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The Lantern Inn
Friday we headed northeast to the shores of the backwaters of Lake Lanier and the Lantern Inn Restaurant on Browns Bridge Road.
|$21 gets you all you can eat Southern fare – fried chicken (very good),
fried seafood (good), a few vegetables (decent) and barbecue (lousy.) Settle
in and order something from the full bar from the hyper friendly wait staff,
such as Aunt Betty.
At precisely 8:30 the first act goes on, The Barnacles, a local cover band that does everything from 50’s rockabilly standards to 60’s R&B classics to 70’s funk to 90’s pop. The lead guitarist can do a mean Stevie Ray Vaugn tune or two as well, but it’s early yet and everyone is too busy chowing down to do much dancing.
||But it’s not the food, The Barnacles, or even the full bar that draws the crowd. As the sign out front says, every Friday and Saturday Elvis makes a live appearance. Mike Jones, fresh from a shift in the kitchen, dons a black leather outfit and comes out to the expected fanfare, provided by his father and an ancient karaoke machine that even includes, I’m not kidding, occasional use of 8-track tapes.|
|Elvis does a few songs to get the crowd going, then breaks for a long set of Jeff Foxworthy flavored jokes of a dirty and/or self-deprecation variety. Some of them are funny, and some of them are funny for the wrong reasons, but regulars say they rarely change. (Frankly, it's probably a good thing he spends more time joking than he does singing because he's not that great a singer.)|
||He does a few more songs and a few more jokes. His wife, “Priscilla”, wraps a handful of scarves around his neck for him to give to the ladies, while the guys watch Priscilla, and her marvelous cleavage, saunter out of the room.|
This lady gets a little something extra with her scarf.
Elvis introduces Melissa, “All the way from the country music capitol of the
world, Nashville, Tennessee! Well, not really. But it sounds better than ‘all
the way from the third trailer on the right in the trailer park up on 329’.”
Then Elvis takes a break, “Gotta get back there and clean up the kitchen before momma gets mad.”
|Aunt Betty brought out birthday cakes for our celebrants, still frozen.
"You want me to box them up so you can take 'em home?", she asked.
A few minutes later she came out with them repackaged in their original Peppridge Farm boxes.
Elvis gives the mike over to Melissa, a girl who dresses much like Shania
Twain, whose songs she’s covering, but doesn’t look much like Shania Twain. But
nobody goes to the Lantern Inn for the performers’ (or clientele’s) fashion
sense. Melissa serenades the men Elvis had all but ignored for a couple of tunes
before Elvis’ sister takes the mike and does a few Patsy Cline standards. But
she comes off more as a Pasty Stone from Ab Fab the night we caught the show,
the night of her 50th birthday. Then things got even weirder.
“How?!?”, you ask? Some of the guys in our group grabbed one of their compatriots and hauled him in his chair up to the floor, where Patsy turned her karaoke into an impressive lap dance.
|Elvis returns, now in a white jump suit and covering some of his later material, still rife with jokes and occasional non-Elvis tunes, before the grand finale – Dixie, with the U.S. flag hanging behind him.|
The Barnacles return to the stage to a crowd much more relaxed, thanks as much to Elvis as the $6 pitchers and/or Blue Suede Shooters. Even some of our gang got up to get down.
In all, it’s a fun evening, and not entirely as an exercise in irony. $21 sounds like a lot for dinner, but not dinner and a show, and the drink prices are pretty good too. Just make sure you get a designated driver ‘cause it’s a long way home from the Lantern Inn!
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