Where to … do live-band karaoke


“Karaoke has come a long way since tacky pub crooning competitions that sent a million wannabes flocking to the X Factor auditions. We’ve since seen the social sport become hip by way of Japanese-style, Lost in Translation-influenced booths. Well now karaoke has gone upmarket with the introduction of live bands. The amazing Shunt (020 7378 7776; shunt.co.uk) members’ lounge beneath London Bridge station regularly hosts classy karaoke sessions, with jazzy musicians bolstering brave singers who are willing to get up on stage to belt out contemporary songs – from Blondie to the Beatles. Membership (basically an entry fee) for the evening costs £5. Alternatively, become lead singer, for one song at least, with Rockaoke, a rock band who play at the Loop Bar in London (020 7493 1003;theloopbar.co.uk) on Thursdays.

The trend is exploding in the States, so join The Human Karaoke Experience at O’Flanagan’s bar (myspace.com/humankaraokeexperience) in New York, scream away at the Metalsome (metalsome.net) rock night at the Dark Horse Cavern in Atlanta or join the Live Band Karaoke collective (livebandkaraokechicago.com) in bars across Chicago.

The Observer – sunday 26 august 2007