Channel your inner rock star on Friday to support Girls Rock Louisville.

If you have always dreamed of having a kick-ass band at your back while you belt out tunes and make the club bounce, but you’ve never had the time to start a band or learn how to “actually play music,” Girls Rock Louisville has your back on Friday as they present “Glitteroke with Howell Dawdy.”

The one-night-only event gives the audience the chance to sing one of 32 songs backed by Glitteroke, a Louisville all-stars band featuring memebers of Twenty-First Century Fox, Julie of the Wolves, The Deloreans, Bridge 19 and others. And all proceeds from the $3 cover charge will help raise money for Girls Rock Louisville, perhaps the ass kicking-est charity in town.

Insider caught up with bass player extraordinaire Salena Filichia, who plays in bands killii killii and Julie of the Wolves. In addition to slapping mad bass, Filichia is on the fundraising committee for Girls Rock and helps with the organization’s annual summer camp, which empowers girls and gender non-conforming youth through music education.

Salena Filichia | Photo by Lonnie Turner

To come up with the many creative fundraisers Girls Rock throws throughout the year, the fundraising committee gets together and brainstorms. Filichia recalls the session that led to live band karaoke.

“We started thinking about how we did the Golden Girls Trivia Night, and we were talking about doing guitar-shero, which was like a rock band guitar competition,” she says.

As soon as the committee came up with the idea to have live band karaoke, they got serious about making it happen.

“It just seems like a lot of fun — to play a bunch of music from a bunch of songs you know, and then have people get up and sing who you’ve never met before,” says Filichia.

While the organization is aimed at giving females a chance to get their rock on, anyone can get in on the karaoke action.

“Everybody is encouraged,” she adds. “Eventually tearing down those barriers of male music versus female music is kind of the goal, I think.”

Girls Rock wanted to find someone to help throw their event, and so they reached out to Howell Dawdy, a local musician whose beat-heavy stream-of-consciousness songs are a sardonic and thoughtful mix of rap and poetry. Dawdy runs a monthly karaoke event at Zanzabar, the venue Girls Rock was eyeing for their fundraiser.

“You know, he’s a friend of the group and the program, we knew we needed somebody to help MC, to help keep things running smoothly, and who better than someone who does it at that same venue every month, and does it in a very fun way?” says Filichia.

Girls Rock Louisville helps girls and gender non-conforming youth learn music. | Courtesy of Girls Rock Louisville

That “very fun way” she mentions involves a bit of luck, a bit of chance and a dash of Salt-N-Pepa.

“We’re doing it roulette style,” says Filichia, explaining that participants will step up to a wheel and spin to find out what song they’ll be singing. “If you get a song  you don’t know, you get the opportunity to spin again or to Push It. Which means you do (Salt-N-Pepa’s) ‘Push It.’ So that’s one of our songs we made sure we learned.”

For the risk-averse crowd, you can select your song in advance and stick with it, but your song will go to the back of the line, incentivizing bravery. Due to the constraints of the structure of the event — remember the band has to learn and practice every song on the list — the available song choices are limited to 32.

“We wanted to do a variety of songs,” Filichia explains. “We knew a lot of these songs were already popular karaoke songs anyway, then with the spirit of Girls Rock Louisville, all the songs are female fronted, female voices.”

The song list spans a wide variety of styles. There’s Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and a heavy dose of punk and alternative jams from the likes of Veruca Salt, Alanis and the Pixies. Something for everyone.

In addition to a band and back-up vocals, aspiring singers will have some extra help. Girls Rock is calling the position “the official mansplainer,” but just imagine a conductor giving you the signal to bust into song.

Filichia also teases that Friday will feature the release of some details about more adult-centric Girls Rock events that are on the way, hinting that maybe soon grown-ups will be able to run away to a rock ‘n’ roll camp of their own.

“Glitteroke with Howell Dawdy” takes place from 11:30 p.m.-3 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 4, at Zanzabar, 2100 S. Preston St. There is a suggested $3 donation at the door, but personally, the chance to finally fulfill my dream of belting out “Rehab” with an bad-ass band at my back is priceless.

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Eli Keel
Eli Keel is “pretty much” a Louisville native. You may have seen him around town reading poetry, short stories, dancing or acting. He’s a passionate locavore, so you may have also seen him stuffing his face at one of Louisville’s amazing restaurants. When he isn’t too busy writing short stories, he blogs at amanwalksintoablog.wordpress.com.