Available in : Vietnamese
“I can’t sing, I’m not very good at the guitar and had no songs” is how Niall Mackay, founder of Seven Million Bikes, the famous podcast station of Saigon, describes the beginning of the Ha Ha Hard Rock Show; Music ‘n Comedy. “I met with the Hard Rock Cafe in October and pitched them the idea of doing a musical comedy show since it was perfect for the venue. They were enthusiastic about the idea, too.” The pressure was now on to deliver a show in a month.
Niall approached two existing musical comedy acts in Saigon, Tony Byleveld and Wanye Westt, and then recruited Tommy Pruchinski (a stand-up comedian who could sing) and AJ Miller, a singer, artist and comedian. They had a show. All five performers had less than a month to write new material, refine, practice and rehearse. “It was hectic but a lot of fun. We were all sending each other our material in a group chat,” says Niall. They tested out material at open mic nights across the city and then performed at smaller shows once it was ready.
The event was a great success: over 100 people attended, the biggest audience that most of them had performed for to date The hurried practice and rehearsal had paid off. And the crowd loved it, too. “It was great to see so many people laughing and enjoying themselves – and hearing afterwards from people how surprised they were at the quality of the show. Many people had also never been to the Hard Rock Cafe before and were pleasantly surprised at what a great venue it is.” said performer Tommy Pruchinski.
A follow up Christmas show was booked and over 150 people were expected this time; new Christmas material had been written, and a dress rehearsal was booked for the day before the show. Then, COVID reared its ugly head again in Saigon. While gatherings weren’t banned outright, the Prime Minister seriously advised against them. And most events around Saigon self-cancelled to be safe and prevent further spread of the disease.
“At one point we were going to have a much smaller show with guests spread out, masks on during the show, temperature checks at the door, and more. Ultimately we decided to do what was safest and support the amazing efforts Vietnam has made to contain the virus.” The show was postponed for a week. Thankfully, due to the swift actions again of the authorities, the situation was brought under control and no further cases were reported after the initial outbreak and it was safe to host The Ho Ho Hard Rock Show; A Christmas special a week later than planned.
“We’d all worked so hard to write Christmas songs so we were glad to be able to perform them for everyone,” added Niall. The next show is this Sunday at Hard Rock Cafe, with doors opening at 7.30pm, with Ella Beth, a finalist on the Vietnam Voice joining the stage.
Ha Ha Hard Rock Show; Music ‘n Comedy
Sunday January 10.2020 From 7.30
Available in : Vietnamese