What a great start to the year for rockstars everywhere! Without much of a break from the Xmas party season, Rockaoke have been hitting the road hard, and although the tiredness levels are high, it’s been well worth it. Satisfied singers the country over have been left with no voices and great ( if not vague ) memories. Here’s a few of the kind words that we’ve had back so far:
‘Just wanted to say a massive thank you for last Saturday night – it was an awesome evening and everyone had a fantastic time, best birthday party ever – really good fun’ Amanda, Rock and Roll birthday chick.
You guys are supremely AWESOME!! Thank you so much – that was SO much fun!! What a great party. I want to do it all over again right now. Xx Sophie, overjoyed popstar
Just a quick email to thank you and the rest of the band for making my 50th birthday party one of the best and most memorable occasions ever ! Stuart, fallen over birthday angel
‘Thank YOU for a brilliant night – everyone has been texting and telling me how much they enjoyed your musicianship, professionalism, entertainment and the ability to make everyone feel part of the evening’ Sarah, legendary birthday girl.
‘When we need a performance that can astound and include a huge variety of people- be it upward of 1000 volunteers from all kinds of backgrounds at our volunteer party, or dozens of our homeless and vulnerable Crisis at Christmas guests – we ask Rockaoke. Their incomparable showmanship and musical chops are second only to the ability to take even the shyest punter and give them 5 minutes as a rockstar’ David Littlefair – Very cool Ents Coordinator, Crisis.
Here’s looking forward to a very busy February and undoubtedly similar levels of surreal stage antics as this, found in the picturesque Hampshire village of Whitchurch.
For the 4th year in a row, Rockaoke crashed into the New Year with a heart warming performance at The Crisis at Xmas volunteer’s party. Over 1,300 people packed into Scala to celebrate all the hard work they’d done over the festive period and set a benchmark for Rockaoke’s year ahead.
Following this up swiftly in February, we headed to Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse to play at the inaugural BBC6 festival. Billed in the fringe section of the program we found ourselves slotted in between Tim Burgess’ acoustic sets and the surreal wonder of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. We may have rubbed shoulders with the likes of Guy Gurvey, Mark King and Huey Morgan, but the highlight of the weekend was the passionate rendition of Born to Run that Shaun Keaveny produced to kick off the show.
Onto March and a meeting with comedy royalty at The School of Life. David Baddiel was giving a Sunday sermon on Fame and requested us to help lead a secular sing a long around his talk. After opening with David Bowie’s Fame, we ended by surprising the whole crowd, including the esteemed speaker as we pulled an 18 year old Xfactor auditionee up onto stage to sing Creep. The nervous but talented rocker had everyone entranced and as the masses joined in to belt out the final chorus, Baddiel turned to the band and eloquently commented ‘this is like karaoke, but not shit’.
We raced through April and May with Rockaoke nights going strong as well as plenty of corporate parties, birthdays and weddings – including that of MC Mataoke’s sister, with him and his Mum smashing Living on a Prayer. There was also another trip to the legendary Concorde club in Southampton where our raucous crowd participation has found it’s own spot in the hearts of the jazz loving members.
June saw us launch into festival season headfirst with our Northern team taking on the Doghouse again at Download for 5 nights in a row. That was Rockaoke’s 6th year of creating rockstars in front of 3,000 head banging revelers. On the same weekend, the Southern team headed over to IOW festival to lather on the suncream and grab of few lead singers from the throngs in Hey Joe’s bar. We then managed to bolt on a week in Madrid as the house band at the Oracle global sales conference. Nice.
The Tour de France was kind enough to pop past Rockaoke HQ in early July and of course the greatest cycling event in the world needed help from the greatest live karaoke band on the planet. Then later in the month we had to up sticks and head to another major sporting event, this time the Commonwealth Games. Having caused havoc in the Athletes village at the Olympics and Paralympics at London 2012, we were all to happy to go and repeat the job in Glasgow. This time round we found ourselves largely turning lawn green bowlers into rockers….it’s always the quiet ones.
Two of the best gigs of the year came at Standon Calling Festival with around 400 people at a time cramming into The Salon tent to go crazy with Rockaoke love. Stunning performances, epic fancy dress and the a wild crowd high on life ( at the very least) caused one reviewer to ask the question – Are Rockaoke the most entertaining festival band on the planet? From the boutique to the major, we sent @rockaokenorth to V Fest in Birmingham to deliver the Carling Roadies brand experience. Likewise, at V South, our London team entertained in the Carling area whilst sneaking into VIP to play the Saturday night after-show. We finished off the month with a great 3 piece acoustaoke gig at the Time Out summer party where CEO Tim Arthur demonstrated his outstanding tambourine skills for most of the night. It was then on to Big Feastival where we headlined the second stage on the Sunday night.
In September we trecked up to Gleneagles and were honoured to play at The European Ryder Cup team’s winning party. After spending the afternoon watching the golf on the 18th green, we enjoyed our warm up act – The Jones Gang and hung out with Rory Mcilroy, Justin Rose and the boys. It was then over to us to try and control the exuberant Ryder Cup organising staff. We just managed to do that with the help of Miguel Angel Jimenez’s unique dancing technique and the note perfect tones of Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter
The end of the year flew by with some wonderful Rockaoke nights at the Star of Kings, Tooting Tram and Social and our new venue London Cocktail Club Shoreditch. However, we did have to mourn for one of our London homes as AAA bar in Kensington lost it’s live music license and with it our twice monthly carnage. We also slapped on the make up for Halloween at the Hospital Club. We devised a brand new Live Music Quiz for BDO, during which we turned 160 accountants into a Choir – thanks Starling Arts! And to top it off we met and played with Sky Sports King of Cool, Chris Kamara at The Heineken Star Pub awards
And so we came to the Christmas period and as ever, it was silly season for our bands. Amongst other amazing gigs we teamed up with Monster energy drinks to create a Rockaoke stage at the Mercedes Brawn 2014 Championship party, where Nico Rosberg duly obliged and smashed his way through a 6 song mini set. Other Christmas parties included Freemantle, England Rugby 2015, The Guardian, Ericcson, The Sun, The Earls Court closing party, Planet Rockstock, Lime Pictures, Sony Music and The European Tour. We then finished the year as we’d started and headed to Paddington Green for Crisis at Xmas. It’s not the easiest gig of the year, but it’s lovely to be able to make anyone a Rockstar, no matter who they are, where they’re from or what they’ve got. As ever, we’ll rock out with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Thanks to everyone who made 2014 such a fun and loud place to be and we look forward to seeing you all in 2015!
Rockaoke’s involvement at the festival will be at the Fringe event, which takes place on the Friday and Saturday afternoons. We will be nicely sandwiched between DJ sets and spoken word sessions from Tim Burgess (The Charlatans), Huey Morgan and Craig Charles to name but a few.
There will also be a record fair, a BBC Radio 5 live special with Freddie Flintoff and loads of other goodness for you to feast yourselves on…!
If you are at the event, and want to sing Karaoke with your favourite live Karaoke Band, then come say hello and rock out with Rockaoke!!!!
There will be a brand new, bespoke set list chosen by the music gurus at 6Music, full of slightly alternative but awesome songs from The Clash to The Tom Robinson Band, Blondie to Weezer plus all your favourite Rock and Pop classics!
2 consecutive years, 2 separate clients, coincidently the same date each time, and 1 city. That’s right…..AMSTERDAM BABY!!! Word must be spreading about the UK’s finest live karaoke band, ROCKAOKE!
Last year we were flown out to play at the RAI centre, just outside of Amsterdam for the Blackberry Jam and the launch of their new Blackberry Z10.
This year home entertainment specialists Control 4, invited us to come and play in an old 18th century orphanage which is now one of Amsterdam’s premier 4-star hotels, Hotel Arena.
The rooms were certainly better than the cabins aboard the Stena Hollandica. Although surprisingly the cabins on the boat were great! 🙂
This has got to be one of our favourite venues of all time……and we’ve played a few!
We had the most amazing light display, multiple guitar jams, groupies, guest drummers, inflatable sax’s, solo performances, group performances, crazy fancy dress and our drummer Basil even had a drum riser!! We had everything but the kitchen sink at this gig, and we LOVED IT!!
Bloody Hell, how did it get to November. It seems like seconds ago we were jumping around in red noses for Comic Relief at the Rose in Vauxhall. Apparently not, it was 9 months ago! So here’s a quick three quarterly report of the awesomeness that we have been laying down in the interim period. It comes with a tentative promise of blogging more regularly. The aims of increased blogosphere action are three fold. Firstly it will help to show people who care what we do beyond the stages of London town, secondly it will remind us what great jobs we have and thirdly it will stop Danny bleating in my ear about how I never update the blog!
So…in chronological order, here are the brief highlights of the last nine months.
March – Our first and only hen night. 4 lads, 25 drunk ladies = you do the math! Wowzers! Repeat booking please.
April – Snowbombing – 5 days in Austria. 4 performances. 300 jaegerbombs. Youdu the mafth…..hic.
May – Our introduction to the carnage of Propaganda at the O2 Acadamy in Islington. this spurned a number of national dates that could turn into a lively tour next year. May also marked our first festival of the year on a rainy day in a car park in North Yorkshire. The beautiful people of Crickstock go down in Rockoake folklore.
June – The Wednesday and Thursday at Download were absolute mayhem. Anyone who thinks Rockoake is not a big stage ting should cast their beady eyes at the 1,500 people getting down and dirty in this little number .Big Stage Rockaoke at Download. We also played Winterwell for the third time which is another of our favourite festivals of the year but for very different reasons. Then there was the Hard Rock Calling after party at Kensington Roof Gardens which involved Danny drinking far too many mojitos and getting his car towed the next morning as a result. In between this action we managed to clock up a 36 hour road trip, taking in a very early morning varsity ball and then a crazy corporate in Harrogate that saw Jamie Archer ( Xfactor man with Afro ) turn up for his PA and on seeing the boys play swapped his backing tracks for a 3o minute improvised live set. Rockaoke’s Longest Day
July – This whole month was overshadowed by the sensational events of the first weekend. In fact that weekend has to go up there in not only the best weekends of the year but also in the Rockaoke Hall Of Fame top ten weekends of all time. It was a story of two double performances. The days were spent whipping up revellers in the summer sun at Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival on Clapham Common. This included hitting up the main stage on the Sunday, giving singers the chance to perform in front of 4,000 people and again proving that Rockaoke works on the big stage. Big Feastival By night we sped to the Milton Keynes bowl where we twice rocked the VIP section of the Foo Fighters mega gigs. Sadly this also involved getting to watch the whole show both nights from a Grohl’s spit distance. The month was finished in style with a red wine and meat infested 3 day sejourn to a party in a castle in Umbria. It was nearly finished for good after a late night drinking session with the hotel owner turned a little funky. Never again will we ask a wobbly Kosovan war veteran to prove it!
August – Weddings, weddings, parties, parties, V Festival VIP, weddings and more parties. The top of the rock tree in August was a sensational party thrown by a gazillionaire in the back yard of his uber mansion somewhere in Wiltshire. Putting on your own minifestival for 200 mates for a whole weekend is a pretty cool thing to do and in the words of one of the guests ” I’ve been to many parties over the years and this was the best party I have ever been to, and the best thing about the best party I’ve ever been to was Rockoake”. Not only the party of the summer but quote of the decade.
September – Errrrmmmm. Right. This warrants either a sperate blog or a very quick entry so I don’t end up daydreaming. Here we go. So we played at the Roundhouse and twice at Koko in the space of a week! That’s some heavy music venue boxes ticked! Amazing! Wish we could do that over and over….one day. Just check out these videos – you’ll understand. Rockaoke @ Guilty PleasuresRockaoke @ Crisis “The Big Thankyou”
October – The Pride of Britain Awards Aftershow party started the month with a celeb fest bang. Unfortunately there were far too many agents hanging around to let any of them get on stage, not that Jon would have known who any of them were. We also started a new residency at The Star of Kings in Kings Cross which we hope will turn into as great a night as the wonderful AAA in Kensington. Seeing that not much else happened in October, now would be a good time to say how the growth of our AAA nights has definitely been one of our favourite things this year. After the unceremonious exit from Punk in January we were a touch dejected and wondered where we could find a venue as good. Two weeks later we started at AAA and it’s been a treat ever since. The owners are lovely, the stage and sound are easily the best we have had at a residency and it creates a genuine gig atmosphere for singers to strut their stuff.
November – We can’t complain so far. A couple of days in Portugal with 700 woman in fancy dress and a weekend in Belfast to play the sublime Empire Music Hall. Those crazy Irish kids love Rockaoke and we never fail to have excellent Craic when we’re there. It’s so good that even our down time is epic. On this occasion a mid afternoon guinness at The Crown turned into rock and roll story time with the legendary Wilko Johnson from Dr. Feelgood.
So here we are, half way through November and about to embark on our busiest Xmas ever. We’re going into battle at over 40 gigs in December alone and if we make it out the other side we’ll let you know what happened.
If you got this far, thanks for reading. More regular updates will be shorter and sweeter. Keep on rocking!
“Let em say we’re crazy, I don’t care about that, put your hand in my hand baby, don’t ever look baaaacccck”
As we valiantly sang those words at 11:32 last night I imagine most people in The Rose, especially those on stage were questioning our sanity.
It had all started 3 and a half hours earlier, when at the beginning of our Red Nose Rockaoke night we rather foolishly guaranteed that everyone who wanted to sing would get at least one song. It’s for charity after all, what’s a band to do. And so we rocked and rocked and rocked until we had squeezed all the sweat and energy from our foreheads, strings, drums, lights, the rockstars, the pub and it’s staff. I’m pretty sure the door said “thank f@*k for that” when I closed it on the way out.
The night opened in style with a huge slice of big bad Jon Bon Jovi. Helena ( the organiser ) and her Red Nose crew set the standard for the rest of the nights rockers by laying down a storming version of Living on a Prayer. This got the crowd going and the first set flew by at ferocious pace with Sweet Child of Mine, Mr Brightside and You Really Got Me building to a Roger Innocenti shaped Simply the Best crescendo to close.
The second set bought around a semi naked rendition of Sex on Fire with Steve George struggling to raise the necessary £10 to whip his top off. Sophie from Surrey came up trumps though and coughed up the cash for him to reveal himself to the audience. She then kindly offered to do a number in the buff for £20. I wish I hadn’t bought all those red noses at the start of the night. We are now very seriously considering making “naked song” a regular part of the show. The performance of the night came from the middle of the second set when Jon caught hold of I Believe in a thing called Love by The Darkness. He grabbed it by the collar, spanked it and sent it home like a naughty little school boy.
By the time the third set came around, the last tube catchers had made theirs moves and we were left with a slightly smaller, unquestionably drunker but nonetheless resolutely rocking red nose massive. They were in for a treat however as we unleashed a volley of dirty rock anthems to tie the night up. Killing in the Name of, Nobody Knows and Whole Lotta Rosie got dusted off and thrashed about, but to be honest, by that point in the evening it wasn’t really a fair fight and we nearly didn’t make it out of the ring.
And so we made it to Helena’s swangsong at the end of a wonderful evening. The might of Starship’s Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now carried us all home on a Red Nose shaped cloud and even now my ears are still ringing. All in all we busted through the best part of 40 songs in 3 hours, raised around £900 for Red Nose Day and agreed that this felt like the start of a beautiful relationship.
“But February made me shiver, with every awesome, barn storming gig we delivered!”
Admittedly there weren’t as many as we would have liked. For some reason people don’t feel the need to launch into the rockmosphere at this time of the year. From the faces I see on da street I think the contrary is probably the truth. But where we were invited, stars were born , legendary residencies created and a little bit of wedding dust sprinkled.
The stunningly wonderful Tooting Tram and Social hosted us for a loosely Valentine themed shindig and as a little band meeting decided afterwards we think this was probably our favourite gig there of the past 3 years. Because it’s such a big beautiful barn of a venue it can take a while to get the whole place shaking. However this Valetine’s spectacular saw revellers bouncing on chairs at the back and hanging from the mezzanine from the first song and then it just got better and better. There were a few contenders for winner of the soon to be invented “I am Rockaoke and Roll” performance of the night T-shirt. These included a 30th birthday rendition of Teenage Dirtbag (complete with rose between the teeth when rubbing up to MC Mataoke’s leg), a guy on his first night in London leading everyone in a rendition of Tootingwall and another pulsating Standing in the Way of Control to finish the night off.
Next stop was a new Friday night residency at AAA@Archangel bar on Kensington High Street. We went for this gig based on a meeting with Mark, the lovely ( and a little bit crazy) owner of the bar whose enthusiasm and excitement for bringing Rockaoke madness to his stage was infectious and he DID NOT disappoint. From the very first lick, pluck and snare smash he was front, side and centre of the party, jumping around, singing and giving away free “Rocktails” to everyone who performed. In contrast to the vastness of Tooting this is a cosy ( not cramped) downstairs venue which filled up quickly and after about 4/5 songs we found ourselves slap bang in the middle of a bouncing rock and roll gig. One of the main reasons this was and will be such a bloody good crack of a residency is that the sound is AWESOME. AAA is very serious about becoming one of West London’s best live music venues and as such have laden themselves with an awesome sound system and some of the best technicians in the business. Phil was God of Sound for our first gig and he was genuinely enthralled by the task of making EACH and EVERY singer sound as good as they possibly could. It’s not often we find that detail on the road and subsequently we have provisionally bagged him for our world tour . This maybe be tough as he was out in Europe last week with Deep Purple and is making Marillion sound good for the rest of the month.
Last but not in anyway least was the wonder of last Thursday at The Alchemist in the city. Technically this was not in February but it deserves a mention as it was the scene of not only a Rockaoke first but simultaneously one of most mega Rockaoke moments of all time. . Manus ( our new biggest fan) had e-mailed a few weeks earlier to ask if we could accommodate a little favour during the evening. So at the beginning of the second half, after the previous singer had whipped the crowd into a frenzy with Sex on Fire , Manus took to the stage. Eyes closed and understandably a little nervous he slipped into Chasing Cars and within moments the lighters were out, arms were swaying and everyone was in love. During the second verse he signalled to his girlfriend Lauren to come and sing with him and she foolishly obliged. As the crescendo of the last chorus eased, our main man dropped to one knee and slightly adapted the outro to suit his requirements. “If i just kneel, If I just kneel here, will you kneel with me and we’ll forget the world”. He then popped the question and Lauren said yes. She burst into tears ( which is rare for an Aussie girl) and so did the band and the rest of the Alchemist. In fact I’m a little wet around the edges writing this now.
And so we march into March with guitars held high and amps turned up very loud, looking forward to making more dreams come true along the way. It’s a tough gig but we’ll play it.
We’re going to start at Punk this Friday and then a large dose of Rednose Rockaoke next Thursday at The Rose in Vauxhall. Let’s lay some down and raise money for those who have fewer chances to Rock than ourselves. Take a sneaky peek at the link below for more details
We played in Brixton for the first time on saturday (27th march – Phil’s birthday). Was a great night @ Dex Club. Only threatening behaviour we encountered was the obligatory jobsworth parking attendant on Danny’s mission to acquire parking tickets in every London borough by the end of 2010. He missed out this time as drummer Steve assumed the mantle temporarily.
I was uncharacteristically on my toes. I sussed out the parking restrictions and parked some way off. Walking back to Dex Club I came across a chap trying to move a piano on his own. A thankless task – I offered my services naturally. And ended up pushing a piano from Brixton Village to the Dog Star.
Not got the greatest ring about it has it. Rockaoke’s first gig on a caravan site and my first ever vist to Porthcawl. 4 hours from Sheffield. Even longer coming back thanks to the M42 being shut between j10-11. We detoured via M6 (initially in the wrong direction), M5, A38 and the 24-hour Asda at Minworth where we tried and failed to find iced coffee or any Hershey products. Surely the biggest / least well stocked supermarket in the UK.
Was cold too. Frosty winds well and truly made moan!
It was a buyers/suppliers corporate event for Parkdean (the site owner) and we were there courtesy of Gaymers Cider. Unfortunately the Gaymers cider wasn’t there which seemed a bit of an oversight. I had a pint of water in a Gaymers glass at one point. At least Gaymers cannot be accused of promoting irresponsible drinking.
We had words last night actually. But what goes on in the van stays in the van. Even though the words we had were in the car park. Rules is rules. Suffice to say, we are all still very much in love. And we rocked Porthcawl like it’s never known!
Just occasionally we get to fly to places that are much warmer than we are used to and where I don’t have to drive home after the gig. So I get to have a few beers with the lads. And we tend to make the most of these happy days. Because I like a beer. And the lads like me to have a beer because it amuses them so.
So, on november 1st we celebrated Dan’s enrollment as an official band member with a trip to Athens at the invitation of Macquarie Bank, or more specifically by their Corporate Finance London office who were organising the Macquarie 2007 annual northern hemisphere conference. We were going to be performing to 900 investment bankers – and performing onstage withabout 80 of them. “MACSTAR” was a Pop Idol type show with 7 groups competing for the coveted golden microphone. And boy were they competitive!
4 of us travelled as the MIGHTY ROCKAOKE! Dan, Basil and me and the awesome Mattaoke who was to steal the show as MC extraordinary in his traditional greek outfit (looking much like this except for bigger feet and a more swollen bottom lip).
The event was a real success – we think! Everyone seemed to enjoy it. Lots of shaking of hands and mopping of brows afterwards. The organisers were really under massive pressure to deliver. Of course we remained sublimely oblivious to all this. But hopefully we didn’t let anyone down.
Of course, then it was party time. As some of us hadn’t got to bed until 7.30 that morning, I wondered how well we’d last. But we did ok. It was a free bar until 1am which was good apart from the predictable problems getting served. The one draft beer tap was playing up and the bartenders seemed more keen on dancing than serving drinks. But soon, the bar tab dried up and in one visit to the bar Matt managed to spend the 100 euro note I’d nicked out of my eldest son’s piggy bank.
What else. Water fights. Basil stripped to the waist and armwrestling with big Jim from the Bronx (“If you come to New York, bring a spare liver”) and winning. And there we were in the spiritual home of the kebab but all we could find were dodgy paninis. That was a big fat greek letdown!!!
But otherwise we had a fantastic time! And what’s more we won – sorry, Corporate Finance London won with their ace rendition of BO RHAP! Forgive the bias please. These guys were paying us…
Finally, please also forgive the photoshop job on the photo at the top of this post. We were in a rooftop bar overlooking the Acropolis and this is what the photo would actually have looked like if we’d been able to explain the merits of backlighting to Michael the random dutch banker we’d grabbed to take the photo!