Tuesday, March 03, 2009

"I love the nightlife, I like to boogie..."

Have you ever been sitting at a bar watching people sing karaoke and notice that some of them are just way too into it?

I mean eyes closed, body swaying, stretching their vocal cords to the max to some Shania Twain song, totally living out their pop star dreams with the help of a little liquid courage.

How do I have so much insight into the psyches of these so called “karaoke people,” you ask?

Because (gulp) I am one of them.

I have been known to bring the house down to Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About.” And if the night gets particularly rowdy, I bust out Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock & Roll.”

Everybody has that one signature karaoke song. My mom’s is “Son of a Preacher Man.” My husband’s is “Cecelia.” One of my girlfriend’s is “Eye of the Tiger.” And yeah, it is as hilarious as you are imagining.

If you’re looking for a place to live out your rock star dreams, downtown Elgin is your stage almost every night of the week.

Karaoke people have your pick of Douglas Street Sports Bar & Grill at 231 Douglas Avenue (no, that’s not a typo) on Thursday nights. And the newly renovated Gasthaus Bar at 15 N. Grove Avenue is starting karaoke on Wednesdays in March.

If you consider yourself a semi-serious musician, downtown also has open mic nights throughout the week. Elgin Public House at 219 E. Chicago Street is bringing in good talent and crowds on Thursday nights. Gasthaus Bar offers a stage and a full band setup with mics, guitars, drums and a sound guy also on Thursday nights. Martini Room at 161 E. Chicago Street offers a unique lounge atmosphere for open mic on Sunday nights, and Mad Maggie’s at 51 S. Grove Avenue opens up their stage and fully-equipped sound system on Wednesday nights.

If you’re more of a music lover than a music maker, Villa Verone at 13 Douglas Avenue offers live jazz on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and Gasthaus and Elgin Public House bring in bands on Friday and Saturday nights. Mad Maggie’s is making a name for itself with live music six days a week (soon to be seven) with a different genre of music each night.

And if you want to show off your knowledge about music and more, come out to Elgin Public House’s new Trivia Night on Wednesdays. You can bring a team of friends, or just show up and join a team.

So come on down, and rediscover nightlife in downtown Elgin. And tell ‘em Joan Jett sent ya.

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