Sinatrauma and skateparks

Anyone spot the recent article in The New York Times about the “My Way” karaoke murders in the Philippines? Apparently, when someone sings the Ol’ Blue Eyes classic in a bar, deadly violence sometimes ensues. Enough fatal encounters have occurred to warrant labeling the crimes under their own subcategory: the “My Way Killings.” Many Filipino karaoke joints have banned the song outright. Is the Frank Sinatra standard cursed?

I’ve never been to the Philippines, but in Las Vegas, Filipino karaoke bars are warm, friendly places to drink Red Horse, slurp spicy dinuguan (meat stewed in garlic and pig’s blood) and have fun while belting out any number of Sinatra tunes. It’s my duty as a columnist to counter the bad vibes by suggesting my favorite karaoke bar and Filipino restaurant, Café Moda (3400 S. Jones Blvd. at Spring Mountain). My pal Justin and I popped in on a Tuesday night and drank 2-for-1 ($5) Pyramid Hefeweizen drafts in the lounge. The karaoke was impressive, with singers attempting a variety of styles (Wham!, Creed, George Strait). The DJ was a total pro. In between beers, we nibbled short ribs, ogled the pretty staff and basked in the coziness.

Being the jerk I am, you can guess what song I performed. And I’m still here to write about it! Café Moda kills—in a good way.

Interestingly, many of the best rock shows in February are taking place in an indoor skatepark in North Las Vegas. Area 702 (3040 Simmons St., Suite 104) is hosting a veritable army of mega-loud national and local bands. Massachusetts grindcore act The Red Chord arrives Feb. 24 in support of its much-ballyhooed and eardrum-devouring album Fed Through the Teeth Machine. If you enjoy extremely aggressive music—blast beats, math-metal riffs, growling vocals—check out what’s being unleashed amid the vert ramps and wooden bowls of this little-known (at least if you’re old enough to have a driver’s license) facility. On Feb. 20, Area 702 spotlights Vegas’ own Searchlight, whose song “Contagious” was featured in the 2007 sci-fi/horror flick Resident Evil: Extinction starring Milla Jovovich. Nobody makes better post-apocalyptic zombie attack music than Searchlight. If that’s not edgy enough, move to Philippines and test your luck with “My Way.”

And on a more peaceful note, we’re already halfway through Black History Month, which I like to call James Brown Month, since he sings my favorite songs of self-empowerment (no matter what color you are). My personal playlist of JB funk slices includes: “Reality,” “Soul Power,” “Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud,” “I Don’t Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing,” “Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved” and “Funky President.”

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