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A Where2sing.com exclusive Karaoke Gig Review

Balmoral Bowls Club karaoke venue review on www.where2sing.com

REVIEW: Balmoral Bowls Club


I was always intrigued by this listing on where2sing.com because it said the club,, in an inner southern Brisbane suburb was rather hard to find. And, indeed, when I looked at my map I could see this little lane wandering through an area of green. Later that day I found one end of this lane, right next to an RSL club, followed it, but soon came to a dead end in a bit of woodland. I drove around a couple of roads, found the other end to the lane, drove up a small hill, and soon found what I was seeking: Balmoral Bowls Club.

As I walked down the steps from the carpark, I realised that this was one of those old suburban clubs that has been left untouched by modern times. It's a low timber building, nicely painted but unrenovated, and you enter the building about halfway down its length. On the right is the main bar, and on the left and up a few steps is the dining room.

I opted for the dining room. There was a blackboard with the list of meals available, and I chose the steak at $7. The man at the kitchen hatch was friendly, took my order, and asked approximately where I would be seated so they could find me. Back in the main area, I got a beer from the lady behind the bar who was equally friendly, and it was only a few minutes before a young girl came looking for me with the message that my meal was ready.

This is an old club, and a quick ramble around the walls will tell you this from the old photographs. And, more specifically, a framed letter announcing a meeting of interested bowlers to decide whether to form the club - dated March 1919. The clubhouse is a wooden structure, and from the pictures looks as though it is the original structure but somewhat added to in later years. It's neat, and lovely, and just a fine example of a small, old building still serving its purpose extremely well. Whilst other clubs have been modernised, renovated, revitalised and pokie-ised, this place remains just as it was originally intended - as a building meant to serve the needs of bowling club members. Let me put it another way - this club is for those who, shock horror, want to actually play bowls.

The large open windows all along the back wall overlook the bowling green, though at this hour of the night it is rather too dark to see much. But the surrounding area is woodland, and so there is the chirp of insects as the main background noise.

The karaoke is set up at one end, and quite an impressive looking affair for this size of club. There's a monitor for the singer, and the equipment is set up against the window and with a laptop computer perched on top - one speaker high on a stand to the rear of the singer, and some flashing lights sitting on the floor. Where you'd expect to find the other speaker, to the other side of the singer and just in front, there is instead a monitor on a stand and facing the audience, and the second speaker is to be found some way down the room next to another open window and pointing back slightly towards the singer. I guess the host finds this is the best position to fill the room with sound.

It's just 7:30 when the host starts, and the first we see is information pages on screen telling us how to pick a song and hand it in. All very nice. The first song is sung by the host, and he sings well - adjusting the sound to improve the roundness through his song. He is followed by two good singers before we get to the rather average, but all sound ok though his system. Bear in mind that we'd have no more than 15 people in the place, although several look like keen karaoke singers.

The host seems to know everyone, but since everyone is spread out at the various tables, the friendliness does also encompass any newcomers like me. It's a really friendly little club atmosphere, and many of those who pass by say hello. The man selling the tickets for the raffle has also passed by and said hello and extracted $5 from me.

There's a lull in the song, and I can hear the increasing roar of something that sounds . . .(full story on where2sing.com)

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