Karaoke at O’Hanlon’s is ‘Awesome’

Karaoke might not be your plans for a Monday night, but for a group of regulars it’s their favourite night of the week because they get to hang out with local karaoke legend Zubazz Awesome Read.

O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub, located in downtown Regina, is home to Monday night Karaoke hosted by Read.

He has been involved with the music industry for most of his life. He turned that passion into a business 10 years ago and formed Zubazz Entertainment. He is also the lead singer of Dangerous Cheese, an ‘80s tribute band, which he formed 14 years ago.

COVID-19 shut down all his sources of income in March of 2020. When he was finally allowed to work again, he didn’t rest until his calendar was full.

“I am the busiest I have ever been working six nights a week in the music industry,” said Read. “I am also at my happiest. Life is good.”

Read singing at O’Hanlon’s (photo taken by Nicole Garn).

Read currently has four karaoke shows: Mondays at O’Hanlon’s, Tuesdays at Bobby’s Place in Moose Jaw, Wednesdays at Zahir’s and Thursdays at The Canadian Brewhouse (Grasslands).

The O’Hanlon’s show is one of the busiest.

The pub has a large stage where the karaoke is set up. Here you can find Read’s “karaoke bibles.” These books are filled with thousands of songs Read has in his karaoke catalogue.

When it’s your turn you will be called to the stage usually followed by cheers from the crowd. There are two microphones, perfect for a duet if you’re too afraid to go solo. And in the middle you’ll find the monitor with the song lyrics.

Sing along to the words on the screen and you are now a karaoke master.

“Half the fun of karaoke is messing up,” said Julie Thompson, a karaoke regular whose favourite song to sing is Lips of an Angel by Hinder.

Thompson on stage at karaoke (photo taken by Nicole Garn).

“There’s a community around karaoke that’s different than those who go out on Friday and Saturday nights to a club. Those tend to be my kind of people.”

While no experience is required to sing at karaoke, some of its regulars are talented musicians.

Brooke Kinvig and Johnny Gutierrez are singers for The People, a five-piece cover band from Regina.

Gutierrez on stage at O’Hanlon’s (photo taken by Nicole Garn).

“Karaoke is the one time in my week that I always look forward to,” said Gutierrez, whose favourite karaoke song is Feeling Good by Michael Bublé.

“No matter how bad my week has been going, karaoke has always been the uplifting part.”

They use karaoke as a form of practice. They test out new songs and grow their confidence in performing.

Kinvig’s favourite song to perform is Strawberry Wine by Deanna Carter. She said it allows her to show off, just a little bit.

Kinvig at Monday night karaoke (photo taken by Nicole Garn).

O’Hanlon’s karaoke is even a hot spot for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Christy Garn recalls her favourite memory from last winter.

“When the Riders showed up to sing karaoke, that was the latest me and my friends ever stayed at karaoke,” said Garn.

“There were good and bad moments that night, but we definitely had fun watching some of them sing, especially when Cody Fajardo (quarterback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders) sang Pony by Ginuwine.”

(Video taken by Nicole Garn)

Feature photo: Zubazz Awesome Read at his karaoke booth (photo provided by Read).

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