See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

It’s your thing 

All 5-foot-6 of Matt Welz is on the mic. Standing there in his trademark cranberry-colored leisure suit, eyes shining beneath little round glasses, he flashes a toothy grin and proceeds to let it rip.

“It” is karaoke — but not normal karaoke, if there is such a thing. Welz, also known as “Millionaire,” is a self-styled karaoke man whose unorthodox approach — which he calls hilaraoke — includes a nerve-fraying falsetto, vociferous rapping and imitation guitar whining.

It was Labor Day weekend when Welz kicked off his weekly talent show at Small’s Bar. The event, now to be held every Tuesday, is appropriately called Small-Time Talent Tuesdays, and looks to be, at the very least, a novel way to pass the time. Unlike other karaoke nights, participants in Small-Time Talent Tuesdays are encouraged to perform anything any way they want: puppetry, magic, performance art, music — the stage is theirs.

“Karaoke is the template,” says Small’s bartender (and drummer for hometown garage-rock heroes Outrageous Cherry), Carey Gustafson. “Somebody can do a rock classic and somebody else can try stand-up material or play the spoons. I can’t wait to see what people come up with.”

But if opening night is any indication, emcee Welz will be a hard act to follow. Welz’ knack for hamming it up has landed him opening gigs at the Magic Stick and a karaoke gig at Greektown’s Cock-N-Bull restaurant/bar every Wednesday night.

Local musician Philip Skarich (of the Witches and Dead String Brothers), saw Welz perform at this year’s Fourth Street Fair. “I felt drawn to it in a car crash kind of a way,” says Skarich, who was at Small’s for the inaugural talent show. He says he thinks people appreciate Welz because “he doesn’t really care about technique as much as feeling.”

Sadly, opening night for Small-Time yielded only a few brave souls, but bar manager Shari Bergel says she expects a better turnout in the future: “We’re having a great time and it’s only going to get better.”

 

9 p.m. every Tuesday at Small’s, 10339 Conant, Hamtramck; 313-873-1117.

Jennifer Bagwell is a Detroit-area freelance writer. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 14, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit