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From the Where2sing.com stories:
The Great Karaoke Escape 2004/05


The info under the W2S listings is obviously of great importance - I realised as I considered which venue to try on this night.

One karaoke host in Melbourne who has always made me curious is Peter from Kayone Karaoke. He always seems to be just outside the hardcore of Melbourne hosts, yet has been around for some time, and others have mentioned to me that he runs a good show. I had chatted to him on the phone a couple of times, and now, as I looked for a different type of karaoke venue to review, and in a different part of town, the Lincolnshire Arms Hotel at Essendon seemed to fit the bill.

I'm not someone who's particularly worried about getting lost whilst driving, and middle age has anyway made it impossible to drive with one eye on the map. So I headed off in the general direction of Essendon, my all-of-Australia mapbook on the passenger seat. And it was just as I was thinking I was totally lost that Essendon Football Club appeared out of the rain. And just down the road I came to a much busier road that looked as though I was in the correct area.

I stopped and asked a guy whether he knew where I'd find the Lincolnshire, or perhaps the Keilor Road at the corner of which it should be located. He did, and pointed me to the roundabout just up the road. I went there. I parked. It wasn't there. I espied an elderly gentleman hobbling across to the bustop, so I raced across and asked him - old people know everything. He knew where it was, and pointed me to a roundabout just 2kms up the road.

I went there, and found the Lincolnshire very much dominating the area. It's a sprawling building, but in good condition, and one of those which has obviously found that advertising a 'Sports Bar' sends the right message to the right demographic. I parked in the ample carpark at the rear of the building, and as I walked around to the pub entrance I looked through the windows and saw a well-dressed and well-behaved clientele. Indeed, the bar was clean, modern and bright, and the service friendly.

The karaoke had not yet started, and I introduced myself to Peter before he had an opportunity to notice a newcomer and recognise me. He seemed genuinely taken aback when I introduced myself, but recovered quickly and was quite delightful. That night, he told me, his computer system which had worked perfectly for several hours on test, had decided not to co-operate, so he was running from a single-tray player. The sound seemed fine to me, and I was probably more interested in the audience, because this should be the kind of place you could come in mixed company for a night of pleasant karaoke.

What does make up such a venue, where you might come with some non-karaoke friends? Perhaps it firstly has to be clean, comfortable, and modern - and in this regard the Lincolnshire succeeds. The service also needs to be friendly and efficient, otherwise you tend to think that the friend who has gone to order more drinks has absconded, and the Lincolnshire also met this criteria. There also needs to be enough room to get away from the karaoke at times when singers fail to meet a reasonable standard, and the long narrow bar of this venue also make this possible. It just seemed like the right type of venue for this particular crowd, and for the pleasant quality of hosting.

I'm not sure whether I'd say that Peter runs 'karaoke' or whether he runs a 'karaoke show', but his patter is easy, he stays by the console, and he does succeed in involving his audience. I found several people happy to have a chat, and it was a very comfortable night.

Karaoke continue here to 1am, and they were still running when I went and said goodbye to Peter and his wife. If you go out the door feeling happy, then you know it's been a good karaoke night - and I felt that it had been a good night.

Read more singers' stories, and write your own karaoke story, on Where2sing.com . . .

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