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Lone Star Tavern karaoke venue review on www.where2sing.com

Lone Star Tavern karaoke

The Lone Star Tavern sounded to me as though it were going to be a western-styled and large establishment, and I imagined a vibrant and enthusiastic crowd working over a fairly average songlist and average sound. But the reality was nothing like that....

Firstly, it took a bit of finding because, although armed with the address and realising that it would be somewhere just behind Pacific Fair shopping complex near Surfers Paradise, the huge carpark took up most of that corner of the intersection, and the large sign saying 'Lone Star Tavern' was not illuminated. But I did find it at the second try, and was happy to discover the large carpark with plenty of space in front of a sprawling building that housed a hotel. Not that it was particularly easy to identify the actual bar, or tavern entrance, because this was just a wide and dark doorway leading into something called a 'Sports Bar' - that means no sports other than a couple of pool tables but plenty of television screens at which the sporting enthusiast may gaze all night.
But I was there for the karaoke, and I understood from my phone call to the bar earlier in the evening that it should have started at 8:30. It started at 9, but promptly enough to suggest that my earlier informant had been incorrect.

The bar, as I mentioned, is a Sports Bar, and thus has no particular layout or mission other than to have various screens ranged around the room in no particular manner, and there's a step up to the higher area at the furthest end of the room in which the serving bar is located. In contrast to the obviously down-market clientele, the barmaid was well-presented, extremely polite and attentive, and served with a style that would have been more in place in a top-notch hotel - the correct eye-contact, smile, pleasantries, courtesies and change-giving. Now for the rest of the place:

The large stage is to one side of the room, across from the pool tables which were, until the karaoke started, the centre of attention. Against the wall adjacent to the entrance is a large screen on which sports are shown throughout the night, and upon which one of the karaoke hosts and a couple of the patrons continually focussed their attention. The karaoke hosts were two ladies milling around a very impressive and weighty console set up next to the front of the stage, and to the side nearer the large sports screen. Another large screen was at the back of the stage, onto which the karaoke words were being projected.

As soon as the karaoke was announced, several of the pool-players packed up and left, so we were down to about thirty people in the bar, of which half a dozen were seated around a long high table near the mixing console.

The sports-interested lady host climbed onto the stage, cordless mic in hand, and sang. And sang extremely well. The sound was really good, and the two floor-standing and shoulder-height speakers pumped out not only a good volume, but an excellent roundness of sound. She received adequate but limited applause, but then again no one was really introducing singers or pretending that this were a karaoke show. It was simply karaoke. Full stop.

The singers from the singers' table got up and sang, one by one. There was the guy near the end of the table who sang a show tune, then the younger guy who did something more modern but appeared very lost, then a much older gentleman who did Elton's 'Your Song'. And the girl in very stylish jeans who sang excellently, and was obviously highly practiced. Another lady appeared out of the audience and fought her way through a number, apparently happy to have made it to the end despite the song gaining the upper hand. But all these performances had in common the truly excellent sound, and I could hear a depth of quality that I rarely hear; I wanted to sing and experience the same.

And this was going to be a long night unless I amused myself with a few songs, so I walked around past the singers' table and mixing console, and thumbed through one of the songlists on the corner table. 250 pages made up this volume of 'War and Peace' proportions, and with 50 or more songs on a page plus some extra sections this would have given 12,000+ songs. I glanced over at the sizable console, working down past the mixing desk, through a couple of decks, spotting a CAVS unit obviously responsible for a fair percentage of the huge songlist, and down to an impressive power amp. To the right of the console was a two . . .(full story on where2sing.com)

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