words & photos: Daniel Hanssen @danthegigman
“..an experiment in togetherness and enjoying a performance in a different form, Pub Choir have pulled off something phenomenal changing how we engage with our live music..”
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to sing a choral song with two thousand other people than Pub Choir is the event for you. With what seemed like a full house The Forum came alive over the weekend as Pub Choir descended on Melbourne alongside Sydney artist Ben Lee. The night had a foundation in fun and connectedness with both Ben Lee and the Pub Choir members putting an emphasis
For those thinking they were only coming out for a Ben Lee performance, they had an interesting night ahead of them learning to “Cigarettes Will Kill You”. Splitting the crowd into three parts for the choral the MC of the evening was full of pep and a few jokes to lighten the crowd; It helped and the crowd quickly joined in on the fun of the evening.
The process took an hour and a half of learning the entirety of Ben Lee’s track and it wasn’t always smooth sailing as musicians and teachers Waveney Yasso and Astrid Jorgensen had to constantly control the room while moving back and forth via a hilarious powerpoint for the crowd to understand each of their respective voice lines.
It turned out relatively well considering the inebriation of the crowd, with everyone participating in a wholesome moment, running through "Cigarettes Will Kill You" twice. Ben Lee, who was understandably excited to see how it was all going came back out to sing alongside the crowd, fixing up the problems in the first sing through to make the second sound perfect.
As an experiment in togetherness and enjoying a performance in a different form, Pub Choir have pulled off something phenomenal changing how we engage with our live music, especially from the sense of phone usage at a live show. While the phone engagement is always something that happens at a show Sunday's jovial Pub Choir gathering meant that ninety percent of the participants were entirely focused on the singing and their parts.
Of course, soon Ben Lee returned to the stage to close out the whole night, this is were the highlights came out with Ben's famous tracks, "Catch My Disease" and " Gamble Everything for Love" to amp up the crowd, along with special guest Felix Riebl of The Cat Empire running through a track of his own, with Ben Lee working the drum kit. He then fronted the band for another brief moment closing the night on "We're All In This Together" to rapturous applause. Whilst this wasn’t a specific Ben Lee gig, the sentiments amongst avid fans of his would have enjoyed this still. The way the whole night turned out, would have had everyone leaving with a smile on their face.