Punk Rock Karaoke

I’ll be honest here. The idea of going to a karaoke night ranks alongside things to avoid such as van drivers in a hurry, root canal surgery and the clap. However, when this involves a full on live backing band, cheap (ish) beer and a range of punk and new wave classics to bellow your heart out to, then my groans of disapproval fell on deaf ears, especially when faced with that ‘you have no choice in the matter’ look from my girlfriend (I’m just fortunate she shares similar views about the clap).

So with a distinct lack of anything ‘punk’ to wear (I can’t fit into my old tight jeans I’m still hanging onto) and a mind trying desperately to think of excuses just in case I got mistakenly took for someone who could/wanted to sing, I left on my quest to appease the good lady and hopefully have a bloody good time.

I needn’t of feared though. Instead of the ranks of bullet wearing Camden punks I expected would be queuing up to gob on me, PRK attracted an all together different bunch, and I can only put this down to two reasons; One, no self respecting purveyor of the proper mowhawk would be seen dead at any karaoke club and two, one look at the song menu told you this wasn’t strictly a punk evening.

True, you have the chance to sneer down the mic stand to such classics as ‘God Save The Queen’, ‘London Calling’ and ‘Blitzkrieg Pop’ but you can also try your hand at RATM’s ‘Killing In The Name Of’, Blur’s ‘Song 2’ and Hole’s ‘Celebrity Skin’. And with even a rocked out version of Kylie’s ‘Can’t Get You Outta My Head’ to choose from, there was pretty much something for everyone.

So what’s it all about then? Well it’s everything karaoke used to be when it first arrived on these shores and quite frankly, should still be about. It’s about that ‘what the fuck’ attitude that sees anyone brave enough to have a go, having a go, whether they can sing or not (something Punk itself was all about) and tonight, it was all here.

From Pete’s snarlingly eloquent and in your face rendition ‘Fight for Your Right to Party’ right through to Dom’s out of tune, mouse-like (but strangely humbling) squeaks of ’99 Red Balloons’, everyone who got up clearly had the time of their lives, mashing it up with the band and playing the rock god. However, the point was, whether good or bad, the crowd loved them all equally and that is exactly how it should be (though I have to say the pissed screaming girls were grating my sanity by their second song).

As for the band themselves, well you have to hand it to them. At times they could have easily capitulated with either laughter or despair but they held it together admirably, smiling from the first song to the last. Special mention must go to the bassist who managed to keep it all together despite busting a string halfway through ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ and nearly being pushed of the stage by a black n white striped, all girl collective doing ‘Basket Case’.

Still not convinced? Well let me put it another way – where else can you get hold of your own rock band and jump on stage singing some of your favourite tunes to audience that you’d have to go as far as insulting their mothers to upset, eh?

Written by Habert on

Pete Habert was sub-editor for The Mag and co-ordinated submissions from the swarm of writers that contributed articles from their local music scenes.

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