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A Where2sing.com exclusive Karaoke Gig Review

Hervey Bay RSL karaoke venue review on www.where2sing.com

REVIEW: The happiest karaoke


Unless your kids want desperately to be rescued by a surf lifesaver, or perhaps you, more worryingly, have this peculiar fantasy, the place to head to on the Sunshine Coast is Hervey Bay.

Being a bay, it has warm and shallow waters for about as far as most people can be bothered wading, no rip current, and both grandma and the kids can safely enjoy the water without the risk of any reduction to the number of people you take home. And thus it is a popular place for families.

So when you've had your day on the beach, recaptured grandma and the kids, the place that everyone will next want to go is karaoke. Right?

Just a few streets back from the beach is Hervey Bay RSL, and if the kids are too tired and you must drive, then there's a carpark big enough in which to lose them. On your trek from the carpark to the RSL, ignore the tempting set of stairs at the far end, and follow instead the big sign that says 'Entrance'. For it is what is says.

The man welcomed me with military precision, was not interested in which country I arrived from (Australian veterans have made enemies of pretty much all), and pointed me up the escalators. Yes, escalators - for this is a classy joint.

Hervey Bay RSL has a secret weapon when it comes to securing the bulk of Hervey Bay's tourist trade come nighttime, and it's called '$2.70 Schooners Saturdays & Sundays'. Now wouldn't that p*ss you off if you were a local hospitality business desperately trying to get your share of the bumper weekend trade? But the RSL is winning the war on the home front, because the place is packed.

I mean 130+ in the restaurant alone, and that's not because the meals are cheap. $10 was the least expensive, and that got me the roast of the day - though a nice roast it was as that, and it was nearly enough. I sat at my little table, listening to the jazz pianist in the distance and rather wishing he wouldn't, and around me sat the blue rinse set. And what makes it worse is that they all looked rather content.

Now, either it's something in the water, or it's just that there's really so little to do in Harvey Bay at nighttime, but this part of Australia is home to the most content people in Australia according to a recent survey. Content, or brain dead, it was hard to determine. But the place was nice, the food was nice, the nice man at the piano was having a nice time, and I finished my nice meal and went in search of the karaoke.

It was in a separate room, and although not yet the allotted time, had already started. Just.

A little fat girl was singing, and singing rather badly, but she won points on the 'young and cute' stakes, and the host stood beaming beside her. She finished the song, or rather the song finished her, and the host told us that karaoke was as easy as demonstrated by this gorgeous seven year old dumpling. Dumpling then wanders off behind the console, and it becomes clear that she and the host are related - maybe she is his grandchild.

The host is a bald, rotund gentleman wearing a necessarily oversized red shirt, and looking every bit what Dumpling will look like in sixty years or so should she continue with the same obviously bad eating habits. I'm sure this host comes straight from a career in real estate, because he has both the look and the manner of such a professional. The odd one out in the tribe is the frizzy, blonde haired younger lady sitting behind the table but doing nothing, because all the equipment seems to be facing towards the large red beachball, and indeed he seems to be pressing the buttons.

The screen tells us that this is a CAVS unit, and he has a rather fancy mixing desk. The whole setup looks rather professional, and he has his speakers nicely high on stands - one at the extreme side of the room in front of the console, and the other some way along the other wall. There is a very wide round pillar in front of the console, so my view is partly blocked by this. The sound is nice, though a little quiet, but it's difficult to gauge the quality when all you have to go on is a rather out of tune seven year old.

Next we have a lady from the table in front of the nearer speaker, but it soon turns out that she has taken the hosts instructions to heart, and is taking her cue for quality from Dumpling. It's an old ballad, so we sing along and try and drown her (if only!). She's followed by a similar disaster from the same table, and she is followed by a horrendous disaster from another table. I'm enthralled.

The songlist is nicely presented, and I decide on something gentle but reasonably modern. I note the number, and head to the console where Ms Frizzy Blonde picks up pen and clipboard and asks me the number - why do these hosts believe they are the only ones who can write? 'The song?' Ms Frizzy Blonde asks me, and I tell her - adding 'can none of your regulars write?' 'Name?' she asks, totally ignoring my question.

We're only a couple more songs into the night, and the Red Beachball sings. He chooses Meatloaf, something far too high for his voice, but he has obviously practiced it endlessly because he stands out near the front of the audience where he cannot see any screen, and . . .(full story on where2sing.com)

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