By Joshua Maloni
Karaoke has never been this cool.
Typically, when you go to a bar for karaoke, it's you, a teleprompter and a sound system. You're on stage -- all by yourself -- and everyone is watching.
That's not the case at the Hard Rock Cafe, Niagara Falls USA.
The Prospect Street restaurant and bar debuted "Live Band Karaoke" on Thursday. This twist on open mic pairs amateur singers with The Nayjays, the Hard Rock's all-star backing band.
That's right: Karaoke singers at Hard Rock have their very own five-piece band and backup singers.
" 'Live Band Karaoke' gives our guests a one-of-a-kind experience -- it's karaoke amplified!" said Cara Turner, Hard Rock's sales and marketing manager. "What makes our karaoke night so unique is you actually get to sing with the band! No D.J. here pushing buttons and inserting tracks; we have a full band singing in harmony with you as your lyrics are projected on the iPad in front of you.
"To keep it even more exciting, we select names at random. Once you have chosen your song, it's up to the luck of the draw. This is your opportunity to check this one off the bucket list ... sing with the band."
Turner noted, "Our house band, comprised of some of the best local musicians and also members of our Hard Rock family, have a catalog of songs that spans the top hits from every generation. It's truly an experience for people of any age."
At the first night of "Live Band Karaoke," patrons grooved to the song selections. On their tables sat an invitation packet that explained the concept and listed two full pages of song choices.
Michael Certo of Amherst jumped at the chance to try his hand at Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." He was followed by Hannah Kadryna of Buffalo, who roared out Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'N' Roll."
"Live Band Karaoke" will be held on the last Thursday of each month. There is no cover charge. For times and more information, visit http://www.hardrock.com/niagarafalls or call 716-282-0007.
Hard Rock is located at 333 Prospect St., Niagara Falls.
Watch Michael and Hannah perform in the highlight video below:
Michael Certo performs with The Nayjays.
Hannah Kadryna sings alongside The Nayjays.