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FAB FRIDAYS with Trevor Jones - a sing-along salve for the soul!

It's been a long week. You've worked too hard or studied too hard, or someone broke your heart (maybe you broke theirs, same thing in the end with human hearts). Maybe nothing happened at all. Which leaves you with a different kind of longing. Wouldn't it be great if there was a place you could shake it all off? Maybe even sing it all out?

Welcome to Fab Fridays at the Butterfly Club, your guaranteed salve for the soul. A night where you will grin, sing, clap and dance your way to a musical theatre state of mind. That's the place where you are what you are, you don't let gravity bring you down, and you remember you've always got another day, another destiny. It's the place where you become your very own 11 o'clock number - all with a wine in your hand!

Part sing-along, part open mic night, and all parts fun, Fab Fridays is the love child of Melbourne musician Trevor Jones. Originally started as Trevor's Thirsty Thursdays back in May, 2013, the late-night show pays homage to some of the great New York piano bars, but with a uniquely Melbourne twist.

"I'd been playing piano bar gigs for a long time overseas and around Australia," explains Jones, "but felt I had a fairly unique spin on the whole thing, with my experience in rock and roll piano bars, as well as in cabaret and musical theatre.

The idea was that, inspired by Marie's Crisis and Don't Tell Mama, we'd have a late night sing-along and open mic night that would hopefully lure lots of special guests, particularly from the shows that were currently performing in town at the time. It would give people a chance to promote their upcoming shows, try out something new, or just relax and enjoy the atmosphere."

With a new name, and a new theme song (you'll learn it fast!), Jones moved the show to Friday nights at the beginning of 2015, and says Fab Fridays has been going from strength to strength ever since.

"There's been this really lovely little community that's built up around Fab Fridays - people that are there almost every week and have formed friendships. But there are always people there for the first time, too - whether they be friends of people that come regularly, or just people that pop in to check out what is going on."

For the uninitiated, what's going on is a lot of singing your heart out. For anyone who's ever stumbled downstairs into the strange magic that is Marie's Crisis Café in New York, this is your Melbourne version of a classic. There are some variations on the theme here - unlike Marie's, where people jostle for a spot around the piano, Jones leads the Fab Fridays festivities from a small stage, and patrons are encouraged to take to that stage to perform a solo or two throughout the night. At Fab Fridays, you're also more likely to get a rock or pop song thrown into the mix.

But the general vibe is the same - a mix of trained and shower singers, led by the talented and witty Jones, belting out Broadway and Disney numbers as if no one is watching (or listening).

So what do those unsuspecting patrons, who may come down the stairs of the Butterfly Club simply looking for a quiet, late night cocktail, make of Fab Fridays?

"[They] seem to spend the first few minutes trying to work out exactly what they've stumbled across, and then they often end up getting really involved, staying all night and coming back for more," says Jones.

"I try to make it a point to welcome people that are there for the first time, and to give them a chance to request a song - just so they feel connected to it. One guy that came in described it as the most happy and free he's ever seen a room full of people, which is a pretty awesome description!"

"It's always a really interesting balance between pop and musical theatre at Fab Fridays," adds Jones. "A lot of the regulars are very involved in musical theatre around Melbourne, so they live and breathe that repertoire. I have to be careful, though, to balance it with the rock and pop stuff that is more familiar to the wider public."

Australian rock standards aside, it's the big, familiar musical numbers, or the chance to be a mermaid or a snow queen for five minutes, that really gets the crowd going.

"I think there's something about the fantasy and heightened nature of those songs that really encourages people to get involved, and let go of their inhibitions," says Jones when asked why he thinks theatrical songs encourage such joyous participation from regulars and newbies alike.

There really is something about letting go. So if you ever find yourself in Melbourne's CBD on a Friday night, get yourself to Fab Fridays. Leave your troubles behind. Sing the week to a close. If you're anything like me, you'll be a regular before you know it!

FAB FRIDAYS with Trevor Jones

The Butterfly Club - Melbourne

Every Friday at 10:30pm

Entry is free

For more information, click here.

Images: Supplied

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