Rich Aucoin, one of the most accessible people in 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 portrait before the show.

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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.

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Bassist Frankie Figliomeni was giving this show his all. He sweat like a water fountain. I feared he was gonna keel over from dehydration or summat.

For one song, Frankie and lead singer Matthew Sweeney switched guitars AND roles, and Frankie sang and played guitar while Matthew played bass and did backup vocals, which was really​ cool.

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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 intention of the lightbulb.

The setup means that the show is minimally lit, making for a slightly more challenging-than-usual show, but we do so love the challenge. Especially if we bring our own light.

Rich opened with a singalong to the 20th Century Fox logo, and a staple of his shows . . . confetti.

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Rich Aucoin - Photo by Tyson Elder

Rich Aucoin – Photo by Tyson Elder

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.

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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 managed to cover most of us over both levels, and it was incredible. DO YOU SEE ANY GRUMPY FACES IN THIS PHOTO? I didn’t think so.

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Rich Aucoin - Photo by Tyson Elder

Rich Aucoin – Photo by Tyson Elder

The Karaoke Carnival Tour started with a pair of shows in Halifax combining his energy with that of Symphony Nova Scotia. Trust me, I was tempted to buy plane tickets to the other side of the country to experience that level of show.

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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.

We’re a pretty happy city for the most part, but we can always use more of Rich Aucoin’s brand of positivity.