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A Where2sing.com exclusive Karaoke Gig Review

Petrie Hotel karaoke venue review on www.where2sing.com

REVIEW: Comps, lights & smokes


Petrie Hotel is smack bang in the middle of Petrie, about 30 minutes north of the Brisbane CBD. I've just come from another gig by the same hosting company, and expecting this one to be full of comp chasers.

Indeed, as soon as I find the venue at a junction, I see a banner proclaiming a karaoke competition with big prizes. There's plenty of room in the carpark, and I wander around to the front of the venue.

It's a standard low suburban pub, nicely 1970s design, and carefully kept original. One half of the front long bar is low, and the other half is higher. At the far end of the higher half is the karaoke, in full swing, and maybe thirty people are actively involved. Another twenty would be scattered through the lower half of the room, and I did see some other bar, or maybe a restaurant or pokies room, but I didn't see anyone come or go from there.

Up a couple of steps into the higher section brought me to a position right behind the judges' table, but I couldn't progress further because of the limited space. A few low, large tables and chairs occupied most of the space, with just enough room for a couple of dancers, then the remaining area is dominated by the karaoke console and singers' domain. The singers did not seem to be of amazing quality, but the male host floating around the console with a camera in his hand welcomed the next contestant who had dressed for the occasion.

Country songs were the order of the day, and went down well with the small assembled crowd. The singers were enthusiastic, if not overly talented, but the entertainment was good. The lady techie behind the console did seem at times to have her hands rather full finding and cuing the next disc, but there was plenty to look at between singers. I was standing sometimes at the top of the steps, sometimes at the foot. I lady wearing some incredibly wobbly boots was staggering around in the area bounded by those of us standing around and on the steps, and we all stayed put in order to form a natural barrier against which she could stumble, and thus protect her from injury (forget responsible service of alcohol in this venue - she was still standing, right?)

I moved a little forward in the hope of protecting the swaying lady from crashing into the lights that were set up on the stand in the corner and just behind one of the judges. 'Hello' said the judge, unexpectedly looking around at me, and I realised it was AJ the host from the Palace Hotel. And as I looked at her fellow judge, I realised it was Page Amos from Castle Karaoke, the recipient of much chest-beating and threats of litigation by Darryl of Capital Karaoke (Darryl fiercely protects his right to be the pre-eminent producer of karaoke tracks by Australian artists).

Page didn't see me. AJ went back to filling in lengthy voting forms. Another lady came up and down the steps collecting these forms and retiring to a corner where she could laboriously total all the half-marks. The contestants came and went, none mind-blowing, but none dreadful. The male host wandered, taking photos. The girl on the stairs wandered in a circle, gave us all alluring looks in turn but seemed unable to get her mouth to function. I protected the lights for a while longer until I decided it might support her weight, and let her settle there more or less still for once. She leant back against the light stand, and I went to lean on a high table in the lower part of the room.

The sound was really quite good, the speakers set into the far corner of the room in probably the best position available, and the console was set into the corner of the room with the lady host disappearing behind it. The equipment, that I could see, looked professional and quite new - that's the value of the host choosing to display good speakers. The singer was standing in a large space behind a black-clothed tall box that obviously held the monitor.

I looked at the songlist - a small format folder but with perhaps 6,000 songs. The first few pages were instructions on how to sing, what to do at karaoke, and surprisingly detailed instructions on how to hold and use the microphone, along with a short essay on how certain constanents 'pop' the microphone when singing. And the pages ended with rather useful tips for p*ssing off the host, followed by a short description of the things that such a host might do in retaliation. All rather fun, though I suspect read by very few. And so to the songlist.

But the comp was over, and along came AJ the judge gasping for a smoke (she'd not had one all the way from the top step to the bottom step). I like AJ's Sunday karaoke, and she is a host from Newcastle, NSW who is up in Queensland to see if we can inject some professionalism there (no, I am only kidding...lol). But AJ does run a good karaoke, a good balance of hosting skills against sound quality. On the other hand, tonight's host was also doing well, and much above the average of the last few shows that I had seen (presented by . . .(full story on where2sing.com)

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