about them at their myspace here: Although remember, the best music is always on a Thursday night at the know it ;)

See you next week

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Freaky Weather and random rambling!

ok, so it's the middle of March and what do we get....bloody snow.

We had a little downfall earlier in the day which looked bad due to the vicious wind we've been getting but it didn't stick and no sooner had it started than it finished and I thought that would be that. I go to take the dog out for her nightly walk and I couldn't believe it:

there's at least 2 inches of it although looking out of the window now it does appear to be stopping. Let's hope there's no more during the night.

On a random tangent while I'm here, Baby Fratelli charted today... at number 24 :( I was expecting it to chart a little higher, maybe 10th or 11th but on reflection I can see why 24th is about right. It's the fourth single off a hugely popular album so there's probably not many Frat fans buying the single as they've already got it [on the album]. A decent B-Side might have swayed said fans (I bought Whistle For The Choir for the excellent Nina B-side) but alas it was just a live recording of Ooh La La which is much less appealing. I still think they should have released For The Girl, it was much more 'chart-friendly' (and I would have loved to sing it on karaoke! ;))

I've also just caught up with Life On Mars, a BBC series about a cop who gets knocked over by a car and wakes up in 1973. It's not a bad show although my own take on it is the whole twilight-zone transported in time thing going on was nothing more than an excuse to do a 'The Sweeney' kind of cop show. Nonetheless it makes good viewing and provides the web with numerous forums dedicated to people with lots of time on their hands to come up with endless theories about what really is going on. Personally, I think it's quite straightforward: He's in a coma after being knocked down and it's all a dream fuelled from the TV by the side of his hospital bed showing re-runs of some cop show which will probably turn out to be the Ashes to Ashes spin-off series. There simple see :)

I'll save the Lost and Heroes theories for another day!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Karaoke - 15th Mar 2007

It's that time of the week again and without wanting to sound repetitive, it was yet another quiet night in the hotel for a Thursday. I got there at just before nine and there was not one person in the main seating area. Where has everyone gone? Have they all been hit by cars and transported back to 1973, are they in another pub somewhere or are they just plain skint?

Whatever the answer, the show must go on and albeit a little later than usual, the karaoke kicked in to sort us out with our weekly fix. Song-wise, I had a go at a new one, The Feeling - Never Be Lonely which went ok, Tina & Hayley attempted Sophie Ellis Bextors catchy (no pun intended) new track "Catch You" (off-topic: have you seen how chronically thin she looks in the video to this song!!) and Scott never fails to suprise by singing Goldfrapps' - Ooh La La, inspired of course by it being the Fratellis live-lounge cover and live show finale.

Any night out where I'm not on-call and not working the next day usually sees me getting a little tipsy and tonight was no exception. Once more the mixes of Carslberg, Sambucca and Jack Daniels did me no good (apparently I passed out in bed!) and the head hurt once more today. Comedic moment of the night belonged to me (unfortunately!) when Scott treated Andy and myself to a shot of sambucca straight. Having been talking earlier about how to drink them when they've been lit I immediately proceeded to grab Tinas lighter and set fire to my drink. I let it burn for a few seconds, may have been longer, before blowing it out and put the glass straight to my mouth.....OUCH!... it was hot. very hot. Much to the amusement of those around me I'd seriously underestimated how hot a glass can get having been set on fire for a short period. Fortunately I managed not to spill the sambucca everywhere and necked it a few moments later after it had cooled down :)

Modesty award of the night goes to Scott, who after singing Elton Johns - I Guess That's Why Call It The Blues rather well, responded to my "That was quite good" comment with "I know"! He later had to be let out via the fire exit doors. :p

And so onto the songs sung this week:

** New Song **
The Feeling - Never Be Lonely - Chosen as I was pondering on whether to go see them or not in June (which I'm not). I like The Feeling and this was a fairly straightforward song to do although I probably won't do it again. I'm struggling at the moment to find new songs to do although the new Sunfly is out in two weeks with a couple more to keep me going. In the meantime I think I'm going to have to delve through some old 'Now' disks for inspiration. If the worst comes to the worst I could always sing Rick Astleys Never gonna give you up! :o

Auf Wiedersehen for now and don't forget, the up-to-dates stats can be found here

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Lies, damned lies, and statistics!

I've now got a nice little database going with the songs sung entered into it and with a little bit of sql plus programming I can generate the stats tables at the press of a button.

What this means for you is that the Karaoke Stats external link on the right hand side will now be up to date for each weeks songs as soon as I've put them in.

I've created some default obvious tables but feel free to make any suggestions for further ones.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Karaoke - 8th Mar 2007

It was a quiet affair this week at the Birches Head Hotel.

There were people in but they weren't very excitable and the number of singers was on the low side but not to worry, we still had a good time and many songs were sung and *everyone* got to sing new songs tonight which was cool. Ranging from the girls singing Sugababes - Ugly to Andy, with a little prompting, singing the Fratellis - Whistle For The Choir which I reckon probably had the most audience participation of the night... top song dude :)

This weeks songs:

Just realised there were 4 Beatles songs sang tonight!! This must put them a little higher in the most sung artist chart now. Need a plan to fight back and get the Fratellis on top. This shouldn't be too hard, I enjoy singing Henrietta, Whistle For The Choir is turning into a very regular and popular song, Chelsea Dagger can be done now and then when the beers flowing, and..... Baby Fratelli is on the next Sunfly!! (leaps around the room :) ) Ben from Sunfly has put up a preview of what's on this months Sunfly on the KJForum and you can see them here in this thread.


Happy Mondays - Step On - Last minute choice as I was going to The Knack - My Sharona but when I had a go at it at home I found that it wasn't as easy as I thought. Step On is quite easy to sing with very easy lyrics but once again I found myself singing really low and struggling with it ala Snow Patrol. It was ok in the end but will be a nostalgic one-off.

The Knack - My Sharona - Yep, the song that I wasn't going to do I actually ended up doing anyway due to an offer to duet it with me by Andy after I mentioned to him that I'd changed my mind on it. The song starts and Andy looks at me and then leaves me to it, the hustler :p! Well, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be I just wish that Sunfly had done the radio version of the song instead of leaving the full 1 minute 38 seconds instrumental break in towards the end. Another one for the 'one-off' collection.

and so ends another week. ciao for now.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Karaoke - 2 Month Thursday night stats

Just a little post to see how the karaoke's developed over the first couple of months of the year. No doubt patterns may emerge as the year go's on but there may be some already!!

Not terribly exciting at the moment as we're only two months in, but as the year progresses it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Karaoke - 1st Mar 2007

Evil, evil alcohol....

Or at least that's what my head was saying Friday morning as I definately drank a little bit more than I should once more. I actually think that it's not the amount that I'm drinking becuase I've definately drank more, but the mixing that is causing the bad hangovers. Once more it was a lager, sambucca (not sangria!) and jack daniels mixture that was the source of my friday woes.

It was worth it though (usually is), and I enjoyed the night. Highlight was some lad coming over to me and saying "you're effin brill you are, I didn't know your name was Shaun, mines Shaun too" ... errr, ok, let's leave it at that then :)

Singing wise, one new one tonight: Bad Moon Rising by Creedance Clearwater Revival (see below) and plenty of crowd type songs. Henrietta went down well as did Same Jeans. I did Grace Kelly again at the request of Tina but I'd had a few drinks by then so wasn't my best attempy. Scott did a couple of new ones which were cool, Me Plus One by Kasabian (I'm sure you could do it at the higher pitch ;) ) and Open Your Eyes by Snow Patrol. Strangest moment of the night was a girl who having previously sung Eminem - Mockingbird sang Benny Hills Ernie!! And I thought my range of songs was odd at times!

The complete rundown:

Shaun: Fratellis - Whistle For The Choir
Others: Pink - Who Knew
Others: Rhianna - Unfaithful
Scott: Black Crowes - Jealous Again
Shaun: Creedance Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon Rising
Others: Neil Diamond - Sweet Caroline
Others: Eminem - Mockingbird
Tina & Louise: The Corrs - Angels
Scott: Kasabian - Me Plus One
Others: Sandi Thom - What If I'm Right
Others: Tenacious D - Tribute
Others: Elvis - I Just Can't Help Believing
Tina, Louise & Hayley: Eurythmics - Thorn In My Side
Shaun: Mika - Grace Kelly
Others: Ugly Kid Joe - Everything About You
Others: Sugababes - Ugly
Scott: Cinderella - Gypsy Rose
Others: Meatloaf - Paradise By The Dashboard Light
Tina & Hayley: Lily Allen - Smile
Shaun: The Fratellis - Henrietta
Others: Marty Robbins - Devil Woman
Others: Benny Hill - Ernie
Others: Britney Spears - From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart
Others: Elvis - You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
Scott: Snow Patrol - Open You Eyes
Tina, Louise & Hayley: Dusty Springfield - Son Of A Preacher Man
Others: David Hasselhoff - Jump In My Car
Shaun: The View - Same Jeans

** NEW SONG **

Creedance Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon Rising: Picked this one up when looking for some new songs to help practice my guitar playing with (which is going well by the way, I'll blog about it soon!). Fairly simple song, really enjoyable to do and I think I did it justice. One for the 'will do again' book.

th-th-th-that's all folks...

Thursday, March 1, 2007

27th Feb 2007 - Another day, another year older

As the title suggests, today is (well was, given that it's now Thursday) my birthday, 32 before you ask!, and what better way to enjoy it than to see The Fratellis live.
The gig was at the Carling Academy in Birmingham and after picking Scott up at 4:30 we made our way down there. It was a relatively easy place to get to with the Londonderry House NCP car park literally just around the corner from the Academy and so by 6pm we were having a pint (or two) in Scruffy Murphys which was about 200 yards away.
Eager Frats fans were already queuing to get into the Academy at 6 even though the doors weren't open for another hour. We took our place in the queue at around 5 minutes to 7 and were tempted by the 'buy a drink at the Academy Bar and get your ticket stamped to queue jump into the gig' promotion. Unfortunately the queue to get served in the bar was bigger than the one to get in the gig and so we left and rejoined the gig queue once more!

It wasn't long before we were in though and I was a little suprised at the type of venue it was. I now realised how I managed to get standing tickets.... there were no seats! You have to bear in mind at this point I have only ever been one gig before and that was to see Kasabian (+ the Fratellis) at the MEN Arena and so thought that all gigs were similar. Scott told me that this was the more typical gig setting, likening it to Stokes Sugarmill albeit slightly larger. Not that I was complaining mind as it all felt a lot more up close and personal than the MEN event (I could actually make out faces on the stage this time!!).

After an hour or so of getting in the support act, The Enemy, came onto the stage. I'd read bits and bobs about these guys, some good..some bad, but overall I thought they were fairly alright. They sound a little like a Babyshambles/Arctic Monkeys cross and I can't say that any of their songs really stuck in my head. The only one of their set list that I recognized is their next single, It's Not Ok, which I've heard on the radio a couple of times. You can check it out here .

The Enemy we on for around half an hour and once they had finished we were treated to a montage of 'Mon The Fratellis' pictures which had been put together by fans on the official forum. This seemed to go on forever and it started to repeat before finally, at around 9ish, The Fratellis made their way onto the stage.
After the usual "Ladies & Gentlemen, we're The Fratellis" they kicked straight into their first single, and album opener, Henrietta. After that you knew it was going to be a good night and so it was as they played all the album songs plus B-Sides: Nina & The Pimp. Baby Fratelli absolutely rocked live and I dare say that that sent the crowd even wilder than Chelsea Dagger did although it was mighty close given that the crowd were already very excitable after an amazing sing-a-long to Whistle For The Choir! After finishing with Got Ma Nuts From A Hippy, Jon eventually came back on stage for the encore. As he picked up the acoustic guitar he said he normally plays For The Girl but tonight he "couldn't be arsed" and preceded to play Cigarello (which is also a great song). Less than half a verse in and he switched it to the more crowd familiar La La La's of For The Girl which he then sang the whole song to. Barry and Mince re-entered the stage for the final two songs the last of which was the Goldfrapp cover - Ooh La La which the Fratellis did as a cover on Radio 1's Live Lounge and have now made their own as a gig ender.

The Setlist:
  • Henrietta
  • Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night
  • The Pimp
  • Flathead
  • Vince The Lovable Stoner
  • Doginabag
  • Creepin Up The Backstairs
  • Pretty Like A Girl, Filthy Like A Boy
  • Nina
  • Ole Black and Blue Eyes
  • Baby Fratelli
  • Whistle For The Choir
  • Chelsea Dagger
  • Got Ma Nuts From A Hippy
  • For The Girls (Acoustic)
  • Cuntry Boys & City Girls
  • Ooh La La
Although the set didn't last that long (we were out for just after 10) it's nothing but pure energy with their catchy riffs and sing-a-long choruses that had everybody in there rocking along. I'd lost my voice by the end of the night but it was worth every piece of my vocal chord in doing so.

Scott and I decided that a good way to end the night would be to find a curry house in Birmingham and grab something to eat. After walking up and down the entire city centre it seems that there is not an Indian to be found anywhere. This is in stark contrast to our local city centre, Hanley, where you can't walk more than 50 yards without having your nasal cavities bomarded by the smell of Bombay!!
So, back to car and a drive back along the A34 towards Walsall where there was bound to be some restaurants open, we eventually came across the 'Basmati' about two miles outside Walsall. This was after, despite being told by Scott to *stay* on the A34 I managed to come off it by accident not once but twice and ended up having to backtrack around unfamiliar territory to get back on it again (my navigational skills are somewhat lacking outside of Stoke-on-Trent!!). Anyway, we eventually got our curry, which was very enjoyable and all that matters (:p), and made the trek back home which had us arriving back at around 1am.

All in all a very enjoyable birthday and all that's left for us to do now is to figure out which gig we're going to next ;)