Hiring A Live Band: Loud Is Not Better!
At the high end of sophistication, nobody wants to have their conversation drowned out by a band that thinks it’s the main event…at a rock concert! Live wedding entertainment should mean a live band…too often anymore, the term is being used to connote that somebody hired a DJ!
And while that’s better than an ipod, because somebody is actually giving some thought to the music while it’s happening, there is nothing more musical than a live band.
It’s the folly of an empty ballroom, in which the guests are trying to make themselves very small by DISAPPEARING. They’re hiding on the patio or in the hallway outside the ballroom…calling the concierge to bring them EARPLUGS. The band is playing dance music, but nobody’s dancing. What could these people be thinking?
This is not entertainment! It’s ego. Even during dinner, some of these musicians are narcissistic enough to get carried away. From start to finish, a live band should never be so loud that guests at a wedding cannot talk…or hear themselves think.
That doesn’t mean the music should disappear, either. Live music with what we call “presence” is dependent upon excellent sound, and most wedding bands and DJ’s just don’t have a clue what that is.
It helps to have a reat sound system helps, one with more than the usual two settings of LOUD and OFF. But that’s really just the beginning. Acoustics are avery important. And if you don’t have the right acoustics it’s easy enough to create them. All it takes is planning, knowledge and experience. Like being savvy enough to know that it’s not smart to cram the dance floor right up against the stage. But I digress…
There is no easy “fix” to great sound. The room, the ceilings, the walls, the furniture…all come into play as part of the equation.
Guest: We’ve never been to a wedding before where we could dance to the band, hear the music so well and still have a conversation!
I hear this comment all the time.
Long before the guests arrive, I’m in the ballroom setting up. The band is usually the first to arrive at an event and the last to leave.
And long before we ever arrive in the ballroom — or the garden, the private estate — I’ve reviewed seating charts, stage setups, dance floor proportions….and so much more.
Staging, sound design, dance floor placement, ballroom seating charts? What, you ask, do these have to do with msuicians performing in a wedding band, playing live music at a wedding?
Can’t a band just show up and play some music?
We aim for a much better sound than what’s “out there” today in the world of wedding entertainment.
The is not “DJ sound,” folks.
There is no need for the band to be louder than the guests — or for the guests to have to run and hide in the vestibule outside of a hotel ballroom in order to get away from the music.
Live music is about subtlety and nuance, or at least it should be. And while our “sound” has a lot to do with the custom-designed sound system we use, it also has a lot to do with mastering and effecting staging and sound design that’s right for each setting. And each setting is different. Different, too, are the moods our clients want to create. But if they are opting for live music, they deserve to have something better than the two settings almost everyone in the wedding music business is using today: loud and off.
We hate that awful noise as much as you do. Frank SInatra would never have allowed it. Tony Bennett doesn’t allow it. I’ve been to his concerts, and he understands sound. Probably supervises it himself….
We don’t “fly” speakers from poles in the air, with loud sub-woofers aimed at people’s heads.
Our speakers go on the floor, and the sound we project is diffused in a way that fills the room and gives our performances “presence.” Up and out….you can hear it all over the room and it’s delightful.
You can talk while we’re playing, yet we’re not “background music.”
We put on a show, but you don’t have to be paying rapt attention to us in order to enjoy it. You can go outside and smoke a cigar…spread a blanket out under the stars and listen to the sounds wafting out from the ballroom…dance, talk, eat….and enjoy the music.
You can also dance to everything we play, if you want to. And if you don’t want to, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.
This is the way entertainment used to be presented at weddings — and even in nightclubs — when I was a little girl. Perhaps the singer on the stage was Ella Fitzgerald or Frank Sinatra. Maybe Benny Goodman’s band was playing. As I recall from my New York City childhood, those people weren’t up there with a “look at me, aren’t I great” attitude. The “house music” didn’t come on to drown our your thoughts and ruin your mood when they took a break, either.
There was no awful guitarist alternating with one of those bands…playing to “tracks” or performing live karaoke like we hear in restaurant after restaurant that professes to have “live entertainment” these days.
We do things the old-fashioned way, and that means when you hire one of our bands to perform live music for your wedding, party or special event you are going to have great sound. Not loud sound that drowns out your every thought, but great sound that allows for the nuances of live music to weave their magical spell.
I’ve spent a lifetime trying to musically interpret these nuances, remembered from a time when bands were bands and nightclubs were nightclubs and hotel and DJ sound systems weren’t geared toward loud is better.
Because it’s not.
Singer/bandleader Judy Chamberlain specializes in live music for celebrity weddings in California, Arizona, Texas and beyond. She can be reached at 714 319-9242