8 July 2018
The Wedding Band Style Guide
The Wedding Band Style Guide
Most of us know our stuff when it comes to our own style of music. When it comes to booking wedding entertainment to keep a roomful of guests on their toes, it becomes a different matter. You might know everything there is to know about hip-hop or heavy metal, but you might not want your first dance to be Gansta's Paradise, and your grandparents might not be the hugest fans of Master of Puppets. So, here's a guide explaining what to expect when you're searching for a wedding band whose music is outside of your field of expertise:
The most popular song of each year, for better or for worse, have a habit of never leaving our memories. Try as we might, we can't forget songs like the Macarena, the Year 3000, the Cha Cha Slide and, more recently, Get Lucky. And, in a way, we shouldn't, because they're memories we all share, and at a celebration of union, what better way to bring people together than to relive our cheesiest school disco memories? Pop of course is so much more than that – there's Madonna, ABBA, the Spice Girls and Take That too. Pop bands in general have an acute awareness of what's at the top of everyone's playlists, ranging from the all-time classics to the latest flavour of the week – exemplified by our party bands SFX, the Dance and Evolve.
To those who like AC/DC, Queen, Led Zeppelin and Guns 'n' Roses, we salute you! Rock 'n' Roll is all about letting your hair hang down low and not caring one iota about what the squares think as you tear up the dance floor, devil horns held high. While it may be a little loud and abrasive for some wedding-goers, there's something undeniably triumphant about the winning combination of electrifying guitars, pummelling bass and thunderous drums that's loosen even the tightest ties. Have a look at the Fix, the Soundouts and Life in Stereo to see for yourself! Rock encompasses a wide variety of well-liked artists, including Muse, Metallica, the Rolling Stones and Nirvana – as long as it's played at top volume, it counts. 1, 2, 3, 4!
There's a Killer inside all of us, as well as a Kaiser Chief, an Arctic Monkey and a Kasabian. Oasis and the Smiths, too, if you go a bit further back. Indie music's all about being cooler than a cucumber in an ice bucket, and has been the soundtrack to many of our youths, so having an indie-themed wedding will carry a hint of nostalgia beneath the fun-loving surface. If you're bringing the sort of crowd who like nothing better than to jump up and down to I Predict a Riot, Mr Brightside, Live Forever and I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor with a Fred Perry polo shirt on and a pint in their hand, then an indie wedding is the very thing for you. Indie bands tend to range from trios to quintets, depending on how many guitarists they have and whether or not they have a keyboard, and will usually give an infectiously high-energy performance. Have a gander at the Matchsticks, the Overloads and Before Sunrise.
Get up, get on up, to some of the most uplifting music to ever come from human hearts and minds: soul music. Whether you're into Motown or Northern Soul, there's no escaping those pounding rhythms and soaring choruses. Soul bands are all about inclusion, and they often achieve this by filling the stage with backing singers and brass section helping to preach good times and get the whole crowd involved. Fans of James Brown, the Four Tops, Gloria Jones or anything from the Blues Brothers movie will be stomping and clapping along in no time. Lady Marmalade, Tainted Love, Be My Baby and Build Me Up Buttercup are all staples for bands like Soul Patrol, the Young Vinyls and the Lovettes.
Smooth and stylish, you can't get much cooler than the casual brilliance of a jazz band. Call upon a group of groovy cats to wow your wedding guests and you'll be opening the door to saxophones, plodding double basses, merrily swinging drums and frenetic guitar fretwork. Plus, while instrumental jazz sounds splendid, you can't beat a bit of that smokey, sultry singing. Jazz can claim such legendary talents as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Django Reinhardt, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole among its gifted musicians. Sit back and relax as the pro-est of the pros, like Swing Groove, Afternoon in Paris and Jazz Report, fly you and your wedding guests to the moon.
While not all of us can afford to have a whole philharmonic orchestra play at our wedding, there are other ways of bringing that air elegance and refinement that comes hand in hand with the likes of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and Vivaldi to your event. Nothing speaks sophistication quite like a string quartet (which typically includes two violinists, a violist and a cellist) and there's quite frankly no better way to walk down the aisle than to the Bridal Chorus played as Wagner intended. You can also hire harpists, classical pianists and classical guitarists for an even further stripped down recital. Classical acts often venture into theme music territory too – so listen out for the strains of Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and other fantastic film scores. Feast your ears on Electrica, Aria and Harmony for further evidence of this.
The street music of the Mexican equivalent of cowboys, expect bright colours, sombreros, maracas and more. Traditionally dressed in 'charro' horsemen outfits, your typical Mariachi band will consist of a volley of acoustic guitars, fanfares of trumpets, a host of harps and other assorted string instruments and, of course, a chorus of cheerful voices. Amid such Mariachi staples as La Bamba, La Cucaracha and El Jarabe Tapatio (the Mexican Hat), you'll most likely be treated to a few Mexicanised versions of popular hits as diverse as Livin' On a Prayer and Don't You Want Me Baby, after which you may feel compelled to don a poncho and knock back a tequila on the count of uno, dos, tres.
The music of the people can generally go one of two ways: the gently plucked, lusciously harmonised way of such artists as the Everly Brothers, Fleet Foxes and Simon & Garfunkel, or the frenetically twanged, enthusiastically stomped-along-to way of Mumford and Sons and the Pogues. Either way, folk bands are predominantly acoustic, and although their line ups can often expand to feature mandolins, banjos, fiddles, cajons and borans, they do tend to favour the stripped-down approach and can be a great space saver if you're using a smaller venue. Beards and waistcoats are a strong probability. Stylistically, folk has a lot in common with country music and the traditional music ceilidh bands (though these definitely tend to fall into the higher-energy sub-category). Check out Country Girls and the James Street Ceilidh Band to see what these folks have up the sleeves of their smocks.
Going retro is an increasingly popular choice for weddings – not only is the music riddled with nostalgia but also the opportunity to dress up is a tough one to turn down! Step into a musical time machine and whisk your guests back to a simpler time when all that matters was looking and feeling as good as the music you love. You can narrow your song selection down to a certain period, as with bands such as 80s Recall, Boom Shake the 90s and Rocket '59, or go for a band who stylises itself as 'vintage' such as the Flip Top Floozies, Indiana and the Retro Jets.