"Everybody wants to be a rock star," or so hopes Francis George and the rest of his bandmates in Voices Carry, a new act that ups the ante on the standard karaoke gig by playing the songs as the amateurs sing them. With "bandaoke," Voices Carry invite aspiring rock 'n' rollers to center stage to sing the best hits of the '80s with live music at their backs.
"Being in a band is about entertaining. It's about giving people a show, an experience," says George. "So we dress like rock stars, [...] we jump around stage and when the singer comes up, we'll put our arms around them like they're part of our band." Lucky for the singers, being a temporary part of their band doesn't mean dressing like they're in the band, too, even if it is encouaged—wigs, animal print pants, faux fur and generally anything that echoes the very best (or worst) of David Lee Roth's sartorial days. But it may mean singing "Purple Rain" at the top of your lungs or attempting your very best Steve Perry impression.
"When we play 'Don't Stop Believing' the whole place just comes down," says George. "I don't know why. It's just a song that people really connect to." But why wouldn't someone thrust into the spotlight, handed a microphone and cheered on by friendly and strange faces alike want to "hold onto that feelin'"? There aren't too many places where you can share the night and the spotlight so easily. —Ashley Melzer