Photo courtesy of KnowYourMeme.com

When the night gets to be not-so-young, karaoke can seem like a good idea. In a somewhat out-of-character move, my first Madison karaoke experience was at Karaoke Kid with a large group of friends last fall. In any other context you would not find me belting R. Kelly’s “Ignition,” but since I did not choose the song and shared the stage with several of my cohorts, I begrudgingly participated.

But my now-favorite experience with Madison’s bar scene and late-night crooning happened just last weekend.

(Disclaimer: In no way do I condone binge or underage drinking. Everything in moderation, etc.)


I was out Saturday night for my friend Colleen’s 22nd birthday. We tried to keep things classy and hit the Great Dane, the Old Fashioned and Icon. But she had one request: to, at the end of the night’s shenanigans, go to Karaoke Kid and sing Queen. Preferably the undeniably joyful “Don’t Stop Me Now,” since that’s what we often end up singing at her place after a night out anyway. After the first few bars I also promised to serenade her with an Amy Winehouse song.

A bit after midnight, we got to Karaoke Kid, fully expecting to waltz in and make fools of ourselves. But, unfortunately, a bunch of over 21-somethings had the same idea, and the place was filled to capacity. Since the evening was one of a handful this winter that was especially chilly, the birthday girl decided we should instead go to Wando’s.

It could have been a typical night at Wando’s – women clad in short skirts and heels, college bros watching them, a pounding bass from quality artists like Ke$ha resonating in our heartbeats – but it wasn’t.

As the music got louder and it became clear that we couldn’t hear ourselves think, I had an idea: tune out the trashy chorus as much as we could and make our own little a cappella bubble. Unsure whether Colleen had heard my suggestion, I sang to her at the top of my lungs, “TONIGHT, I’M GONNA HAVE MYSELF … A REAL GOOD TIME.” She immediately joined in and we wholeheartedly belted out the entire song.

Apparently our melody was loud enough that it soon caught the attention of two gentlemen nearby. They tried to comment about the song, perhaps even compliment us. But we gave them one look and responded with, “DON’T STOP ME NOW, I’M HAVING SUCH A GOOD TIME; I’M HAVIN’ A BALL.” Pre-Valentine’s Day defense for the win.

So when actual karaoke venues are too crowded, make your own music. And ignore the bros in the corner.

What’s on your UW bucket list? Send your stories and ideas to Katie at [email protected]