By SEBASTIAN BARAJAS
The late-night karaoke held every Thursday at Mr. Head’s attracts characters that coalesce into performers as they brave social anxiety to try carrying a tune.
On the sidewalk outside the Fourth Avenue bar, students and professionals make their way through the hustle and bustle of downtown Tucson’s night life.
Sonar, a polite bouncer, greets people entering Mr. Head’s. Bartenders move like frenzied animals to prepare drinks around the watering hole.
Elated chatter fills the sultry atmosphere as patrons prepare for the next singer. The air is thick with anticipation when another performer bites the dust and the next victim prepares to take the microphone.
Pressure to perform is great, but the reward is well worth the risk for those who make it through.
Here’s the deal: Choose a song and attempt to sing it. If you can make it through the entire song without hearing the pride-shattering judgment gong that bartenders love to ring, you receive one dollar off your next drink.
It sounds like a cake walk, but would-be heroes often crumble. More often than not, they taste the bittersweet flavor of defeat after hearing the gong.
Regulars such as Rafael Camacho, 22, often choose to just sit and enjoy the bar’s ambience and crowd.
Camacho, who frequents the bar with a few old high school friends, sipped on a drink called “The Bruised Apple” while debating whether to attempt the karaoke ordeal.
A few brave souls do not feel such hesitation. Matthew Sykora, 22, did not falter as he grabbed the mic and beckoned the crowd to join him in “The Diary of Jane.”
After making it through the entire song, Sykora turned back to his friends, brandishing confidence before grabbing his prize and celebrating.
The singing doesn’t stop with customers. Soon after Sykora sang, a bartender was handed a microphone to showcase his vocal styling.
Patrons drink and enjoy the atmosphere and performances throughout the night. A select few are even brave enough to chance redemption after getting the gong the first time.
Mr. Head’s karaoke night
Address: 513 N. Fourth Ave.
Hours: Thursdays, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
Admission: No cover