Every Bar has its regulars regardless of the theme of a night.. people who are frieds with the bar tenders, managers, waitstaff etc.. for every 1 person in a venue who is singing, theire is at least 2 sometimes 3 who do not, either out of fear or simply because they have no desire to.
I play Popular music in between singers.. sometimes for just 30 or so seconds while Im calling up the next in the rotation.. sometimes for a couple minutes if someone was god awful and i want to clense the atmosphere a bit..
Its all about keeping the registers ringing sales.. and if a happy middle ground can be met to keep the singers singing, and the non singrs willing to stay it all equates to more sales.. and that means more money for me down the road.
Ive thought about grabbing some props, i feel this mainly works though when a singer has a group of friends with them.. I have several restaurants in my area who come out to my shows in forces of 7-12.. and when one of their group is singing, all of them rush the dance floor, and cheer for them, and get crazy, it immediately spikes the energy level. and when the customers sitting back in their chairs see the fun, i notice them laughing and getting a little more into it..
Grantd, I wouldnt wnt someone smashing a cowbell or honking a horn when someone was singing a lights out version of a song.. for those moments the singer is in themselves the wow factor.
one thing I have noticed goes over really well are slide shows of prior weeks.. up on the big screens, while playing my break mnusic.. people LOVE seeing themselves pop up randomly on the TV.. and as stated prior, it keeps them involved in the show, while they arent singing..
I probably will grab a few things here and there.. some elton john style sunglasses... a big foam cowboy hat.. etc just to get others in a more festive mood.. if someone is going a song with a minute and a half solo in it.. giving them a prop to air guitar on, or play sax, etc wouldnt kill anyone, and would keep the singers from just standing there wondering what they should be doing..