Karaoke Review: Butterfly Lounge w/ June Linderfield
Karaoke Review: Butterfly Lounge with June Lindenfield
Now here is an interesting twist: Karaoke run by an expert...in the Hair Salon industry. Karaoke lovers come from everything and the fact that someone loves it enough to start their own business is fantastic. With a lounge next door to one's business, I guess I'd be tempted as well. Passions for the "sport" is wonderful but can they hold their own against the pros already out there. I was eager to find out.
The Good: The place has really nice decor outside and in. It is a lounge (basically a place for people to hang out, pickup and get picked up I imagine. There is a dance club below which I'll get to shortly. Several open cubicle like sitting areas hold 4-6 people each is a nice touch and for a karaoke setup has potential. The stage area was quite open and truly center stage so for those that like the "performing" feel this place is a good setup for that. The MC, June, knows how to hold a crowd and keep them involved. She's not quite Jeff Zedic (but then who is) but she can hold her own.
The Mixed: For starters the place is a lounge so there is no food. Drinks are typical for a lounge which is to say they are on the high side. Still its nicer than most bars that have karaoke. While the speaker quality sounded good there were somewhat frequent mike overloads which for many people including me is extraordinarily painful. If that can be kept under proper control you'll sound decent.
The Bad: I hate to kick a new venue in the groin but in this case I have no choice: When I counted the songs there 600. Yes you read the zeros correctly (2) 600! While June claims this was the top 600 that is open to debate. Songs common to most venues I visit weren't there at all. Mostly country, some Alternative, and lot of older songs. While I like older songs most of the basics from there weren't in her book either. I commented on this to June who said Rome wasn't built in a day. Okay, but at 600 songs in a business where new karaoke MC's start at 5-6k, to quote Samwise from The Lord Of The Rings, in terms of selection, "If this is shelter than 1 wall and no roof makes a house". You can't be taken seriously in the Karaoke business if you have less than 5k songs. Sorry but that's a fact. If you have less than that, wait until you do before starting out. I felt like I was in someone's home rather than a karaoke loung/bar. I know that its not cheap to get the songs but a professional must be prepared to spend $5000 for the Music alone to get started. Its the nature of the business. A couple I know paid $30k to buy a business from someone else. You get the idea.
It gets worse, yes...I need another paragraph for this one. At 10 PM the "real" business of Butterly kicks off and you have to compete with the DJ of the nightclub in the lower level. At 10 PM sharp your karaoke vocals will interact with a very loud beat in conflict with the music you are singing. And it gets louder the longer you stay as their music (not just the intense bass). Any of you who visit nightclubs know how loud the DJ plays his music and how much bass he pumps out. This makes karaoke participation almost impossible for you to enjoy solo, and impossible for anyone else to enjoy if you are any good. This venue just bites for karaoke with the conflicting business below.
Summary: While I liked the idea of karaoke in a lounge and have seen it done successfully before (see review on Neutral) Butterfly is clearly an effort by a passionate karaoke lover new to the business. Butterfly is next door to June's hair salon business which is probably why she choose this venue but its a terrible venue and impossible to have karaoke activities there after 10 PM. Her own hair salon would be better given the nightclub activities of Butterfly. I suppose I could recommend it to people who need to be home by 11 PM but outside of those hours you are much better off else where and will have much better selection if you plan to do Karaoke on Thursday after 10 PM. Its really too bad. To anybody have ambitions of being a karaoke professional a few ground rules: Do your homework.
My reviews can help not only the participants but can be a good benchmark for people starting out. Key changers are a MUST. Some places try to get cheap but I've had complaints about Karaoke MC's and even karaoke boxes who got cheap on this. It doesn't go well especially as the customers most likely to be regulars KNOW Karaoke. Most of us serious karaoke lovers have some education on the subject so bear that in mind. Make sure you know what the minimum song selection you need to start out with is. Again, the minimum any SUCCESSFUL professional is 5000. While this is a bit low given the new numbers coming out (8k, 12k, 30k, 35k) its a minimum if you are short on financing. An engaging MC is of course crucial. While you may get a few die hards like me who are willing to help get energy levels up, you can't count on that. Waiting for a minimum number of people to come in makes an MC look unprofessional and is a waste of people's time who do come in to participate. Karaoke MC's who wait for minimum numbers before starting need to reevaluate their ability as an MC. So those are my comments for all you professional karaoke starting out. Hope it helps.
Final Grade: D
Facilities: 5 (8 from 8 PM to 10 PM)
Equipment: 6.8 (Equipment okay but too many mike overloads, not the greatest equipment)
Song Selection: 3.5 (600 songs, we have a new low. Many get a better selection on their Ipod)
Food Service: 7.0 (you'll get your drinks but nothing to "sing" about)
Food Selection: NA (no food so don't come before dinner)
Food Quality: NA
Prices: 6.5 (Its a lounge)
Location: 8.2 (easy to get to on the Spadina Street Car, parking around all paid)
Host: 8.0 (Probably the best part of this venue)
Wait times: 9.0 (Not a lot of people for karaoke so wait times were fast, but with the selection, you'll get through a lot of the material very quickly)
Butterfly Lounge with June Linderfield, Karaoke MC
422 Adelaide Street West
Thursdays, 8 PM - 1 PM (suggest leaving before 10)