The Studio Musician's Handbook - Paul ILL, just returned from a trip to Atlanta where he saw what appears to be the latest rage on the East Coast - live band karaoke.
In case the term doesn't sink in, it means a real live band invites members of the audience up to sing a song of their choice. The band charges $5 for the privilege and if you tip, you move to the head of the line. It sure beats singing to a machine and it must be a real thrill for the vocal participants to feel the energy of a band.
Apparently this is the hot new thing for club bands, and karaoke bands are now popping up all over the country. Although my club gigging days are way behind me, I think it's a really clever idea. It's a new way for a band to draw an audience, a great way to keep that audience involved, and a new way for the band to make some needed money in these days of fewer and fewer gigs. If I were playing in clubs again (perish the thought), it's something I'd definitely consider. You could even expand beyond just singers to have audience members sub for all members of the band, so you sort of get a little bit of a live "Rock Band" game as well.
Just do a search for "live band karaoke" and watch what you get.