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Wedding Bands Evolved

In Glasgow Wedding Band Reviews, Wedding band Scotland Advice by norstar1 Comment

Wedding Bands Evolved

{It’s Evolution Baby}

evolution of glasgow wedding bands

Dear readers, I’d like to go a bit off topic and talk about the “evolution” of our part of the wedding business.

Back when we started in the early 2000’s, the market, business and how customers shopped was completely different to today. Of course, if you can remember back that far, we were still in the early days of the internet and I can’t think of many bands that even had websites, I know we were one of the first and it was highly unusual.

Bands either worked with agents who were in the Yellow pages, or took out some advertising in the glossy wedding monthly magazines. When we started, that was 90% of our business, directly from the Scottish Wedding Directory, and a little from some deeply dodgy agents who were still selling acts to social clubs! Part of that agreement with the agents meant WE had to play the social club scene while building a reputation within the wedding market. Now, I’ve many many things to say about those days, but to put it mildly it was not for us in the beginning, the punters in those places were used to hearing backing tracks, and not a full live band. We played usually for 4 hours after the bingo as the “turn” and the audiences were vicious. We had to play the songs they wanted to hear, play almost any request from a broad range of musical styles, not be too loud, not be too quiet, be dressed right, be a little bit funny, etc etc. However, I learned loads about audience reading, grew a massive┬árepertoire, built vocal stamina and the ability to entertain properly, not just be a good player, but a good entertainer.

We then saw a huge shift around 2007 (ish), up to then we were pretty unique, as in, we were a modern type band, quite rocky and heavy for the wedding market, but we were massively successful as it was an alternative to the 3 old blokes and a karaoke queen that we were competing with. Bands, particularly in Glasgow started forming in the music colleges and where once young musicians dreamed of a career as bona-fide rock stars, started to dream about becoming wealthy in the wedding and corporate scene. So, we start seeing bands with moody photos, slicker web-sites and a more modern set/sound, also, around that time social clubs started dying out and with them the typical social club agent, replaced with agents that exclusively work with wedding and corporate clients.

wedding bands scotland social clubs

I though Phoenix Nights was a documentary…

The question. Is this a good thing? Well, on one hand yes, wedding bands of old were on the most part dreadful, and that might sound a bit disrespectful but they were the musical equivalent of prawn cocktails, dated, a bit naff and certainly not sophisticated. However, like a prawn cocktail, most of them were entertaining in a kitchy fun drunken night-out kinda way, but not the type of musicians you’d normally pay to watch! On the other side of the coin, with the death of the social club, that “proving” ground for young musicians has really gone, and I steadfastly believe despite my years of classical training and a contemporary degree in music, playing those rooms after the bingo were the best education in being an entertainer I’ve ever had. ┬áSee, on stage I welcome requests, not to show off but to help keep my song knowledge fresh, I want it to be challenged. This year through the odd cold or holiday we’ve drafted in players from other bands to fill in, and I always give the player a set list in advance, but I don’t really work from set lists, I like to “feel” the audience and the next song will come naturally, then when the requests start coming (after some encouragement) I’m amazed at some of the blank looks I’ve had from stand-in players when asked to play what I consider standard songs… Luckily I can quickly scribble a chart during the break and have never been undone, but it goes to show the loss of these places has had an impact on the current generation of “professional” players. I know, I sound like a old fart, and maybe I am, but there’s no point in being able to play all Biffy’s hits if you can’t play something from Dirty Dancing, no matter how cool your haircut is..

So, yes, I lament the loss of these pretty horrid places and I welcome the new and “trendy” style bands, and I hope the business gets pushed further towards the big show bands we see in New York and LA with amazing vocal and instrumental talent, and I think it will.. But for now we need to keep evolving… Like Pearl Jam says… Do the Evolution Baby!

Comments

  1. David Fraser

    Hey Guys, greetings from Across the bond. I am witnessing the same phenomenon here in Canada. I have made my living from primarily pubs for the past 8 years, and I’ve done very well, however the market is changing. There are some fantastic big bands in Toronto now and the pub scene is dying very quickly. I think having the ability to entertain and feel an audience is such a needed skill today, people don’t even understand how awesome it is until they experience it. Keep it up guys!

    David

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