Okay, let me start by saying this isn’t a live band vs. d.j. debate. A d.j. is never the right choice. Period. Really, that’s about it. I know – lots of people have told you that d.j.s have come a long way, and they have. But unless you’re having a Techno party, it’s just not that cool.
So let’s talk about why that issue even comes up ~ and some of my comments are specific to us, because they aren’t always true for other bands.
1. What’s it gonna cost? That’s really the biggest consideration when people start thinking live vs. pre-recorded music. And it’s a big one. What you should keep in mind is that any cost comparisons are kind of apples to oranges. “A d.j. will probably cost you less than a live band.” Well, yeah, it probably will, and definitely should. It’s one guy or gal with an iPod. We are – lucky for you – a 5 to 6 piece band. Small by comparison to many bands, really. And while paying professional musicians to perform and entertain your guests isn’t going to be the least expensive part of your day, it definitely shouldn’t be. Music is the most lasting impression your party will make.
People will comment when the flowers are creative, and everybody loves a good piece of cake, but I’ve never heard anyone say that guests were talking about those weeks later. A live band sets the mood of your party – it tells your guests what you want them to feel and experience from the moment the band starts until the last person is dragged off the dance floor. (Helped off is probably a better word.)
2. Volume, volume, volume. This is another concern people have. But it’s not an issue for a great band that plays dynamically. Occasionally, some unique venues have sound restrictions (an Audubon property, for example), and we have worked in many places where we have made the necessary sound system adjustments to accommodate such requests. That’s easy. But what about the older guests at the party, who don’t want to be jarred out of an absorbing moment with a fork and a piece of cake, or drowned out of a conversation with an old friend. We are at the party for everyone, and when it’s cocktail hour we play quiet jazz standards that don’t become the focus. When it’s time for dancing the dynamics change, because that’s what gets people out there and losing themselves a bit, and that’s what you want.
3. Hammering down the MC thing. Our job isn’t to take over and run your party, it’s to be a part of your party. Sure, we’ll make all the announcements you need and get people relaxed and comfortable when making toasts. But we don’t have one eye on the clock, and another on a crumpled schedule. We’ve got your notes, with all of the things you want to happen during your event. We watch for when your guests are socializing, and we watch for when it’s time to get everyone out of their chairs. We keep an eye on what the caterers are doing. So when people are eating, we’re not playing dance music and when it’s time to cut the cake, we are not going on break. We know the people in your party who you’d like to have get up and speak and we’ll help get them through that. And many parties have at least one person that would love to sit in with a live band – definitely memorable. When traditional ethnic dances are important to a family, it’s equally important to have a live band pacing the music with what’s happening in the room, and what are the chances that pre-recorded music will line up perfectly with your party and your guests?
4. Wanting it all. This is the “D.j.s can play it all” case. (They can’t.) But truth is, you don’t really want it all. You love flowers, but you know the specific look you want. Lots of cakes are great, but you’ve selected a favorite. Why would music be any different? Your party has a theme, a mood, a feel. It reflects who you are and how you want to celebrate that. So choose a band that best reflects you as well. Not a catch all, but something unique. A band with enough variety and musical breadth to keep things interesting and appeal to every one of your guests, but still having its own great sound. A band with some personality.
5. The downside. There’s always a downside, isn’t there? I guess breaks might be seen as a downside to having a live band – we’re human, not machines, and need to take the occasional break. And no, you won’t be wandering with flashlights down a long gravel drive looking for band members (at least not with Calypso Hurricane) – but remember that we’re working hard for you and just need to take a breather, stretching our legs a bit. No worries – the party is never without music. We bring an iPod with great songs to hear, or even better use yours – that’s what most people do because after all, that’s where your favorite music is. There will be music the whole time – but when the band starts playing again, I guarantee you’ll be glad it hasn’t all been pre-recorded. Hey – I take it back – there still isn’t a downside to having a live band!
Live music sounds a lot richer and fuller than a recording. It fills a room in a different way. No, we don’t sound exactly like the original artist, but neither does a recording. When you go to a concert it’s to hear great music but also for the atmosphere that live musicians create, and that’s what we bring.
We know you can always find easier and cheaper alternatives …
but substitutes by definition are not the real thing!