DFW Music News

Punk Rock Karaoke Returns To Three Links on Saturday

This isn't your dad's karaoke; it's punk rock karaoke. OK, it might be your dad's karaoke.
This isn't your dad's karaoke; it's punk rock karaoke. OK, it might be your dad's karaoke. Albert Ybarra
Deep Ellum may be changing with each passing day, but there's one tradition that's still going strong in the city's historic live music district.

Punk Rock Karaoke is returning to Three Links on Elm Street on Saturday. The show starts at 5 p.m. and includes a three-hour set of sing-along punk classics for whoever is brave enough to step up to the mic.

This isn't some bland karaoke night where a guy with a machine that pumps out MIDI tunes of pre-approved songs lets anyone who's sober enough to read lyrics jump on the mic and belt out Tom Jones' greatest hits.

Three Links' Punk Rock Karaoke is helmed by The Mumbles, who provide the live instrumental accompaniment for a long list of punk standards along with a few rock favorites. According to their Facebook page, the group can cover everything from Alice Cooper to The Stooges. The show works just like any standard punk show except the singers rotate out with each song and instruments don't get smashed. You sign your name and song request on a list, and when you get called up to the stage, you'll be prompted to start your song, which you can read off a printed lyric sheet. So it helps a little if you know some of the words and can get the pitch and notes right, but it's not a necessity — especially if you plan to sing any Sex Pistols.

If you're the kind of person who thinks they can't sing or you turn numb at the thought of even singing "Happy Birthday" in a crowded Chuck E. Cheese for a kid who can't sit still enough to adequately grade your performance, don't worry. The beauty of Punk Rock Karaoke is its inclusivity; no one gets judged for their performance. If you can be raucous and free-wheeling without going full Keith Moon on stage, you can belt out a tune with the best of them.

You'll also be in very good hands. The Mumbles are one of the city's best and longest-running rock acts and cover bands. The group regularly plays shows at Three Links as well as at Lee Harvey's and the Double Wide, and can play just about any late '70s to early '80s punk or new wave song that charted simply by hearing an audience member yelling out the title.

Karaoke can be quite an eye-opening opportunity that can get addictive once you get past those initial waves of nerves and self-judgment. It's not just for punk heads who think they know these tunes better than anyone else. It's for anyone brave enough to get on stage and give it their best.

"It's a live band at stage volume in a great-sounding room with great monitors," said guitarist Darin Robinson during our first foray into this live music experience in 2014. You're going to remember it and you're going to want to go again before the night is over. The one thing we hear more than anything is, 'I was so nervous but man, that was insane. Can I do it again?'"

It also doesn't hurt if you down a couple of drinks beforehand.
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.

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