Wednesday, August 6, 2008

No. 1 with a mullet — Karaoke competition wraps on classic note

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

Cheers erupted from the crowd at the Duck Inn on Kalifornsky Beach Road when Cody Kniceley was declared the winner of the bar’s karaoke finals July 26, but the audience wasn’t nearly as excited as Kniceley’s buddies will be when they hear about the $500 worth of gas cards he got as the prize.

“I don’t have a car so this will make my friends happy. When I need a ride and they go, ‘Do you have gas money?’ I can say, ‘Yeah, I do.’”

Kniceley’s rendition of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” got him top marks from the contest’s judges, members of local band Wishbone Creek. He edged out Nick “Hansen” Conner, who performed “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World for second place. Lynette Creighton nabbed third with “Underneath Your Clothes” by Shakira. Second place was $250 in gas cards, and third was $150 in gas cards.

Kniceley may end up putting his winnings to use smoothing over a faux pas in his acceptance speech. After thanking the crowd, he told them to watch for performances of the new band he had formed the night before.

“It’s called the Magic Mullet Band,” Kniceley informed the crowd, before being quickly and loudly corrected by one of his new bandmates: “It’s Bullet. The Magic Bullet Band.”

Lori Mason, who runs karaoke at the Duck, said the judges rated performers on singing voice, presentation, song choice and audience appeal.

“We have a lot of talent on the peninsula, we really do,” Mason said.

Song choice was the most variable of the elements, with everything from Kniceley’s classic ballad to contemporary pop favorites and even The Man in Black making an appearance.
Kniceley, of Kenai, chose his winning song with presentation and crowd appeal in mind.

“I like the retro style,” he said. “I feel you’ve got to project yourself. I like to give an element of who you are.”

It wasn’t difficult for performers to drum up audience appeal, as the bar was crammed with karaoke enthusiasts. Outside in the parking lot it was difficult to tell where the vehicles of Duck patrons ended and the neighboring Orca Theatre’s movie crowd began.

Mason said the karaoke contest regularly drew at least 10 performers every night of the seven weeks of competition. The top two each week moved on to the final round July 26.

“Number one, it’s fun going out and singing. Number two, people like competition. And everybody loves the Duck,” Mason said.

Kniceley said he’s a karaoke regular in order to keep up his musical chops. He plays harmonica and drums in addition to singing.

“I go out at least once every week just to keep the vocals going to stay in practice,” he said.

He’ll now put that practice to use in his new band – whatever it’s called.

“Can we change it to mullet instead of bullet?” he asked.

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