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A Where2sing.com exclusive Karaoke Gig Review

Noosa Heads Surf Live Saving Club karaoke venue review on www.where2sing.com

REVIEW: The best, revisited.


I was here just two weeks ago. I rated the karaoke as being the best all round show that I had attended for a long time, and I wondered whether this were a 'one-off', or whether I'd still hold this view upon a second attendance. Sure, there was something considerably lacking in the bar staff, but perhaps that would improve on a second visit. But as far as eating the food, well, I decided that was unlikely to have changed.

I went for a swim in the middle of the afternoon, and when I looked back at Noosa Surf Club from the beach, there was the big sign telling me that karaoke was on tonight. But later in the day, I chose to eat elsewhere on Hastings Street, and have found that there are some excellent local places with far better quality food (and service) than in the Surf Club.

And so it was just before 8:30 that I climbed the Surf Club stairs, and the karaoke had not yet started. The girl at the bar was the same blonde, pretty little thing with no appropriate words that I had encountered on the previous occasion. But the guy being served by another girl was having a joke about women's self-stated ability to multi-task, and as the conversation spread amongst us, the blonde one came alive, joined in the conversation, and actually laughed. The service was still rough, but at least it was friendlier.

I had only just got my beer when the host welcomed us all, told us that there would be some guest singers tonight, and invited any singers to come up and sing a song. The video screens were displaying three screens of information about how this might be done, and the host was telling us that both he and his wife would now each sing a song by way of a sound check. As with last time, the sound did alter during the sound check, and, at the conclusion of both songs, he stated that the sound was now ready for other singers - and asked us to welcome the first singer to the stage.

There was only slight applause, and so he jokingly encouraged us to applaud louder, and not only did this work, but it set the level of applause for the rest of the night.

The first lady singer was a visitor who, according to the host, comes up from Melbourne each year. I can understand why. The sound is really nice, and even though the equipment seems fairly standard, the quality of sound seems to have just the right balance.

The karaoke is running from a PC using a programme called PC-DJ/KJ. This means that songs are always cued up and ready, and that each singer's name appears on the screen in readiness for his song. It also means that there were no songs that skipped or failed, and none with imperfect lyrics on screen. The speakers looked like standard EV units, and not particularly big, but sitting high up on stands - one in front of the hosts' console, and the other on the far side of the stage. A distant spotlight lit the singer without blinding him. The singer's monitor and foldback were positioned neatly at the front of the stage.

About a week ago, I saw this equipment in use in another venue with just the lady hosting, and it was rather quiet and vocals-loud. The lady didn't once come out from the console to check, and when I had sung, I had found the foldback to be rather loud - and the foldback speaker had pointed across the stage at the lady host who was presumably balancing to this one speaker.

But here in Noose Surf Club, Alan the host was regularly out in the audience checking the sound from halfway, then all the way, down the room. No matter what manufacturer's label was displayed at the start of the song, no matter who was up on stage singing it, the sound was at a remarkably constant volume and balance. I do hear that this host has spent time doing courses on sound engineering, and it shows.

But now the words on the large screen were rather fuzzy, and the lady host had been working on something. So, and as a new singer started, all words were lost and we were told that there would be a moment whilst the video splitter was replaced. I had chosen this time to put in a request, and when I was briefly at the side of the console, I could see the lady doing a very fast job of stripping leads from the splitter and re-routing them. There was perhaps less than a minute of fill-in music before the host bounded back onto the stage, thanked everyone for waiting, explained what the problem had been and that it was now fixed, and on we went. Far from this being an interruption to the night, or a reflection on the host's maintenance of his gear, he took the opportunity to build the impression that the gear was expensive and complicated, that the occasional failure was an indication that the equipment was 'state of the art', and he successfully turned the event into a positive experience. This is a host well practiced in his art.

And so we went on to a couple more singers before my turn to sing. As previously, the balance on stage mirrored that for the audience, the sound was full and well balanced, I could hear my pitch precisely, and the setup of the room plus just enough light for the singer meant that it really felt more like a 'guest performance' than merely getting up to sing. This host adheres to the Number One rule of getting and retaining good singers, and that is to ensure a great experience for the singer - from good foldback to appropriate lighting, an audience focused on the singer, . . .(full story on where2sing.com)

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