If you’ve been to Bar IX on a run-of-the-mill Thursday night and expected to find the normal crowd last week, Nov. 13, you may have been surprised to instead find two full-sized pianos and a crowded mob of people singing along to everything from “Don’t Stop Believin’” to “All About That Bass.”
Dueling pianos is not a fight to the death by piano. Rather, it simply involves two pianos, two pianists and a crowd of singing and dancing participants. After playing a few introductory songs last Thursday, one of the pianists shouted encouragement to the audience to fight for song requests. The request with the highest tip would be played first. “Though,” he said, “If it’s a good song, I’ll play that too.”
Most of the performances were songs the audience had never heard on piano before, like “All About That Bass.” It seemed the musicians would literally play anything that was requested. When the first few notes of “Bohemian Rhapsody” filled the air, one attendee raised his eyebrows and said, “Wow, bold move.”
The show wasn’t something Bozeman has much before, and nothing was like Bar IX is used to. Early in the night, bar owner Chad Yurashak said, “This is their first time in a Bozeman bar.” His wife, Blaire Yurashak, also an owner, said, “They called us because we were on their radar.”
“When we got engaged, we were in Vegas and we thought they were cool,” said Blaire. The dueling pianists played at their wedding reception and have been wanting to play at Bar IX ever since. “They call us when they’re on their way through town and this time we had an opening,” Blaire said.
While the atmosphere was all-around loud and happy, running a bar isn’t easy, according to the Yurashaks, and the most important aspect of a first-time event is the numbers. “We’d love to do it again; it’s just whether or not it’s affordable. We can’t do it all the time. It’s always a numbers game; they’re not cheap, but I do like them and I like the people that are here. It’s unique,” Chad said.
According to Blaire, they brought the show to Bar IX because they’d had so much fun with them before: “It’s something different for a Thursday night and it gets people out when it’s negative 18.” Chad laughed and said, “That’s hard to do.”