What the Band Knows … Part II

When your band is playing your event you’re (hopefully) listening to the band. But sometimes it’s a good idea to listen to the band even before your event … and I don’t mean going to check out a performance first.

This is second in a series where I suggest that the experienced St. Louis band leader might have some helpful thoughts on your event. Weather or not you take the advice, it’s likely worth listening to … and that is not a typo, I’m talkin’ weather, specifically St. Louis weather. A few years ago a lovely couple thought it would be fun to get married in a barn in July. I mentioned that it might be a bit uncomfortable, but they were convinced it would unseasonably, magically, be a lovely day. It was 101 and everyone was miserable.

BM Good Shot of Band Playing

We kept ourselves warm by swingin’!

Recently I got called for a really swanky corporate gig at a mansion in St. Louis County. The conversation started with the date not being nailed down, but it was “we’ll have you playing outside in the beautiful yard, and we’re looking at October or November.” I mentioned November might not be wise, but that’s where it landed.  During a meeting at the mansion, I pointed to a corner nook and said, “you know, the band would fit perfectly right there.” The response was, “we want you outside.” I mentioned that on even a decent November evening in this town, if I was a guest, and my choice was to stay indoors where the food was and marvel at this historic mansion, or step outside to hear the band, I’m thinkin’ I’ll mostly stay inside. “But you’ll wonderful music be drawing them out there!” was the enthusiastic reply.

I certainly appreciated the confidence, and he assured me that there would be a bar on this lovely, huge patio and we’d be in a tent with heaters. The Kevin Mitchell 4 is game for anything, so that’s what we did.

I got there early to set up so did my mates.  We started playing at 6:00 sharp, and the sun set quickly after that taking the charm and beauty of that patio with it. Now we’re at the far end of a series of plastic tents, and our playing is cut short because the heater near us blew the fuse.  This took a while to fix because it was that old school knob and tube set up.  Thirty minutes later we had electricity again, but no heat. The drummer had brought hand warmers, and the sax player kept walking over about 30 feet where there was a heater and waving his horn in front of that. “It’s really hard to play when the horn is cold,” he said. Folks did came out, a few even sat near us for a few numbers. A group stood near the bar at the far end where the heaters were working fine. And during and after, the client expressed how much everyone liked the band and how perfect we were. So all’s well that end’s well!

Joe & Chris keepin' the rhythm.

Joe & Chris keepin’ the rhythm.

I guess the moral of the story is … well there’s two: 1) If you’re doing anything where the band is outside, you are taking a chance, as you have better odds at the local casino than against Mother Nature; 2) If the band is giving you some advice, take it!

Listen to the band.

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