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A Where2sing.com exclusive Karaoke Gig Review

Bar Code karaoke venue review on www.where2sing.com

Bar Code karaoke

My impression of Melbourne is of wide tree-lined avenues which go on almost forever, but which finally give way to small and crowded inner-city roads packed with small and scruffy shops, and down which I seem to crawl for hours dodging wandering pedestrians...

And, often, it's these same roads that come alive at night, and down which I have found most of Melbourne's karaoke venues. But tonight is Tuesday, and indeed the Tuesday that's Melbourne Cup Day, and about the only venue offering karaoke is to be found within the Crown Casino complex. So, instead of parking on the side of the road in a suburb where you wonder if your car will still be there when you return, I locate and pursue King Street until I'm swallowed up by the Casino carpark, and am given vague but useful directions by the attendant.
Following these instructions, I find my way to the first floor, and duly receive better directions to the first floor above the food hall, where, after a fairly brief search of several overflowing bars, I find one that isn't, but which happens to be the correct one for karaoke.

Bar Code is a themed bar, though it's not immediately apparent exactly which theme it is.

All manner of signs hang from the ceiling and adorn the walls, with a big logo of a barcode and the words 'bar code', and the place is brightly lit. It's a long rectangular room partially divided, and with amusement machines of all types around the walls - from video-arcade games to arcade motocycle and car-racing machines - and the centre of the room sports three groups of three pool tables in each group (one of these groups being beyond the partition). And each of these pool tables has had blue neon inserted around its inside lip, giving a very neon glow to the game and to the players. Another blue glow is coming from the ceiling where, in a recessed section that runs right around the ceiling following the edge of the room, is a decoration that looks suspiciously like Alfoil stuffed tastefully into a metre wide channel that is lit with more blue light. Gazing further across the ceiling, you realise that it's actually well filled with all manner of small stage-like spotlights pointing in various directions, and which don't appear to be there for any other purpose than decoration. And, along one side of the room is a very niteclub-style bar, from which two girls are serving pleasantly overpriced bottles of drink.

So, if you can now imagine trendy-niteclub meets amusement-arcade, then you have the overall setting; but you must now add the clinetele, which approximates the age, dress and mood of an after-work party, some of whom are playing pool, some standing or sitting at small high tables and watching, and others who are doing battle with the machines around the perimeter of the room. I count about sixty people in the room, including those who are partly hidden in the far section, but this is Melbourne Cup Day, and the number of suits and fashionable hats suggests that many here are visitors and not regulars.

It's also not immediately obvious who's singing, though the quality is most definitely karaoke, and the announcement after the song is most definitely that of a karaoke host. I look around the room, but cannot spot the culprits, so I wander and finally locate the host at the far end of the bar with a cordless mic in his hand, and a console built into the wall behind the bar - which he keeps closed when not selecting songs. And, in front of him on that section of the bar is a songlist - 8 light-blue photocopied sheets with a staple in the corner, giving a total of about 350 titles.

Having established that karaoke is available, I insert myself into the drinkers seated along the front of the bar, and order a drink. Although everything here comes in bottles selected from the cold-cabinets, the two girls have a trick to opening them which involves flicking the metal bottle-opener around a couple of times in their hand, and on the third time having it make sharp contact with the bottle, whereupon the lid magically flicks off. Or not - the girl serving me is spectactular in her wrist-action, but fails on two attempts to dislodge the bottle-top, so she discards her metal . . .(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 . . .

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