Saturday, September 26, 2009

Concert Report #1- Karaoke Night

For my first concert report, I attended Saturday night karaoke at Wild Wings Café in Downtown Charlottesville. Although karaoke is a fun and entertaining experience, it is also an event that can be studied and analyzed like any other musical performance. When I first arrived to the karaoke event, I took note of the lighting, sound, and stage set-up at Wild Wings Café. Considering karaoke consists of amateur performances, many times by intoxicated individuals, the stage set-up was not complex and there was no special lighting. As for the sound, basic microphones and speakers were used for the performances. As a result of this simplicity in lighting, sound, and stage set-up, I decided it would be better to focus on other aspects of the event such as gender and race of the audience, gender and race of the performers, interactions amongst and between the two groups, and the music that would be performed.

While at Wild Wing’s Café, I paid close attention to the audience and the performers. For the most part, the audience was predominately white individuals in their twenties and thirties, therefore the performers for the evening were all white. From past experiences with karaoke events where the performers were all white, I was afraid that most of the music would be country songs; however, this was definitely not the case. The music chosen by the performers came from a variety of genres including rap, rhythm and blues, pop, country, and rock. This makes me believe that even though certain genres may be directed towards a particular race, a person of any race can perform a song from any genre. For example, sometimes it appears that rap is directed towards African Americans. Nonetheless, this did not stop three white women from performing (quite entertainingly I must add) “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot. This same idea also applied to the gender of the performer. Whether male or female, the songs selected were from a variety of genres and the gender of the original artist did not matter. For instance, a male performed a song by Britney Spears and a female performed a song by Bon Jovi. Though I think these findings are interesting, I believe it would have been better if there had been an African American performer. Would he or she have chosen a song from a genre directed towards whites or performed a song by an artist of the opposite gender?

Since karaoke is a social event, it was no surprise that there was a lot of social interaction. The crowd was talkative and always cheered on the performers. As expected, the performers were very bubbly and energetic. For the most part, the performers would talk with the crowd and get them involved in their song, normally by clapping or singing along. As the night progressed, I discovered that the livelier the performer and the more upbeat the song, the more the crowd got into the performance. Music selections like “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi, “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, and other songs which the performer could really get in to, seemed to be what the audience liked the most. Karaoke is all about having a good time, providing entertainment, and letting loose; therefore, it was not shocking to see plenty of social interaction and for the crowd to love upbeat songs that could be sung loudly and proud by the performers.

Overall, I believe karaoke was a good choice for my concert report. I was able to make observations and analyses pertaining to race, gender, social interactions, and music genres, all of which relate to the subject matter of this course. It was great that some parts of karaoke, such as the musical selections, were not what I expected but that other parts, such as the style of music being upbeat, were exactly as I expected. This definitely goes to show that something new can always be learned and discovered.

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