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Bang on a Can live karaoke
Photograph: Todd Reynolds

Live band karaoke: Where to sing karaoke with a backup band

Take your drunken stagecraft to the next level at one of these karaoke nights, where you can belt out a number with live accompaniment.

Far be it from us to dissuade you from visiting your favorite karaoke bar, but there's something to be said for wailing your signature ’80s power ballad with a live band backing you up. And that thing is: It's awesome! Here's where to try it.

Bang on a Can Live Karaoke

Things to do
When: Sat 23 8pm
Where: 92YTribeca, 200 Hudson St at Canal St (212-601-1000,
Music: Pop, rock, classics
This pop-up sing-along raises funds to keep Massachusetts’s Bang on a Can summer music festival running strong. Featuring the fest’s alumni as a backup band, the event opens its doors at 7pm for happy hour so you can loosen up before your inner rock star emerges to sing classic tunes such as Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and Radiohead’s “Creep.” Li’l Miss Dolomite follows up with an Afrobeat and hip-hop DJ set. Sat 23; $20.—Natalia Schwien

Arlene's World Famous Live Rock ’n’ Roll Karaoke

Things to do
When: Mon 10pm, Fri midnight and some Saturdays after the live show
Where: Arlene’s Grocery, 95 Stanton St between Ludlow and Orchard Sts (212-358-1633,
Music: Rock of all kinds
This beloved LES joint shines a spotlight on eager singers looking to rock out like Bowie or Aerosmith. Hold on to that feelin’ through a two- to three-hour sesh of nostalgic melodies; familiar faces like Jim Carrey have been known to drop in and belt out a quick tune. Next event: Fri 22; $10. Mon 25; free.—NS

Rock n’ Twang: Live Band Karaoke NYC

Things to do
When: Tue 8:30pm
Where: Hill Country BBQ, 30 W 26th St between Broadway and Sixth Ave (212-255-4544,
Music: Country, folk, rock, R&B
Alt-rock group the Wicked Messengers ushers in 15 minutes of fame, honky-tonk style. Classics like Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and Hank Williams’s “Hey Good Lookin’” rank among the 300-plus songs to choose from. Audience members can even request a three-part backup harmony if they are so inclined. Next event: Tue 26; free.—NS
Human Karaoke Experience
Photograph courtesy Human Karaoke Experience

The Human Karaoke Experience

Things to do
When: Thu, Sat 9:30pm
Where: Thursdays: O’Flanagan’s, 1215 First Ave between 65th and 66th Sts (212-439-0660, Saturdays: Schnitzel Haus, 7319 Fifth Ave between 73rd and 74th Sts, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (718-836-5600,
Music: Classic and modern rock
With a whopping 700-plus songs in its repertoire, HKE has something for just about everyone. Best of all, a friendly, supportive vibe, and a coterie of fun-loving regulars, mean these dudes are consummate experts at making your rock & roll dreams come true. Next event: Thu 21, Thu 28 (no show Sat 23); free (—Noah Tarnow

Rock Star Karaoke

Things to do
When: Wed 11pm, Thu 9pm (starting April 4), Sat 7pm
Where: Wednesdays: National Underground, 159 E Houston St between Allen and Eldridge Sts (212-475-0611, Thursdays: Bowery Electric, 327 Bowery between 2nd and 3rd Sts (212-228-0228, Saturdays: Bar 13, 35 E 13th St at University Pl (212-979-6677,
Music: Rock, country, blues, classics
A longtime favorite on the NYC karaoke scene, RSK has played all over town, fostering a party atmosphere everywhere it goes. Superstar hostess Kelly Cooper has been known to ask for volunteers to try their luck at a randomly selected song for something called the Rock Star Karaoke Challenge, so have a few drinks. Next event: Sat 23, Wed 27; free (—NT

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