Concert Review: Good Enough Live Karaoke

Good Enough
Photo by Rhett Morita

Good Enough Live Karaoke is more than just your typical Karaoke night in the city. While it might be the same concept of drinking, dancing and embarrassingly belting tunes in front of enthusiastic friends, crushes and strangers – the boys of Good Enough offer a lot of treasured talent and distinct character to our beloved city.

After my first encounter with them I had gone up on stage a handful of times singing everything from No Doubt – Just A Girl to Nick Glider- Hot Child In The City, from The Cranberries – Zombie to Cheap Trick – I Want You To Want Me. I excitedly texted my girlfriend: “I joined a rock band!” It’s true. The boys of Good Enough are more than just Karaoke. They are a Community Rock Band. I am often spotted wandering the city and exploring different pockets and the communities that dwell within –I have a passion for discovering the essence of humanity; age-old traditions and regularly haunted spaces. I believe that music is a shared hallucination, the ability to just show up for the experience, to remove your expectations and tap into a collective consciousness. Strangers become friends, even for a little while. The collective love and authenticity that surrounds an experience is what keeps these jovial jaunts alive. Although I am a Toronto native, the relentless diversity of our city keeps me delightfully curious; I never cease learning about my surroundings.

This band is my summer crush. Tim McCready on keys/vocals, Jesse Bellon on guitar, Fraser McEvoy on drums, and Craig Mailman on Bass have been generously offering up the stage to a different front-man or front-woman every 5 minutes or so. I had the opportunity to chat with Jesse about his experience in the band and he described it as an evolving experience, “each night, the crowd determines our setlist, so we never know what to expect—I wouldn’t say there is such a thing as having a bad night because we’re there to make everyone feel like they belong.” It’s true. These boys are generous, kind, talented and incredibly versatile. Sometimes, after every few songs, Jesse tells me that they’ll be really feeling a song that someone did and they’ll jam out an extra minute. “The community that comes out to these nights are so supportive, friendly, most have always wanted to be in a band but never got around to it; whatever the reason, we’re happy to do it!”

I asked Jesse about their catalogue of over 200 songs and whether or not there is a personal favorite he wishes would be requested more often. It was difficult to think of one because of the diversity each night and the frequency of their shows – but he did tell me one story that made me laugh affectionately. One of the very first Karaoke nights they did as a troupe, while determining their first catalogue: He tells me, “One of the tunes was Careless Whisper. Of course – who doesn’t love Careless Whisper? I loved jamming to it. We played it their first Karaoke Live night, and it was soo good I wanted to keep perfecting it at rehearsals. Unfortunately nobody requested it for a few months of gigging. Until one day…. this couple requested it, and it was a BIG DEAL. I mean, I was so excited – it was perfect.” After so many nights of playing for 3-4 hours straight, I asked Jesse if it feels more like work or more like play? He said “it’s neither – its physically exhausting when the night is over, but navigating through each singer – and each song preference – there’s an adrenaline to it that cannot be matched.”

Jesse has his hand in a few other side projects including some solo work and contributing to a Nuit Blanche performance exhibit by Derek Liddington, but he said right now the focus is mostly Good Enough Live Kareoke. The band has a residency at Clinton’s Tavern every 2 weeks, and a monthly event at Junction Music Hall. Timothy McCready (vocals/keys) is well known for his famous 159 Manning BBQ parties during NXNE. The Manning BBQs are multi-level dance parties showcasing bands curated by Tim himself – this summer included 2 parties with headliners Buck 65 and KC Accidental.

The men of Good Enough will be supporting Buck 65 at his show at Danforth Music Hall on November 22nd. The Live Karaoke Nights run Sept 17, Oct 1, 15, 29 at Clinton’s Tavern and Oct 11 and November 1st at Junction City Music Hall.

Review by Stefanie Romano | @stefaloves

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