www.where2sing.comGo to the full karaoke website of Where2sing.com  
A Where2sing.com exclusive Karaoke Gig Review

Portland RSL Memorial Bowling Club karaoke venue review on www.where2sing.com

Portland RSL Memorial Club

There is a different world of karaoke outside the main cities, and as I sat in my car on the side of a wet and rainy Melbourne street, notebook computer on my lap and mobile phone in my ear, I found that it can also be a rather elusive world...

I was preparing to head west, and just how far west I was going to head was dependent on where I could find karaoke.

Geelong would have been a dead certainty for a Friday night, but I wanted something more remote, something more rural - I wanted to gatecrash a little club somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

There's a trick to finding karaoke, and it's to phone a couple of the pubs in town - if you don't hit the karaoke pub first go by pure luck, they'll almost always know where the karaoke is to be had. But this time I drew a blank, and it wasn't until I called JoJos Karaoke & Music in Adelaide that I got a pointer back to a little RSL near the Victoria/SA border.

So it was, a few hundred kilometres driving and many hours later, that I arrived in Portland, a small coastal town that just happens to be the birthplace of Victoria, and after a brief search of both main streets I found Portland RSL perched on the side of a hill.

The club boasts a long heritage, and although it looks as though the present simple building was not the original one, they have obviously taken care to recreate the feeling of history - especially in the choice of carpet, utilitarian tables and chairs, wall colours and limited selection of beers. Even the patrons have taken care to dress in the style of the late 80s, but the welcome was warm and the beer was cold (as was the night).

It's always interesting to have a good look at the room, and consider whether karaoke has been set up in the best spot, and in this case it seemed to have been set up in the only available spot. In one corner was the lineup of pokie machines, in another the dining tables still occupied by a few slow diners, the third corner had a large opening that led into another room looking like the main dining room but which was deserted, and in the last corner was the karaoke and host.

Not that karaoke was running, it's just that the equipment was there, a TV screen bolted to the wall above it was displaying karaoke lyrics, and wedged into the corner and separated from the adjacent exit door by a dark red freestanding screen was the host. A banner fronting his small section announed 'DJ Des' - and there Des sat.

In days before karaoke hosts, indeed in those before DJs, there were middle-aged men who retired to their sheds or spare room and twiddled the dials of ham radio sets, trying to communicate over static with distant lands, or even with the bloke in front of another ham radio set in another shed just up the road. And these men were always depicted as serious faced blokes wearing oversized headphones and trying to read their dials through spectacles perched a bit down their noses, and it was such a gentleman who now sat in residence in the DJ's corner. A radio host, he looked - a karaoke host, he did not.

It was 8:30, the time that I had been led to believe that karaoke started, and indeed the lyrics on the screen looked hopeful, though the choice of music did not. DJ Des had appeared disdainful as he played a couple of hits from the 1980s, and now we were sliding back alarmingly quickly through the preceding decade. Within a couple more tracks we were firmly back in the 60s, and by the time my third beer came we were heading rearward through the 50s, and, to my horror, back into 'swing' music with a medley that was interspersed with some of the very early rock'n'roll hits. Not that my dismay over the choice of music was shared by others, as first one couple then another swooped onto the dance area with the appropriate style of dance. Oh dear, this was going to be a very long night.

9:30 came, and we were still solidly in the 1950s, still with the occasional dancers, and also still with karaoke lyrics chasing across a blue screen. But something was happening, and DJ Des came out of his seat, and around the front of his area to where the karaoke player and mixer were set up under the wall monitor. Perhaps I had been misled with the starting time, but after a few minutes it seemed he was only playing with us. He wandered off to chat with a few of the patrons, and I noticed that the original crowd of about sixty scattered throughout the building had almost halved, perhaps as children were shepherded off home to bed. The time crept on, I drank as slowly as I could, yawned a little, and waited a little longer.

Des was back at the karaoke console, but this time he plugged in a couple of microphone leads, found a whirling light and positioned it to brighten up the ceiling, turned down the background music, and it seemed that karaoke would soon be under way. But, after a couple of minutes of silence, we also lost the words on the screen, and then we lost Des back to the DJ booth as he selected another music track. It was 10pm, and I was despairing. Another beer was in order, and to waste a bit of extra time I walked around the room to end up at the other side of the bar, and it was then that I realised someone was singing 'Always On My Mind.' I peeked a look beyond the bar, and joy oh joh, someone was singing karaoke. . . .(full story on where2sing.com)

Read the rest of this exclusive Karaoke Gig Review, and find whether this karaoke gig is still running on Where2sing.com . . .

KARAOKE in Australia

You've found the #1 website with the original and biggest karaoke gig listings database listing nearly 1,000 gigs across all states of Australia - each listing with full venue name, address, phone number plus extensive information about the gig itself. Read feedback from singers who have already visited the venue, and see information such as songlist size, crowd size, type of singer and even how much applause you can expect when you visit each gig.

Or visit the forums where both singers and hosts meet and chat - including State-chat forums where you can make friends whom you'll meet up with at a venue near you.

And there are the Gig Reviews, the constantly updated 'National Top 10 Karaoke Venues' chart, specialised lists of venues for Under 18s and currently running Competitions, lists for karaoke rooms, restaurants, karaoke hosts and supplliers, and karaoke news from all around the workd.

Of course, the best way to keep up to date is by opting in for the FREE weekly Karaoke News Email.