|From the Where2sing.com stories:
The Great Karaoke Escape 2004/05
The morning is bright, and happily not raining, but not actually sunny. The first task is to head back down the road to the Portland RSL to photograph it in daylight - it's just not one of those places for which I'm likely to find a suitable picture on the Internet. I'm only just in time, because the rain starts as soon as I pull out the camera, and, a few minutes later as I stop at a small supermarket on the edge of town, I hear one local complaining that it has been raining pretty much non-stop for the last few days. I head out of town, and within five miniutes I'm in bright and warm sunshine, and, looking back at Portland, I see a mass of cloud lingering over the town - they must have severely upset someone important...
The drive east is pleasant, good roads and very light traffic, and the hours pass easily. Places like Mount Gambier pass by, then for a while I'm driving near the coast again, but the day is clear and the views are good, and then it's inland for a while before coming down a really long and steep hill into Adelaide.
As with many new cities, I first like to do a bit of a drive around to get the lie of the land, and, after driving a short time around Adelaide, I find myself down at Glenelg, and notice a number of hotels offering good prices along the roadside.
It's time to decide where I'm going for karaoke tonight, and a quick look at the Saturday night options on the W2S listings suggests that PJ O'Briens in the city should be a great place. But, driving around the closest suburbs to that area I am unable to find a single motel, and finally head back to the Glenelg area to book in at one of those I previously passed.
Being a Saturday night, I need to do some research for the Radio 2GB spot with Pete Graham, and I also call all the Adelaide venues listed on the W2S site to confirm that they are running karoke tonight. Pete Graham calls me exactly on time for the radio spot, then I watch the SBS karaoke show for half an hour, and head out.
On the basis that very few in Adelaide at night seem to be over the age of about 25, I guess that this is a University town and that Saturday nights are for the young. That, hopefully, means that the karaoke will be vibrant and fun. And, whilst driving around, I listen to a local radio station that is being presented by students, and with a very studenty line of patter and choice of music.
PJ O'Briens is easy to find, and I'm able to park relatively close by. The pub is as you'd expect, dark but large, plenty of wood and objects designed to age it, and the beer is suitably English/Irish. The clientele is very young, and already the place is packed. But the stage and equipment at the front looks as though it's more suited to a band, and I'm doubtful as to whether this is going to be putting on karaoke. The W2S listings had mentioned that the karaoke can be very quiet until later in the night, but we're only a few minutes before the scheduled start time, so I wonder whether there's another section or bar in the pub.
After a brief scout around, I find a staircase leading to what is labelled as a function room, but neverthess I head up the stairs. I find a small bar in a room that might be of a reasonable size if it were not divided into a number of very small areas, but at the far end is a reasonably sized stage and definitely a karaoke setup. The host looks as though he has just finished setting up the equipment, and - apart from the barstaff - the only other customer is a gloriously bearded older gentleman. I ask him whether this is going to be karaoke, and he confirms that it is, but suggests that there wil be very few people for at least an hour or so. Apparently some of the youngsters from downstairs may filter upstairs when the band has finished - I'm unsurprised as there's not a single sign downstairs about karaoke, and the staircase is not a particularly obvious one.
So I have a good look at the equipment, which seems appropiate to puting out a good sound, and decide to head back to the car to find some more vibrant place.
Another look at the W2S listings on my laptop leads me to decide upon the Royal George Hotel at Torrensville, and off I go.
Adelaide is a delightfully small city, and navigating has none of the difficulties of Sydney, and it's only a few minutes before I'm passing the Royal George. Parking is easy, and I can already see karaoke running inside the venue. The crowd is not large, but the sound is really good, and I think I've found my place for the night. (the review is already on the website).
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