Summit County musicians create unique spin on traditional karaoke with backing band
IF YOU GO
What: Sing karaoke with Live Karaoke Kings
When: Every Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.
Where: The Motherloaded Tavern, 103 S. Main St., Breckenridge
Part live band, part karaoke hosts, the Live Karaoke Kings are a group of local musicians that have come together to take the popular bar pastime to a whole new level. Playing every Wednesday at the Motherloaded Tavern in Breckenridge, the band has a catalog of more than 60 songs to play live as a backup to bar patrons looking to belt out some tunes.
“We basically are the backing band for you to do a solo performance,” said Bryan Sean Byrne, band leader and guitarist and bass player for the band. “People usually ask us to sing along with them, so it becomes a bar sing along-type deal, and that’s a lot of fun.”
The group formed recently after meeting at open mic nights at The Cala in Summit Cove. Byrne had just been hired on to host a traditional karaoke night at the Motherloaded, but, after spending some time playing with Tony Molina and Keith Synnestvedt, the trio realized they knew a variety of popular songs that would work for karaoke, and the idea of having a live band as backup was formed. Within days, they added Earl Clairmont on lead guitar and Tanja Sussman as the MC.
“We realized with us having to perform all of the time, we needed Tanja in the crowd managing the karaoke process and getting people involved and helping them sing,” Byrne said.
The group debuted the Live Karaoke Kings in May at The Brown Hotel in Breckenridge eight days after forming. As a new band, they continue to learn what works and what doesn’t with the karaoke crowd and are tailoring their style and song list as they get tighter as a group. Sussman works the crowd to get people engaged, and sometimes, rather than one person singing in front of the crowd, the whole bar begins singing along. They’ve learned how to get a placid crowd going by playing what Byrne calls “energy songs,” like “Blister in the Sun” or Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So.”
“Something that really rocks,” Byrne said.
After a few karaoke songs, the band will play a couple songs themselves as a live band to mix it up.
The band’s song list is everything from the 1960s through today’s music, like Pink Floyd, Kid Rock and Renegades, Byrne said.
“Sometimes, the energy is high right away, and sometimes it takes a while to warm up, but usually by 10:30 or 11, the place is a lot of fun, and people are getting up and singing, the inhibitions have dropped,” Byrne said.
Live Karaoke Kings is made up of Summit County musicians, some who have been in the music scene in the area for years. Synnestvedt, on bass, guitar and vocals, has been playing music in Summit since 1981 and can be seen playing almost every day around the county at places like Foote’s Rest in Frisco and as host for open mic night at The Cala every Tuesday.
“His extensive knowledge and experience has been critical in our ability to put songs together quickly as he can play by ear and virtually learn each song as we go,” Byrne said.
Clairmont and his wife have been visiting their condo in Breckenridge for years, moving to Silverthorne full time at the end of 2014.
“He brought an extensive song catalog along with another lead voice to the group. He runs the band practices and keeps us organized,” Byrne said.
Molina studied music in college and is multi-talented in his ability to play not only drums, but also saxophone, keys, guitar and sing. He has been playing semi-professionally for a few years and moved to Dillon from Nederland last fall.
Sussman has been a longtime Summit County resident and lives in the Cove with her husband and two daughters.
Byrne moved from Denver to Breckenridge in June 2015.
“In September 2015, I decided on the goal of creating a band and being a semi-pro musician by the spring,” he said. “I played two to three open mics per week over the winter to get better and to network with the right musicians to form a group. I had been trying to put a band together since September without success — although was close a couple of times — but this band formed and then performed within eight days.”
Along with playing every Wednesday night at the Motherloaded, the Live Karaoke Kings will play Camp Powder Gap’s Capture the Flag event Sunday, July 31 at Copper Mountain Resort. The band will be opening from 9:30 a.m. to noon for Euforchestra, who takes the stage at 12:30 p.m.
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