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Karaoke reimagined

When most people envision a night of karaoke, three things typically come to mind: cringe-worthy vocals, corny backtracks, and a less-than-exhilarated audience.

Live band karaoke – where singers perform with a live band instead of a pre-recorded track – is not your typical karaoke night, and Capital Complex programmer/manager Zach Atkinson knows this better than anyone.

“Fredericton is a small enough town that it’s hard for people to develop stuff like [live band karaoke] because there are a lot of moving parts and a lot of time taken by the artists,” said Atkinson, adding that live band karaoke is a breaking trend across North America.

“It’s a fun and semi-interactive event . . . hopefully it will inspire people to try new things.”

It already has.

Launched on March 5, the Capital Complex has been hosting live band karaoke contests every Wednesday night alongside Fredericton 80’s cover band Pretty in Pink, with winners from each night going on to compete in one final showdown. The final competition, slated for April 9, will see top competitors will vie for $500 and a chance to perform with Pretty in Pink this coming Halloween.

“Live band karaoke is a big trend right now . . . it’s a different energy getting up there with a band,” said UNB theatre professor Tania Breen, lead singer of Pretty in Pink, adding that 80’s music has recently had a resurgence.

“For us, we grew up listening to this music. It’s a little bit of silly, a lot of party, a lot of energy. We’re up there partying, having a blast – so if we pull you up, you’re probably going to party.”

Those who attend the weekly contest can certainly expect a party. While applications to compete are now closed, Frederictonians can try their luck at the door with the wild card option.

“When [you] come and pay the $5 cover . . . [You] get a ballot to vote for any of the contestants up that night. You also get a ticket for a wildcard, which we’ll draw during the contest. [Whoever is drawn] gets an opportunity to hop up and sing two songs,” said Atkinson.

“It’s sort of a fun opportunity for people who missed the signup. If they’re really on their game and can blow people away . . . that’s an element that [the judges] will take into consideration.”
Weekly events begin at 9 p.m. at Wilser’s Room in the Capital Complex.

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