Bowling, Karaoke, Drunk Strippers and Weed: Out All Night With the Band Nico Vega
7:59 p.m.: Aja is up first to bowl. She's wearing a size 7 ½ shoe, but she looks like she has little kids' feet. Rich jokingly notes, "Of course Aja goes first. She's the selfish lead singer." The ball starts straight down the middle, but curves right. She knocks down six pins. Not terrible.
8:05 p.m.: We stare at a tall man next to our lane who throws a big hook that teeters on the edge of the right gutter. He's eight frames into his set, and it looks like he's taking a beating. His kid is sporting a Puma jump suit and keeps looking over to our lane and smiling. Aja chats with him for a minute.
8:08 p.m.: Dan bowls and knocks down three more pins than Aja. Rich makes a strike on his first ball, and we are all impressed. He bends deeply at the waist and lifts his back leg like a speed skater. I take my turn and knock down eight pins, but I realize I'm pretty fucking bad. Jamila scores a nine. The balls take forever to roll back.
Danielle Bacher Rich Koehler Bowling
8:09 p.m.: We cheer with our Blue Moons in celebration of our awesome first frame.
8:13 p.m.: The band tells me that they got stuck in an elevator for two hours about three years ago in a Holiday Inn in Texas and filmed the entire thing. It was one of the best/worst experiences they ever had.
8:16 p.m.: Aja asks if Taylor Swift is playing through the speakers. We talk about why Taylor Swift is such a huge star. Jamilia thinks we are talking about her being fat. Dan jokingly says that she needs to be a lot skinnier and that he only likes skinny chicks with their bones sticking out. Jamila responds by saying that she "loves when girls throw up their food."
8:18 p.m.: Aja scores a strike! We are super stoked. "Part of the fun of bowling is to people watch. Do you think all the people over there are related?" she asks. FYI: The people to the right of us are all different ages and have really bad taste in fashion. Most are wearing sweatshirts and washed-out jeans.
"I bet they are all in some sort of retail. They look like that kind of people," Jamila responds.
8:28 p.m.: Rich asks if anyone knows how to dance Gangnam Style. We are at the final frame of our game. Aja attempts to dance in front of everyone. She's pretty good. We aren't paying attention, and Dan bowls for Aja and gets a strike. Rich bowls her second turn. We realize that it was Aja's last frame. Rich comments, "Story of my life. All the credit goes to Aja."
8:33 p.m.: Jamila bowls her turn and gets a gutterball. She still crushes everyone with a score of 106. I get second-to-last place with a 68. I am happy until a better bowler informs me that this is, in fact, a terrible performance. Dan loses. Aja asks "Isn't it a little creepy to think about how many people's feet actually went into these shoes?"
Danielle Bacher Dan Epand Bowling
"Is it still hot in those shoes?" Rich asks, laughing.
"My shoes are sweaty. So gross."
8:34 p.m.: Check out our game score:
8:52 p.m.: Jamila and I go to the bathroom. We return to find everyone else gone. She turns to me and says wryly, "Story of my life. I get left a lot."
8:54 p.m.: I'm walking in the freezing cold to my car. I drive to Soop Sok Karaoke on W. 3rd St.
9:10 p.m.: Aja went home for a minute to breastfeed her baby. I head to Room 2, which is small, dark and sparse. There are tambourines on the table that turn red when you shake them. Dan sips on a Hite beer.
9:12 p.m.: Dan clutches the tambourine and sips his beer. He claims that he can sing "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" from Dirty Dancing really well. In fact, he maintains that he can "crush" the low part of the song and was asked to re-record the original.
9:13 p.m.: He's joking.
9:15 p.m.: I'm joined by Dan's wife Cameron and Rich's girlfriend Sarah aka DJ Lola Langusta and their friends. Rich says, "Babies are born when I hit that note." The entire room starts singing the song a capella. This moment reminds me of the scene in My Best Friend's Wedding when the entire room starts singing "I Say a Little Prayer." Rich comments that everyone is now pregnant. He takes a sip of his Jack and Coke.
9:18 p.m.: Aja sings Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady." She raps decently, but laughs through the majority of the song.
Danielle Bacher Aja Singing
9:24 p.m.: Dan and Aja sing the Beatles' "Come Together." Aja provides the background vocals. I realize that singing karaoke with a group of talented musicians is actually cool.
9:45 p.m.: Dan picks a song for Aja. She sings the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army." She's fucking incredible. Her voice is soulful and strong, and she hits every high note on point.
9:57 p.m.: Dan picks a song for Rich. It's Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll."
Dan (Left) Rich (Right)
"I hate this song," Rich says.
9:59 p.m.: We switch the song to Starship's "We Built This City." Rich gets excited and puts one foot on the table. His crotch is in my face as he moves seductively.
Danielle Bacher Rich (Left) Aja (Right)
Halfway through the song Rich stops and asks, "Who the hell is Marconi?"
10:05 p.m.: Aja decides to do a solo. A perfect pick: Bette Midler's great ballad "Wind Beneath My Wings." "This is for all the ladies," she declares. Her voice is heavenly. I almost shed a tear.
10:11 p.m.: The entire group wants me to sing. I have the worst voice ever. I'm a good sport and sing Alanis Morissette's "Ironic." I didn't pick the song, but I sing it with one of their friends. After the horrible rendition on my part, Cameron tells me that I have a really good voice. Lies!
10:16 p.m.: Jamila and Sarah duet "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" again. Jamila sings in a deep voice the entire song.
10:25 p.m.: Aja picks Rihanna's "Umbrella." Even though she has a great voice, I fucking hate this track. Jamila is playing the tambourine and a little air guitar.
10:31 p.m.: We play Radiohead's "Creep." This is the best rendition I have ever heard. Aja and Dan sing together. Aja decides to make up her own lyrics.
10:40 pm.: We sing "Single Ladies." Rich immediately comments, "Ugh, oh God."
10:55 p.m.: Aja and her friend sing Beyonce's "Halo." They are both extremely talented. Cameron turns to me and says, "You should go tickle Aja. She's too good right now. I can't even hum this song, let alone sing it."
11:00 p.m.: The band asks me to pick who won the singing competition. It's readily apparent.
"How are you going to tour with a newborn?" I ask Aja.
"Oh, she's coming along. She's going to do it. I don't know. We're touring with my husband's band. I will let you know how the experience goes afterward. I'm definitely nervous, but I love being with her, so it's going to be fun."
"The baby is already used to it because Aja toured up until when she was seven months pregnant," says Rich.
"Yeah, she loves music," says Aja. "It was a really awesome experience."
"How the hell do you look so good? What the fuck?" I ask.
"You're so sweet."