America's Backyard: Karaoke Night Edition

A review of "Rockstar" Karaoke at America's Backyard on Wednesdays at downtown Fort Lauderdale.

It is true -- when you sing karaoke at America's Backyard, you can be heard beyond Esplanade Park. That might not be baseball-stadium distance, but it sure the hell is close -- when it comes to karaoke.

Karaoke is every Wednesday from 9 to midnight. We streamed our consciousness once we entered karaoke night at America's Backyard:

10:30 p.m.: There is a backing band.

10:34 p.m.: Why is this place called America's Backyard? OK, we are outside. But there's a giant canopy, so we're not really outside. We bet we could still be standing in this same exact spot if it were raining.

10:35 p.m.: That's a nice brick floor.

10:36 p.m.: Let's guess

what a guy with an ornate Harley jacket, complete with a skull, heart

with a crown on it, and wings, will sing. We didn't guess "Smells Like

Teen Spirit."

10:37 p.m.: A lovely surprise when the MC back-up sings the "hellos" and "heys" and "oyes"!

10:38 p.m.: Group of five ladies, very attractive, sitting at our 2 o'clock. They're drunk, all right. Good.

10:40 p.m.: There are six screens surrounding the stage all sporting the

lyrics to the songs. They really want us to sing along. But

one TV at the bar is still dedicated to the basketball game. That's

good. No fights will break out.

10:41 p.m.: Of course, someone is singing: "I love rock 'n' roll."

10:47 p.m.: We got a lot of Goo Goo Dolls fans here.

10:48 p.m.: This place is sorta packed for a new karaoke night -- there are 30 people here.

10:49 p.m.: There is a table full of props! Top hats, boas, plastic guitars.

Photo by Mickie Centrone
Look at the sax.

10:50 p.m.: Time to really judge the MC. He makes sure we clap at the end of every song. Definitely a plus that he back up sings. He just started playing a fake saxophone balloon on stage -- he's incredible.

10:55 p.m.: Oh, the band announced they're taking a break, should we leave?

10:56 p.m.: Oh, nope, we can't because there is a "Who's Singing Next" left up on the screen. And that leaves us intrigued. We can't miss out on Marina singing "Heartbreaker," Nadine singing "Hurt So Good," Wisconsin singing "Sweet Home Alabama," and Cathy singing "Dancing Queen."

10:48 p.m.: Four white girls booty-dancing to "Shorty Wanna Fuck." We're staying.

10:52 to 10:58 p.m.: Johnny approaches us and tells us: "Most karaoke you're on the same level as everyone else. Here, you're on a stage. You feel like a rockstar because you have that real experience being backed by the band."

11 p.m.: According to this chick, you can walk around barefoot because it's your own backyard. 

Why was she wearing four inch high heels anyways? And why were they

egg-shell colored?

11:02 p.m.: Ian, the MC, is supportive. If we screw up, he has our back, he tells us.

11:04 p.m.: Ian tosses the karaoke song list at us. The pages are wilted from the drinks of ghosts of singing participants past. We can feel their dreams when we touch the pages.

11:04 p.m.: The most popular karaoke song of all time, Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" is on here. The list is only a few pages -- it's more of a limited catalog. We like that: less decision making.

11:05 p.m.: The break mix is dirty. "I just had sex and it felt so good..." is playing. Free subliminal messaging? Score!

11:06 p.m.: That old woman waited the whole break with that purple boa on.

11:27 p.m.: Johnny reapproaches and says: "You love music, otherwise you wouldn't be here."

11:28 p.m.: He argues that we must get caught all the time singing at stop lights. We do not. He says: "I get caught all the time --  I don't mind." He is wearing a giant silver chain around his neck.

11:30 p.m.: Ian the MC tells us we can disguise ourselves with the props.

11:31 p.m.: Why do all cute guys behind the bars always turn out to be the barbacks? OK, disregard that question.

11:34 p.m.: Ian gave a free drink token to Johnny because he wore props! He has on a sparkly top hat and those plastic sunglasses that have slits so you can see through the "lenses." Ian says: "You look cool, then you get to rock out cool."

11:37 p.m.: The karaoke singer who goes by Wisconsin's favorite cheese is goat cheese.

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Mickie Centrone