"I'm with the Band" at Blue Martini Lounge

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Photos by E. Groves
The Instant Classics back up bar patrons at Blue Martini Lounge.
Blue Martini Lounge

is the coolest place I've been to in Scottsdale's


, which says a lot, considering the

Arizona Pop Culture Museum

is also there.

But after a long day at work, the relaxed atmosphere and fun vibes at Blue Martini's weekly "I'm with the Band" karaoke were just what I needed on a Monday night.

Blue Martini Lounge: A beacon of blue light in CityNorth.

The interior of Blue Martini Lounge is spacious and stylish, with a big patio, two bar areas, and dozens of flat-screen TVs. The décor in the room where karaoke takes place is ultra-modern, with amoeba-shaped ceilings, deep red walls, and super comfy black leather booths. A platform stage big enough to fit eight people and their instruments sits above the bar. The entire bar-back is lit up in a cool icy blue.

After ordering a Pink Passion Martini and a Blue Moon beer, my girlfriend and I looked around the bar. People we didn't know waved at us. Priceless.

Most of the 30-plus people there looked like they were out with friends after a long day's work, still dressed in their business casual khakis and button-down shirts. There were three tables full of them. There was also an older guy in a black cowboy hat, a 20-something with long, curly hair, and a middle-aged couple at the end of the bar. Nobody seemed pretentious.

What would be the point of that anyway when you're getting drunk and singing on the bar with the band?

The Instant Classics, the band providing the backup for the bar crooners, is a seasoned cover/live karaoke band that's been playing around the Valley for years. Their lineup includes a keytar player with a mohawk and three singers (two girls and a guy), who kicked things off with a short set that included Evanescence and Pat Benatar songs.

The fellow in the cowboy hat sang with the band first, doing a decent version of Bob Seger's "Against the Wind." A woman sang a solid rendition of "Killing Me Softly." The guy with long, curly hair rocked the house with his spirited take on "Hard to Handle."

Not one person absolutely sucked. Even if they had, everybody probably would've cheered for them anyway. There seemed to be a "happy inebriation" vibe in the air, embodied by a guy in shorts, a polo shirt, and a backwards Nike baseball cap, who wandered around dancing and hugging everybody.

A bar shot. Mr. Drunkhugs is second from left.

As we stood up to take a photo, he came dancing over. "Hi...Juss....gimme a hug..." He stumbled backward into two people swaying under the giant disco ball and hugged them both. He hugged the "Hard to Handle" kid when he got offstage so hard that he knocked him down.

When the bouncer came over, he hugged him, too

. Everyone laughed it off.

That's the sort of thing I'd like to see more of. It was almost enough to make me get up and sing a John Lennon song. Almost.

"I'm with the Band" karaoke takes place every Monday at Blue Martini Lounge, 5455 E. High Street in Scottsdale. Call 480-638-2583 or visit www.bluemartinilounge.com for more information.

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