Wedding bands offer lots of add-ons to go along with the baseline service of performing dance music during a reception. One of those add-ons is the option of ‘continuous music’, which probably means different things to different people, but in the context of the wedding band world, it means that the band will always be on stage performing, aside from stopping for speeches and toasts (admittedly, there are probably many Best Man speeches out there that could use mood music for sentimental moments and cymbal crashes to go along with bad jokes, but coordinating that kind of synchronization sounds unnecessarily complicated).
While the idea of constant live music might sound appealing – making a classy wedding even classier by never using pre-recorded or piped-in music – it detracts from the overall trajectory of the wedding. The best example of this is when the band starts their first dance set, after speeches and dinner. They pack the dance floor and everything’s great, but after an hour or so, people start to get tired, or wander off to have conversations with friends where they can hear each other, or head to the bar to grab drinks. If the band keeps going, then sure, some people will keep dancing, but eventually, the crowd-that-was will lose its energy and dissipate, and then you’ve got a band on stage playing to nobody. Not fun for the band, and serving no purpose for the guests.
Instead, try this: the band stops after that first killer hour of dance music and takes a short breather, leaving the crowd wanting more. Guests step off the dance floor to chat, grab drinks, and take a breather themselves, and when the band returns after 10 or 15 minutes, everybody is fresh, energized, and ready to go. In addition, the band will have made sure to play recorded music during that break, just so there’s no dead air and to keep the general party vibe going.
If the band never breaks, it’s unclear when the crowd should break. The dance floor stays minimally populated for a large chunk of the night, and oftentimes, it only builds back up to being packed for the last few songs. If the band breaks before that last rocking set, the crowd immediately returns to the dance floor when the music starts back up, and it stays packed for that entire final hour of live music. And behind the scenes, the musicians will finish the gig feeling happy and proud of the job they’ve done, instead of exhausted after not having left the stage for four hours straight.
While alluring, continuous music isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Yes, it’s a bit counterintuitive, especially when marketed as a great way to elevate your wedding, but keeping the band on stage all night is likely to do more harm than good. So don’t pay any extra money for it! Give your band a break, give the crowd a break, and watch the wedding run like clockwork and the dance floor explode with energy for every set.
It’s continuous music throughout the party. The entire time, if the band is not playing dance music, then we’re up there playing music in the background. It’s not obtrusive, people can talk
while they’re eating, but it’s a nice point of focus that there is still live music going on. There will always be live pieces on the stage. There will always be a couple of pieces up playing background music while people are eating. That gives us a chance to do other artists too that we can’t get in during the dance time: John Legend, Jason Mraz, James Taylor, Van Morrison, and that kind of stuff.
We go in knowing what our clients want. We go in with a list of all their favorite songs and special moments and things that are unique to them. And then we feel the crowd. We have a huge arsenal of songs in every genre and we are very fluid at going back and forth between one and the other. We take the pulse and we’re always watching and thinking “What is the next great moment going to be?” Then, of course, it’s knowing what the band does well and knowing what those special moments are that we could pull out that are going to surprise and delight everybody. For years I would stand as the guests were walking into the ceremony just to get a lay of the land and see who was there, and what their vibe was, when they walked in because that initial impression is something that will stay with us, as bandleaders, all night long.
The most successful parties we do are where we get to mix things up a lot, so we have a chance to expand the repertoire and not just play one genre. It becomes much more eclectic; we’re much more pick and choose in terms of what’s going on. We have the same agenda: you want to see the dance floor packed, we want to see the dance floor packed. Mixing it up a lot helps a lot with making everybody in the room feel like the band’s playing for everybody. We have no problem covering requests across the board, all different genres, all different age groups. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for Phish if you’re looking for Biggie, whatever you’re looking for, we can play all of that. The band’s repertoire is very deep, so we have no problem covering all of that material. Keep in mind that part of what you’re hiring us for is the experience. We’ve done so many parties. We’ve seen so many things at different parties. We’ve worked out different materials and we know what works and we know kind of what doesn’t work.