Philadelphia wedding vendor spotlight series: Dr. Thunder – dj and karaoke host
I sat down with Alex Spencer- aka the famous Philadelphia karaoke host known as Dr. Thunder- his name sake coming from the Dr. Pepper knock off soft drink. When Alex hosts karaoke nights around the city he also performs and is quite the entertainer!
I’ve worked with Alex at a few weddings that I’ve shot where he’s been the dj. He creates an awesome vibe and does both djing and karaoke and I highly recommend him to any couples looking for a wedding dj. Below is my interview with him.
You can check Dr. Thunder’s weekly karaoke nights in Philly at these spots:
Monday- The El Bar in Fishtown (1356 N. Front Street) 9-1:30am
Tuesday- Dahlak in West Philly (4708 Baltimore Ave) 9-1:30am
Saturday- Brown Street Pub in Fairmount (24th and Brown) 9-2am
How long have you been in Philly and how long have you been hosting Karaoke?
I’ve been in Philly for 13 years and I’ve been hosting karaoke for 12 years. I’ve always loved going to karaoke nights and the first time I hosted was when someone asked me to do a birthday party. The first time I got a weekly gig was for a friend. He was moving to Japan and he had a going away party at a bar in West Philly called Dahlak. I hosted it and the night was such a blast- at some point during the night the manager of the bar grabbed the mic and said ‘This guy is great and he can come back and do karaoke any night he wants.’ I’ll have my 7th anniversary doing that soon.
What do you love about being a karaoke host and what makes you different from other karaoke hosts?
I like watching people get all of their feelings out on stage in front of people and express their love of music. I also love seeing people feel shy at first and then come out of their shell and just really feel it.
I used to be on a queer positive volley ball team – none of us were all that into sports. A bunch of the guys used to wear tight glittery gold bike shorts. I found a pair of 70’s style booty shorts while hanging out in Wildwood, New Jersey one summer and bought a pair and had ‘Dr Thunder’ printed on the butt. I thought that would work well for the volleyball team. That night I hosted a karaoke night at Queen of Sheba in West Philly and I ended up stripping down to the booty shorts at midnight while hosting. This became a regular thing.
Later I added arm warmers and leg warmers and a big blue glittery cape. These became the official Dr Thunder costume that I still strip into while singing songs, though not as often as I used to. People started bringing their friends by telling them about my stripping into the outfit.
I actually got awarded Philly’s Best Karaoke 2013 & 2014 by Philadelphia Magazine, partly thanks to that outfit.
What do you love about working with people on their wedding day?
I like the excuse to dress up and I love how emotional the day is. People’s loved ones come to celebrate them and it’s fun to watch that and facilitate people having a really memorable time. People are gonna have a lot of memories of this night and a lot of photos and I love being a part of that.
What do you love about Philly?
I love West Philly especially- I know so many of my neighbors. It feels like a small town. And it’s so beautiful- there are yards, trees, a lot of people living together in harmony, big parks, arboretums. The history in the city is amazing. I’ll go to the top of city hall and take the elevator up and you can see this awesome view of the city from the bottom of William Penn’s boot.
You can get in touch with Alex to hire him for events via his facebook page: link