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A Where2sing.com exclusive Karaoke Gig Review

Caxton Hotel karaoke venue review on www.where2sing.com

REVIEW: Very cold - but good


The Caxton Street area of Brisbane is filled with bars and small eating places, and is a haven for the trendy - but perhaps better heeled - younger party-goers of Brisbane. And, for several nights each week is home to karaoke at Casablanca, which is right on the corner of the street. But today is Wednesday, and although Casablanca is running karaoke, there's another place just few extra metres down the road that has karaoke.

It's the Caxton Hotel, a place where the young and trendy have been going for years, and a place that has undergone extensive renovation throughout these years. Seeing it in the where2sing.com listings, and wondering whether this might be an excellent but largely undiscovered place, I rang to confirm. 'Yes, every Wednesday' the male voice at the other end told me 'look forward to seeing you'.

There's almost no available parking in the street, and the Caxton's own car park is small, but there were two spots available when I arrived around 9:30. I doubt, however, that you'd find much local parking later in the evening, and even the side street are pretty full as few of the houses have garages.

The pub has been extensively reworked, and there are really two main front bars. I got my beer in one, from a gentleman with a minimum of friendliness but real efficiency, the wandered over into the other bar in which the karaoke was being held. It is not initially apparent that it's karaoke, because there's a huge screen the size of a billboard on the back wall, and it was showing the winter Olympics.

But in front of it is a small stage, bounded by metal railings either to keep the singer in, or possibly to keep the audience out, and on this stage stood a couple of mic stands. The girl singing was standing outside the stage, slightly to the left, and in front of where a Cavs unit with a tiny mixing deck sat on a high table. Obviously she was the host, and she was looking across the stage to follow the lyrics on the monitor set on a table and angle towards where a singer would normally be, because she sang confidently and well.

I sat at one of the high, round tables at the side of the room, and there would have been about thirty people in total scattered around. Only about twelve were actively involved in the karaoke, the rest sitting and chatting and perhaps watching, but at a distance that indicated they were not intending to sing. There was a table with two Asian guys and two girls right in the middle of the room and right in front of the stage, and the guys were applauding as Asians tend to - when the singer gets up, as soon as the song has started, at any time during the song that they feel it justified, and loudly at the end of the song. Here was the cheering crowd, and they were much needed.

Most of those actively involved in the karaoke were on the other side of the room from me, and when I went to the bar, I realised that they had chosen this position so that they could see the singer's monitor. Being run from a Cavs unit, the monitor displayed purely a blue screen with the words, and perhaps it would have been a bit silly to project this onto the huge screen.

Although the table in the middle of the room had a songbook, the only other copy seemed to be on the hosting table, and so I went over to it. There was another guy going through it slowly, page by page, but he seemed happy for me to search the pages that he had not yet reached. 'We're a bit short of books' explained the host looking over. The book didn't offer any clues as to the identity of the host, but it was sorted into both Title and Artist order, and I was quickly able to find an appropriate song. The host was clasping a clipboard, so I asked her if I might put in a request, and she was immediately attentive . . .(full story on where2sing.com)

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