As William Cowper said back in 1785, variety is the spice of life. No more so it seems than in 2018 in the world of wedding and function bands. We live in an era where a plethora of options and choice are so readily available it is easy to become accustomed to getting exactly what we want. Or at the very least, what we expect. If you want a 10 piece wedding band playing the theme from Star Wars, you’d probably find one online! And you’d likely get a disco thrown in for free at the same time 😉
Developing a strong online presence and image is easier than it has ever been. I feel daunted for couples when they look online to book a live band for their big day. It must be a mindfield of ‘rock-star good looks’ and swanky looking promotional videos.
The purpose of this blog is not to criticise or compare other acts. The quality of bands in South Wales is exceptionally high in 2018, with some outstanding musicians – many of which we are proud to call friends.
Therefore, the only agenda here is to inform. As Sir Francis Bacon famously said as far back as the 16th century; knowledge is power. I have many friends and family who love music, but I realise they don’t know the intricacies of how it is made and how it is performed. And why would they? Music is something to be enjoyed, danced to, sung along with – I get it. How it ends up in their ears is of no significance to them.
That is of course until they are looking to spend in excess of £1,000 of their hard earned cash on a live band… then, suddenly, the more you know, the more informed are your decisions – right?
Do you know that an increasing number of function bands are now performing to backing tracks? That is, they play their instruments over pre-recorded music to convince the audience that the band sound ‘fuller’? “Nothing wrong with that, many successful and famous acts do it”, I hear you say!
Absolutely right. But what if that is just not your cup of tea? What if you like a band to interact with the audience on a whim, and make each performance entirely unique? How about adding in an extra chorus when your friend decides he wants to get his ‘worm’ dance-move out (no innuendo intended) at your wedding?! It happens. A lot! These moments just cannot happen when a band is locked into a backing track. I remember joining a dancefloor limbo at a wedding back in 2016 mid song – guitar and all! The guests loved it. It was fun, it was impromptu, it was real, it was honest.
In my experience at least, bands aren’t always upfront with clients about this matter. If they are, and you make the informed decision based on that prior knowledge – I can’t see how anyone could possibly ever have a problem. But surely it’s best to be armed with that knowledge in the first place, right?
In 2013 we added a keyboard to our line-up. It took years for Ceri to learn and master an additional instrument, notwithstanding the high cost associated with purchasing a high-end instrument and lessons. But do you know what? It was the best thing we ever did. We can now add authentic modern pop songs to the set, along with many classics that just didn’t sound ‘right’ before. And to top it all off, it’s played LIVE. By a real person, right in front of you.
It’s got to be worth asking bands the question at least, surely?
If you’re still with me (sorry for the long post!), there’s one final thing I’d like to discuss before I put down my virtual pen… and that’s a band’s line-up. Or should I say increasingly, a band’s lineups…
I recently came across a new band online that appeared to be based within South Wales. They looked very good and I wondered if I knew any of the performers. After a little while browsing online, something just didn’t quite feel ‘right’. I think it was the multiple gigs on one night that got my alarm bells ringing, all at very different ends of the county. To my amazement, the band appears to have in excess of 10 lineups and advertises all over the UK! Again, great idea – not knocking it. But, wouldn’t you like to know the band that you’ve booked are actually the same band that are going to turn up on the day? Same singer, same drummer etc? I wasn’t even aware this was a thing, so if I wasn’t, I thought you might not be either?
Remember the ongoing message here; knowledge is power. Ask the questions, challenge what you see. It will mean there are no surprises come the day of your wedding or event.
I genuinely hope you find YOUR perfect party band – you certainly have a fabulous choice to choose from!