Rich Aucoin, one of the most accessible people in music (he gives out his PHONE NUMBER after each show so he can send you free music), brought his Karaoke Carnival Tour to Distrikt Nightclub in Victoria, with openers The Elwins, high on the success of their single “So Down Low.”
Rich was kind enough to come outside and play in the rain for a rockstar portrait before the show. Artist promo is a part of my portfolio I’m really trying to build, and Rich is a pretty big rainbow feather in my cap.
The plan started somewhat grandiose, with a walk around the block from Distrikt to the library courtyard, stopping at various windows and walls on the way but, as often happens, load-in and soundchecks go longer than expected, timelines change and, in the end, we improvised a quick session indoors and a quick session outdoors before letting Rich get to his dinner.
“We” is Rocktographer Tyson Elder and me. I asked Tyson for his assistance and, not only was he invaluable for the session, he came up with the location for the outdoor shot, knowing we didn’t have time for the initial route.
The Elwins, from Ontario, were the perfect happy warmup to Rich. Their set (and audience) built slowly, but every song was better and more well-received than the last, with the audience completely on side by the time they finished with So Down Low.
Rich brought back what I call the “screen and lightbulb” setup, where his performance is augmented by a
projection screen white sheet showing loops of movies, commercials, viral videos, etc., and a battery-powered light socket with a single white light bulb which Rich carries with him so us photographers know where he is at all times.
Actually, I don’t believe that’s the sole purpose of the lightbulb.
The setup means that the show is minimally lit, making for slightly more challenging-than-usual conditions, but we do so love the challenge, especially if we bring our own light.
Select fans get shoutouts as Rich gets set up if they a) interact with him via social media (Jasmine, Tim & Allison, Michelle), b) book the show (Dimitri) or, apparently, c) take a rockstar portrait of him before the show (me). =)
After the shout-outs and soundcheck (an audience singalong to the 20th Century Fox logo), Rich kicked off his set with a staple of his shows . . . confetti.
In between each song, Rich teaches us parts of the lyrics of the next song. We practice for a bit, he starts the backing track, his amazing drummer, Tony, pumps the beat up a notch or twelve, and Rich dives into the audience for a fully communal performance.
When he’s not right in there with us, he’s making great use of the screen.
But, by far, the highlight of a Rich Aucoin show is when he brings the ridiculously embiggened preschool parachute out of his rolling suitcase (he has one suitcase which carries only this) and spreads it over the entire audience, if it’s at all physically possible.
Distrikt has a lowered audience area directly in front of the stage, with a raised floor about 20′ back. Rich he managed to cover most of us over both levels, and it was incredible. DO YOU SEE ANY GRUMPY FACES UNDER THAT PARACHUTE? I didn’t think so.
The Karaoke Carnival Tour started with a pair of shows in Halifax combining his energy with that of Symphony Nova Scotia, something Rich called a really great life experience. Trust me, I was tempted to buy plane tickets to the other side of the country to experience that level of show.
Here’s a sure sign Rich Aucoin has been in the area . . .
Rich’s final show of this tour is later this week in Winnipeg and, after that, he’s taking a few months off. We’re thrilled that Rich and Atomique Productions were able to make another Victoria show happen.
I believe that we’re a pretty happy city for the most part, but we can always use more of Rich Aucoin’s brand of positivity.
Fuji X100S · 23 mm · 1/100 s · f/2 · ISO 2500 · Photographer: Tyson Elder
Who wore it better? Actually, don’t answer that.