Karaoke Brings Out the Performer in Everyone on Main Street, Hyannis
By: Amanda Converse, July 31, 2012
In the early 1960s NBC produced a television show called Sing Along with Mitch, which featured lyrics at the bottom of the TV screen for viewer participation with the singing cast.
It wasn't until the '70s that a machine that stored audio files was invented, enabling people to sing along with background music. Karaoke started going mainstream.
Since then, it's hard to find a person who hasn't been exposed to karaoke at least once in their lives—at a birthday party or in a bar, as an audience member, or as the person with the microphone in their hand.
Karaoke nights appeal to all different types of people, and draw people of all ages, genders and sexual orientations. There are people who take it very seriously, those that are taking a risk, and those that are simply looking to have fun.
The karaoke scene on Main Street in Hyannis attracts a crowd of regulars to the weekly karaoke nights held at the British Beer Company, Duck Inn Pub, Fresh Ketch, Seaside Pub on Main and Embargo.
“Entertaining the people is what I'm all about,” says Dana Danzel, the host of Drag Queen Karaoke every Wednesday at Embargo.
Embargo owner David Noble discovered Danzel at her karaoke night in Provincetown, and thought, “Wouldn't it be fun to have this in Hyannis?” So, he invited her for a special one-night event that has since turned into the venue’s most popular night of the week.
Noble describes Drag Karaoke as a unique experience that anyone can enjoy.
“Everyone loves karaoke, but Dana turns it more into a show,” he says.
Danzel is “a consummate host who backs up those who are struggling, giving them the confidence to belt out their rendition of their song of choice. You definitely don't have to be in drag to sing, but it is a slightly more edgy” karaoke night, he adds.
Noble's go-to song is “Sea of Love,” by Del Shannon, which he will sing with Danzel or go across the street to Fresh Ketch, where a karaoke night gets underway Thursday through Monday.
United we karaoke
According to Fresh Ketch owner Stephen Roy, the restaurant has hosted a karaoke night for over fifteen years. The restaurant features a big open room with large picture windows that lend themselves to performance.
Ken Wade hosts a majority of Fresh Ketch's karaoke nights. “His sarcasm and wit get the crowd going and his sense of humor is second to none,” Roy says.
The Wednesday karaoke night at Seaside Pub on Main, which has been going on for two years, is a little more low key. The karaoke machine is in a back corner and there is no stage. Many of the participants are reluctant singers, but once they get the microphone in their hands, it is as if they never want to put it down.
As DJ Mike Sirignano says, “it is a chance for people to sing their favorite song, as if they are singing it in a live band.”
But every once in a while, a really talented singer will get up and blow the crowd away.
“You have to be quite courageous to get up there,” says Roy, “but it is all in good fun and gives such a feeling of good vibes that it is contagious.”
Each karaoke venue and on Hyannis Main Street offers its own unique experience, but the two things are the same all along the street: you are likely to hear a rendition of Journey's “Don't Stop Believin”—and the singers are bound to be having a blast while doing it.