Live Hard Rock Karaoke is letting punters live out their rock star fantasy
20.09.2019

Live Hard Rock Karaoke is letting punters live out their rock star fantasy

Words by Augustus Welby

Blue Moon Karaoke Bar lives in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. Every Wednesday to Sunday, Blue Moon welcomes punters in for open-bar karaoke.

It’s an inclusive, convivial environment with a wide range of drinks on offer to help pedal the liquid courage.

This October, Blue Moon will introduce Live Hard Rock Karaoke to its weekly schedule, courtesy of Envy Entertainment. Every Sunday from 8pm, Live Hard Rock Karaoke will pair gutsy punters with a live band of touring professionals who’ve familiarised themselves with over 200 songs.

Founder Envy Marshall borrowed the concept from Sydney dive bar, Frankie’s Pizza.

“We were lucky enough to work with Dave Eastgate. He came over [from Frankie’s] and loaned us the idea and went back to Sydney and said, ‘you guys can run with it’,” says Marshall. “We started off about five months ago. It’s been pretty successful and it’s growing, so we’re really excited. It’s pretty bad arse.”

Envy Entertainment have been trialling the concept around town and are looking forward to settling in at Blue Moon. To prove they mean business, they’ve enlisted comedian Dave Callan as the host of Sunday night karaoke.

“It’s like the usual karaoke paradigm where you get amazing singers doing incredible work and then you get bucket-listers, people who’ve never done it before and just really fancy a go,” Callan says. “They get to live out their rock star fantasy for a night with a live band. My job is to set the scene, make everyone comfortable and get everyone into their rockstar posturing, because at the end of the day vocal ability is secondary to selling it and posturing and owning the stage.”

The format is simple enough. “We put song lists out, we get the crowd a bit juiced beforehand, people sign up and then on the night people get up and they have a bit of a yell,” Marshall says. “It’s really collaborative, it’s really inclusive and it’s just a bunch of fun.”

Callan was immediately impressed by the energy at Live Hard Rock Karaoke. “It was just undeniable and huge,” he says. “It sweeps everyone up and it felt like a night unlike any other. So my role is to keep it cranking, keep it moving and help people who need help and then get out of the way.”

“And also to absolutely smash out Rammstein,” Marshall says.

“That’s my go to,” says Callan. “I spent a little bit too long learning the actual German words. That was a good seven hours I spent.”

Callan’s long shaggy hair and beard suggest he’s a gruff metal head, but in recent years his comedy shows have showcased choreographed dance routines. So if the room really starts popping, look out.

“There’s a few songs on the list that I have actual choreography for,” he says. “I spent an afternoon, or several, learning the Backstreet Boys’ ‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)’. If anybody sings that I tend to join in and add a bit of back-up dancing. And I’ve been studying the moves of misters Freddie Mercury and Axl Rose, so I tend to incorporate that and add a bit of colour and movement.”

As Callan indicates, the song list isn’t confined to Slayer and Megadeth, Judas Priest and Korn. The band can also support singers on songs by ‘90s favourites Blur and Alanis Morissette as well as classics from Bowie, Blondie, Dragon and The Clash.

“The band is a hard rock band, the hosts are rock karaoke hosts, we’re all rockpigs, but we do throw a couple of fun ones in there,” Marshall says. “For example, on my birthday they made me sing ‘MMMBop’. We have a few outliers, which are the crazy ones people want to hear and have fun to.

“It’s a 90 per cent rock’n’roll evening – classic rock, hard rock, metal – but then we have those few fun ones that we throw in there for good measure.”

Live Hard Rock Karaoke hits Blue Moon Karaoke Bar in Melbourne’s CBD every Sunday from October 6. Hit up the venue website for more info.