I’m constantly told how great it must be to play in a band, all that attention and you make some “easy” money playing a few songs. Okay admittedly you do get the odd rock star moment here and there (being flashed by three girls mid solo stands out for me) but all in all “you’re just another brick in the wall”. What few (except fellow musicians) seam to grasp is the effort and commitment it takes to be part of a band….more so a wedding band. I’m not whining honestly…in the current economic climate there are a lot worse off than me…but I did say I’d tell it like it is and so I’m going to make a bold statement…musicians are more committed to the job than 99% of people in other professions.
Here’s why…drum roll…you can’t cancel, not once, not ever, no how! Unlike any other job where you can phone up with man flu and take the day off, you can’t when you play in a wedding band. You won’t last two minutes in the business if you do. In the age of social networking your reputation will be obliterated by one post from a disgruntled bride if you cancel at the last minute…and rightly so, it’s a big day for the couple that have planned it for months.
Now having to be 100% committed to play in a particular place and at a particular time doesn’t sound like a big deal but trust me, such a commitment is unsympathetic to your health, personal and or social life. Let me explain…two days before you’re due to play a wedding you get the flu…tough, you’re booked. You’re mates decide this weekend to go on the lash…tough, you’re booked. Your girlfriend wants to do something this weekend…tough, you’re booked. Your wife goes into labour…tough, you’re booked. Your kid is sick…tough, you’re booked. Your grandparent dies…tough, you’re booked. Your whole family decides to go on holiday…tough, you’re booked. You dislocate your arm during the week…tough, you’re booked. You break your leg skiing…tough, you’re booked. The country grinds to a halt due to bad weather…tough, you’re booked. I just don’t feel like it, I’ve had a shit week and I’m tired…tough, you’re booked.
Doctors postpone surgery’s, flights get cancelled, schools close when its snows, matches are postponed due to water logged pitches, Eminem cancels Slane to go to rehab, Charlie Sheen goes on a bender mid production of Two And A Half Men…for The Elastic Band…show goes on!
Throw in the kitchen sink…or not
There’s been a growing trend in recent years where couples have halftime entertainment on top of a band and DJ. We’ve seen it all…Irish dancers, Firework displays, Comedians, Impressionists, Magicians, Operatic cooks and the ones that really freak me out…Straw boys…if you’ve ever seen “The Wicker Man” you’ll know where I’m coming from.
Here’s the thing…
a.) If you are going to have something like that make sure you let the band know in advance if possible…as Roy Keane would say “failure to prepare is worth two in the bush”…huh? (We once had a booked act turn up with a cassette…tape deck job…and then was annoyed when we couldn’t play the tape…my good man we are digital…bazinga!).
b.) Think long and hard before you invest your hard earned euro in the entertainment icing on the cake. If the meal and speeches can potentially run over it’s going to be a dash to the finish line to fit everything in. One of the acts will have to do less in order to accommodate the others = less value for money for you.
Remember folks it’s not the opening of the Olympics or Live Aid you have to organise…but obviously booking the right band is essential…can’t emphasise that enough…now where can you find the right band….hmmm?
Have you ever hosted a dinner party for friends? You decide to do steak….who doesn’t like steak….it’s easy to make, goes well with chips….who doesn’t like steak….Mary the vegetarian that’s who…bitch! Problem is everyone has their own tastes when it comes to food. You see it on most episodes of ‘Come Dine With Me’…there is always one person who “can’t eat that”.
If music be the food of life then we encounter the same problem…the picky eater from time to time. It’s impossible to keep everyone musically happy all the time at a wedding due to the large cross section of listening tastes. At the next wedding ask everyone around the table to take out their iPhone and compare the top ten playlist of each, you’ll find no two alike…poor Uncle Matty doesn’t even have an iPhone…he’s still rolling with the 51ten…legend Uncle Matty. Over the years we’ve learned to play the percentages game and play what we call the ‘Sunday afternoon radio set’…nothing to extreme, a good general mix, music everyone has heard.
But from time to time you get a picky eater… surprisingly mostly senior in age.
If you are a picky eater, spare a thought for the band…they are doing their best to feed the masses!
If you are booking a venue for your wedding reception a classic mistake from the bands point of view is to book a venue where the bar is located outside the function room. The Hotel / Castle / Manor House may be a stylish venue….marble staircase in reception, chrome and glass, water features in the garden, view of the lake, Hogwarts décor…. but if the bar is badly located then you are at a disadvantage when it comes to the dancing after the meal. The reason is self evident as soon as the meal is finished…the lads will inevitably head to the bar and hang there most of the night. The ladies are better than the lads in the sense they return faster from the drinking hole, but for most of the night you won’t see the guys till its “Hammer Time”. It becomes a game of two halves from our point of view…the first hour or so, its ladies and OAP’s night on the dance floor…Aunty Mary and Uncle John vs. girl on girl action. Then slowly the cavemen wonder back in to the room…having had a few quick fire Jager bomb rounds between pints…they take to the dance floor in African tribal fashion….then its guy on guy action…not a pretty sight!
Our advice is to pay as much attention to the layout of the function room as you do to the menu. The classic bar to the side or to the back is your best chance of getting a god mix on the floor pre tea and sandwiches.
The Pussy Cat Dolls featuring Katy Perry, Beyonce and Cheryl Cole could be giving it all in the function room…but even they won’t come between a man and his stout!