Is it hot in here?

Another classic Karaoke Circus in London last night; second time with full orchestra at the legendary 100 Club, which doubled as an underground sauna. Thanks, as ever, to unofficial KC photographer Paul Bailey for capturing this hot and heavy evening. The full set of his photos are here. If you’ve never been, it’s hard to communicate what a seriously and uniquely entertaining and inclusive evening it is, but where else can you see comedians and entertainers of the calibre of Chris Addison, Tim Vine and Kevin Eldon singing with a live band – led by Martin White and Danielle Ward – and in this special case orchestral accompaniment, for the love of doing so?

Last night’s lineup also included Robin Ince, Lizzie Roper, Waen Shepherd, Tony Gardner and Petra Massey, each stepping outside of their comfort zone (Waen, for instance, usually hides behind the mask of a crazy character, but appeared last night as Waen for Jacques Brel/Scott Walker’s Jacky) and belting something out. Or in Tim’s case, crooning something out. For the record, I essayed Uptown Top Ranking, by Althea and Donna, and in full Jamaican patois, naturally. I am not a very good singer, but for as long as Martin invites me to take part, I will eagerly do so. It’s not about being a good singer – except when it is – it’s about having a go. Which is why the loudest cheers are often for members of the public: the so-called open spots. And why an open spot always wins the prize. That’s as it should be. At least the actors and comedians and other media folk who get up are used to being in the spotlight, sweating. Albeit probably not normally sweating as much as we all were last night.

It’s unfair to pick highlights, but for sheer synchronicity between musical arrangement, apt song choice and vocal/shape-throwing performance, it had to be Chris Addison’s Left To My Own Devices. As ever, props to the band: White, Ward, Foster and Reed, with Limb on piano; to the orchestra, whose fine players are too numerous to mention; and to the judges, The Baron and Dan Maier (wittiest line, relating to the heat after a heavily pregnant performer had done half of Dead Ringer For Love: “I was worried that her steam was going to break.”) – next chance to book tickets before the lineup is announced: August 17, Assembly, Edinburgh. I already have a song lined up, if they’ll have me.

Remember, the first rule of Karaoke Circus is to always go on about Karaoke Circus. It’s OK to do this, as most people won’t get it.

10 thoughts on “Is it hot in here?

  1. When did you move your blog? I just thought you were being incredibly lazy by not updating after your Craig David post.

    • I moved it about three days after the Craig David post. You’ve got a lot to catch up on. However, the old blog address automatically redirects to an entry that says I HAVE MOVED. You are too lazy to have noticed that!

      Welcome aboard the WordPress love train.

  2. “…but where else can you see comedians and entertainers of the calibre of Chris Addison, Tim Vine and Kevin Eldon singing with a live band…”

    Well quite. I’m sure it’s a good night out but what magic ingredient do these names bring? Maybe I should stop looking for a point to everything.

    Left To My Own Devices, though… what a fantastic record that is.

    • Excellent urination on the bonfire there, Dave. Clearly, should the prospect not appeal to you, you’re probably better off giving KC a wide berth. My question is still valid: where can you see that? Luckily for you, you old misery, nowhere.

  3. the Althea and Donna was an excellent choice Andrew, would love to have heard that…. Such a wonderful record… do you know the Lol Coxhill version? recorded when in his eighties? Its the opening track here:

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  4. The uniquely entertaining atmosphere of Karaoke Circus is impossible to convey outside of Karaoke Circus, in all honesty. Before I went I thought “Hmm, this sounds a bit cliquey and full of itself” but that was swept away within a second of watching one of the performances. I am determined to climb on that stage one day, invited or otherwise. Hopefully in Edinburgh. Uh-oh. Look out Edinburgh.

  5. Ditto Steve – I was lucky enough to catch the live version of the whitest Uptown Top Ranking ever and it was a pure joy. I saw your almost equally hilarious rendition of the Ting Tings the first time I ventured to Karaoke Circus and it was definitely a factor in my conversion to the cult of Ward and White! Keep up the fantastic song choices Andrew!

    Chris Addison’s amazing Pet shop Boys cover can be found on YouTube and is def worth a look.

    Can’t wait for the next Karaoke Circus at Latitude festival, and then get it back to London asap!

  6. Looks like fun. Taiwanese are very serious about karaoke and practice at home. I think it take the fun out of it, it’s really about having fun. The last wedding I went to the bride a groom karaoked, it was so cheesy I laughed… But soon stopped as apparently they were not joking.
    Love the photos, looks like you were giving it you all.

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