Dueling with pianos

By Rob Scherf

As we enter Aussie Rules on Dueling Pianos night I’m not nearly as drunk as I should be, but as soon as I step into the bar something definitely feels altered. I’d never heard so much noise in one place before, nor had I ever heard a crowd roar so indescriminately. These people were going crazy, yelling and dancing and hugging between tables, mingling drinks, and singing like dozens of best friends.

At the front of the room on Dueling Pianos night sit two middle-aged men thumping away at identical Baby Grands, belting out familiar crowd-friendly hits from “Bohemian Rhapsody” to “Old Time Rock n’ Roll”. Singing skill, tone, candor–these things don’t necessarily factor into the Dueling Pianos experience (although the entire cast of rotating players are adequate enough performers).

Instead, the greatest asset of Dueling Pianos is that it simply and enthusiastically provides tunes that are the perfect type to drunkenly sing along or dance to, and then encourages all kinds of rowdy behaviour. Besides the requisite boys vs. girls singing contests, the piano players, who would also be perfectly at home on any drivetime morning radio show, do bar tricks, riff on the occasional hecklers, wear wigs, and are generally shameless in their pursuit of a good time.

Overwhelming, confusing, fun, and drastically addictive, Aussie Rules’ Dueling Pianos is are definitely a singular experience.

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