San Diego’s best event band (and longest-running live karaoke band) will be back at the House of Blues San Diego on Sept 3, from 7-10pm. This all-ages, no cover karaoke show feels like a blast from the past for us — we’ve played dozens of gigs at the House of Blues since 2007. We’ve had weekly residencies, monthly gigs, and rocked tons of private parties (including the world’s best pub crawl). So this really feels like coming home for us.
Join us on stage on Sept 3, and who knows what the future will hold? Perhaps we’ll be back in October! Only one way to find out what it’s like to be on stage with a live rock band. And the HOB sound system is incredible (duh!).
Rock Out Karaoke is San Diego’s most dynamic live music performance group, combining the raw power of a live rock band with the fun of audience participation, where individual singers take center stage with the live band! Contact us today if you’re looking for the best interactive entertainment you can get for your next event!
Take yourself back to 2006, specifically, October of 2006. George W. Bush was president. The radio waves were dominated by songs by Ludacris, The Killers, Beyonce, and The Fray. NBC’s 30 Rock had just premiered. Justin Timberlake was still bringing SexyBack.
For karaoke fans in San Diego, it was also the month that Pickford’s Party decided to create our fair city’s first live band karaoke group. With support from the fine folks at R.T.’s Longboard Grill (RIP Longboards), we launched our first live show on October 25, 2006. Our original lineup consisted of Roberto Renovales (bass), Colin Farnell (lead guitar), Nick Vincent-Maloney (drums), and John (Skipper) Ruzicka (rhythm guitar).
The turnout on the first night was, let’s just say, modest. But word quickly spread of our Wednesday night residency at Longboards, and we continued to grow our karaoke fan base as well as our song list. We continued that Wednesday residency through the winter and into 2007. The “regulars” who started to show up week after week meant that we were really onto something with this idea. We gained a lot of momentum in those early months and even played a few private parties and corporate events. Most of all, we had a ton of fun playing gigs every week.
Over the next year or so, life events and career choices meant we would need to replace drummer Nick who moved to Portland. We auditioned a few drummers, but none were a great fit for the group for a variety of reasons. Luckily, we had crossed paths with Eric Ganci previously, who was ready to join immediately.
As Eric puts it, I first saw ROK as an audience member. I’m blown away by the concept…like, I’m giggly with excitement because the concept is so fun. I sing Margaritaville and right after the gig I tell the band “if this drummer chair ever opens, I want the audition.”
Our momentum carried us into 2008, where our weekly Longboard gigs were packed every Wednesday (we put friends of the band on “the list” to get in free and skip the line). We also caught the attention of several other area venues, where we started monthly residencies at House of Blues, played as the “house band” at a battle of the bands event at Viejas, and started growing our list of wedding and corporate clients in San Diego and beyond.
Details and dates are fuzzy, but over the next few years we added more band members to round out our group and create redundancy in each position so that we could commit to more work. Guitarist Rob Wells joined after we convinced him to leave his own cover band (though we think he may have been cheating on us a bit in those early days). Bass Dave Swendsen and guitarist Mike Stoltz had both played in a band called Meld with Eric, so they were a natural fit. Drummer Matt Souza was also a key member for many years before moving to LA.
By the early 2010’s guitarist Paulo da Rosa, drummer Shawn Ballard, and bassist Andy Hinson had signed on to help keep the rocket ship flying high. By that time, we had also established a new weekly residency on Thursday nights at 710 Beach Club in Pacific Beach. That weekly residency lasted for more than four years and after shifting to monthly appearances in 2015, our current data says we’ve played 300 gigs at the venue. 300!
If you’re still reading this far down, thanks for taking this walk down memory lane with us. We’re hopeful we can continue to rock San Diego events and bars for the next 15 years and beyond as we bounce back from the pause brought on by COVID last year. Thanks to all those who have supported us over the years, joined us on stage, hired us for your company events, or just followed along from the sidelines. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Mad love 🤘
Rock Out Karaoke
We would be remiss if we didn’t pay special tribute to long-time host and forever supporter of the band, Carlos. We lost Los earlier this year, but he’ll always be part of our story.
If you’ve been with us for any time in years past, you’ve no doubt heard us talk about the best pub crawl in town: Sing Dance Crawl. Hosted each year by our friends at The Local over Memorial Day weekend, what started as a modest gathering of a couple hundred people has ballooned in recent years and just keeps getting bigger and better.
This year’s crowd of 1,500+ flooded the House of Blues San Diego with energy, enthusiasm, sex appeal, and a few surprises (cue the marching band)! Rock Out Karaoke is proud to have supported this event again in 2016 (our sixth in a row!). Proceeds from the crawl benefit the Wingman Foundation – a veteran-run, all-volunteer nonprofit that helps support the families of fallen military aviators.
Check out scenes from SDC 2016, and stay tuned for announcements about this event in 2017!
Rock Out Karaoke was recently named one of the top free things to do in San Diego in an article on the website Thrillist.com. We are honored to be sharing the spotlight with other San Diego powerhouses like the Hotel del Coronado, Sunset Cliffs, Taylor Guitars, Balboa Park, and um, the beach.
But we really love sharing the spotlight with YOU each and every week. Thanks for helping us make the list of top San Diego activities – we couldn’t do it without you!
Photo Credit: Hotel Del Coronado (Flickr)
See the full article here (and then get out there and do some of these free things!).
Remember PB Idol? Yes, that one. The only live band karaoke competition in San Diego? Well, it’s back! Again.
Beginning on January 15 and continuing for eight weeks, you’ll have the chance to compete for more than $500 in cash and prizes! Each Thursday, the contest will feature up to 8 singers aiming for a spot in the PB Idol Finals in early April (exact date TBD). Each weekly winner will win a 710 Beach Club gift certificate and the finalists will win cash prizes for first, second, and third place.
Singers will be judged by an independent panel on three factors:
Crowd noise + applause
To enter, please email the event organizers at email@example.com. Please include three (Thursday) dates you would be able to compete in the preliminary rounds. You will be contacted by email to let you know the date for your prelim round. Please address any questions about the competition to this email address (not to the band).
Remember, this singing competition is for fun and bragging rights (and some cold, hard cash of course!), and the band is not in charge of who sings which night or ANY aspect of the judging. We’re just there to support you in your quest to become the next PB Idol!
Rock Out Karaoke is San Diego’s most dynamic live music performance group, combining the raw power of a live rock band with the fun of audience participation, where individual singers take center stage with the live band! Complete with lyrics displayed on a monitor in real-time with the music, nothing is missing from this unique karaoke show!