Nightlife & Music
The Kings of Karaoke: Monarchs of Music Murder Land
First I was afraid, I was petrified. Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side. (Hint: I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor) The judging, the drinking, the dancing, and, of course, the singing… my god, the singing.
Karaoke. It is a fad that has survived the test of time and lived on to thrive in lounges, restaurants, and office parties everywhere. But regardless of your feelings about karaoke there is no more universal and inclusive (drunken) activity, which is why it can be found in so many of our local bars.
The Kings Of Karaoke are the dominant force behind Brooklyn’s sing-along scene. This group of musical nomads has spent the past ten years hosting parties at over fifteen locations throughout the borough. And while the core group consists of eight people, the extended “Kings” members number over twenty. Among the group are actors, artists, musicians, computer and tech geeks, as well as the occasional kickball enthusiast. Oh, and a huge book of songs!
Jason Gersch, the founder of The Kings Of Karaoke, credits the group’s success to their outlook on the experience as a whole. “I think that The Kings Of Karaoke understand that karaoke isn’t really about singing, but is instead about connecting with people,” Gersch says. “We have always tried to build a community around our parties. And in a city where meeting people can be hard, despite the massive crowds, karaoke lets a room of strangers get to know each other without any expectations or pretentions. And then we all murder music together.”
On Saturday nights you can find The Kings Of Karaoke camped out at Trash Bar in Williamsburg. The feel is different then you will find at some of their other weekly parties, as Trash Bar is a metal joint and the karaoke is preceded by a live heavy metal show. The singing tends to start on the later side as the schedule of the bands dictates the rest of the evening. But eventually the crowds of rockers begin to head out and the crowds of drunken karaoke fanatics begin to head in. Right from the start the list is filled with names and songs, so it is best to sign up early. Singers get the whole stage to themselves, and are helped by a small prompting screen off to the side.
The songs differ based on the crowd, but tend to hit all the usual choices (“Total Eclipse of the Heart”, Bonnie Tyler) as well as the more unusual performance pieces (“Let the Bodies Hit the Floor”, Drowning Pool). The crowd can get rowdy but is generally pretty appreciate and open to all sorts of performers, so this is definitely one of the better spots for first timers.
If you are unable to make it to Trash Bar on Saturday nights, as The Kings Of Karaoke take up residency on all different nights in various spots around Williamsburg, Park Slope, and Greenpoint.
Some other places you can catch The Kings Of Karaoke are Good Company in Williamsburg on Sundays, Camp in Borum Hill on Tuesdays, and Rock Shop in park Slope on Thursdays. Visit their website for the full schedule of venues.