Take the Stage at Barcelona’s Infamous Anti-Karaoke

  • Written on:

What’s the antidote to a dull Monday night in Barcelona? Joining 500 other After Hours Athletes for a late night of Anti-Karaoke.

Want to add a little musical mayhem to your Monday? We suggest a visit to Sala Apolo, one of Barna’s best-known concert halls, for Anti-Karaoke. This underground night is absolutely the most bizarre and unconventional karaoke session you will ever attend.

Our MC and ringleader for the evening is comedienne Rachel Arieff. She appears on stage in anarchic costumes (one of her most celebrated roles: Salvador Dalí Parton, a combination of the surrealist painter and the country singer), reminding everyone of the golden rule of Anti-Karaoke: There are no rules. The result is part rock concert, part wild party and part freak show.

Forget about demure renditions of Celine Dion's greatest hits. Anti-Karaoke has no place for trite sing-along fare. On our last visit Arieff kicked it off with Sweet Transvestite from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, welcoming the audience in a mixture of English and delightfully broken Spanish.

Don’t be afraid to hop onstage: You’ll be carried along by the voices of nearly 600 other partygoers. Last time, we rocked out to everything from Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger to Metallica’s Sanatarium. And the backing tracks are pumped through the club’s killer sound system—making even the most tone-deaf crooner sound like the next big thing.

A ticket gets you a song submission (better be there early; the show lasts around three hours, but the singing slots fill up lightning fast). And once your name is called, you better be ready to give everything you have. You’ve only got a few seconds to rush up to the front, throw on a costume and hop onstage to belt out the lyrics to a favourite song to enthusiastic onlookers.

Throughout the night, Arieff provides structure, encouragement, and refreshments: Halfway through the show, she pelts the crowd with sliced bread (worried we might be hungry), and, towards the end, sprays a bottle of Jack Daniels into the eager mouths of those standing at the foot of the stage (in case we’re thirsty).

And when the first notes of Bohemian Rhapsody come out of the speakers, we all howl with as much excitement as if Freddie Mercury himself were tickling our ears. In this small corner of Barcelona, anyone can be a rock star for a few minutes every Monday night.