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Two splendid November weddings at Priston Mill Watermill

After a jam packed October diary, November has been a bit more relaxed with just the two weddings.  And they both happened to be at the splendid Priston Mill Watermill near Bath.

bristol wedding band the moon loungers priston mill bath

First up was an evening bash, and in a weird de-ja-vu we found ourselves playing our acoustic “Here Comes the Sun” for the first dance. Regular readers of this blog (which we know don’t exist) may recall that we played the same first dance at the same venue only a couple of weeks ago, having never really played it as a first dance before. De-ja-vu, as we said…

Anyhoo, this (once again) went really well and Steve was soon swapping acoustic guitar for bass as the party really got started.

During a short break (it was one of those nights where timings had slipped a bit) we tucked into some mini burgers and then blasted through an hour and a half of live music – culminating in a 3-song encore that closed things out in style.

A selection of the bride and groom’s requests then played out on the disco, with a remarkable number of guests knowing the words to “Cest La Vie” by B*witched – even the blokes!

A week later we returned to the watermill, but this time it was an earlier start as we were booked to play not only the evening but also the ceremony.

As weddings go, we really are talking an early start – we arrived not long after 10am, and actually started playing around 11.30. Singing in the morning, now that’s a shock to the system…

Thankfully Steve’s voice was in full working order and the ceremony went very well, from our selection of songs as guests assembled through “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” for the entrance and then “All You Need is Love” and “It Must Be Love” for the register.  We even squeezed in “Fly Me to the Moon” as the ink dried on the marital contract, and then played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as everyone exited.

During the drinks we spent some time downloading an mp3 that had been sent through THAT MORNING for the first dance.  The song in question was “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix, which we have on our laptop, but the groom wanted a specific live version (and remembered at 6.30am on the big day that he hadn’t sent it over to us!).

priston-laptop

Once that was sorted we were able to kick back and enjoy some amazing Priston Mill food, whilst catching up with photographer Joab Smith.  By 5.00 we were back on the top floor setting up for the evening, with Stu arriving at 5.30 to squeeze his drum kit in ready for sound check.  We then managed to get a nice snap of the sparklers going off outside:

priston mill sparklers

Things were going like clockwork, and around 7pm we started the first set with the first dance.  “Little Wing” live at the Albert Hall sounded great, and for the rest of the first set the bride and groom carried on dancing together along with a pleasing number of guests.

The break gave us the chance to eat more food, and continuing with the early timings we were back playing again by 9.00!  At various junctures we had to send people down to the bar to drag guests upstairs for a dance, and for the “last song” we managed to get everyone on the floor (and then played a couple more as an encore – rude not to…).

With the disco winding everything up at 10.45, things finished in the same way they’d started – very early!

And now we have a month off – time for a well-earned break…  Congrats to our November couples and thanks to the staff at Priston Mill for looking after us so well.

Some pics from Martin Dabek

We had the pleasure of bumping into Martin Dabek (one of Bristol’s best wedding photographers) at a recent Coombe Lodge wedding, and he has been kind enough to send over a few snaps of us playing the evening party…

This is probably the first dance as Stu and Steve are studiously referring to the lyrics:

bristol wedding band coombe lodge

Stu and Chris in their nice new grey outfits:

wedding band the moon loungers coombe lodge

Steve with a mysterious Peter Pan-esque sillhouette on the wall behind him:

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And a nice shot from outside as the party gets going:

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A big thanks to Martin and if you fancy checking out more of his work then give www.martindabek.com a click!

Busiest October EVER for the Moon Loungers

Our hectic summer has been swiftly followed by a very busy October, with no less than 8 weddings to report on!

1st Oct – Bristol Zoo

Things started in the unique surroundings of Bristol Zoo in Clifton.  Once again we were playing in the downstairs of the pavilion, where we were able to set up while guests munched on the wedding breakfast upstairs.

The first dance was “Have I Told You Lately”, with the bride specifying the Rod Stewart version on the laptop.  We swiftly followed it with a couple of sets of live music either side of some pork rolls, and all told it was a cracking evening. Definitely worth a celebratory selfie (with beers kindly provided by the venue!)…

bristol wedding band the moon loungers bristol zoo

8th Oct – Kingscote Barn               

We’ve played at Kingscote many times, but never for the wedding breakfast. So this was a first for us, as we set up on the mezzanine to play as an acoustic duo as guests enjoyed their meal.

The advantage of playing the meal over the drinks reception is simple: you know where everyone is going to be for the entire performance!  And so it went well, with our couple of sets of background music filing the barn quite nicely.

During the speeches we had a breather and greeted Stu, and it was soon time to shift down below the mezzanine for the evening party.  This also went very well, from the first dance (Chasing Cars, which could be enjoying something of a renaissance?) right through to the encore. In between, we were treated to pizza AND paella – the only problem was choosing which one to sample first!

The groom had a requested a special Scottish anthem to finish the disco playlist, and the song of choice was “Loch Lomond” by Runrig. This went down really well (especially amongst the kilted contingent), and served as a suitable ending to a marvellous day!

14th Oct – Stone Barn

Stone Barn is one of those venues that is so nice that we are happy to travel outside of our usual radius (1 hour, FYI…) to get there. What a smashing venue.

moon loungers wedding band stone barn

For the second gig running we were booked for both meal and evening.  As with Kingscote, we were able to position ourselves on the mezzanine floor for the wedding breakfast and look out over the guests as they enjoyed their 3-course feast.  Thankfully we were provided with a couple of main courses of our own which we tucked into between acoustic sets – compliments to the chef!

We then hooked up with Stu during the speeches and got ourselves ready in the side barn (for want of a better name!) for the evening party. The first dance was again played through our laptop, and this time it was Gabrielle Aplin’s version of “The Power of Love” (the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song and not the Huey Lewis one, in case you were wondering).

It was a fairly boozy affair, which made for a lively night with everyone enjoying themselves.  At one point we played “It’s Not Unusual” for the father of the bride, who also happens to be called Tom Jones, but by the time someone had found him and got him into the room the song was pretty much finished – definitely one of the shortest songs in our repertoire! Not to worry, we stuck on Delilah once the disco had taken over to ensure he fully enjoyed one of his namesake’s tunes before things came to a close at midnight. Another excellent day…

15th Oct – Goss Croft Hall near Chippenham

The following evening we headed into Wiltshire and to a new venue for us – Goss Croft Hall in Upper Seagry near Chippenham.  It’s one of these swanky new village halls with lots of mod cons, and in we were particularly delighted to see they’d added some acoustic panels to the ceiling to help the sound (which was very good, as it goes!).

As there was only really one main room, we had to set up with everyone watching us, but they bravely put up with the sound check and were then happy to surround the dance floor for the first dance. The bride and groom had decided to do something different and seeing as we were in a village hall it seemed appropriate to play the Hokey Cokey… all the guests got involved (although for some it had clearly been a long time since they’d last done the Hokey Cokey) and it went brilliantly – what a great idea…

The rest of the evening was equally great, and although there weren’t hundreds of guests, most of those that were present either found their way onto the dance floor or just enjoyed watching us play.  Perhaps the most memorable aspect was one female guests lying on the floor and wrapping herself up with one of our floor rugs as the disco played out the remainder of the evening – another first for the Moon Loungers!

21st Oct – Coombe Lodge

Coombe Lodge has to be our most frequented venue in 2016, and so it was no surprise to find ourselves back there again in October.

The unusual thing about this evening wedding party for us was that we were asked to play an acoustic first set (so guests could mingle and chat without conversion being drowned out).  Obviously the downside is it’s not ideal for dancing to, but it still worked well – with Stu sticking to shaker and the odd cymbal here and there and Steve playing acoustic guitar instead of bass. The first dance was “One Day Like This” – our acoustic version, naturally!

As we were up against it time-wise we bolted down some evening food and then swiftly returned for a much livelier (and noisier!) second set with Stu finally let loose on is full kit…  loads of guests danced throughout, and in the encore we even gave “Chasing Cars” another airing.

The disco subsequently finished things up in style with “On Top of the World” by the Carpenters and then “I am a Cider Drinker” providing the perfect end to the night!

22nd Oct – Priston Mill

The night after we were at Coombe Lodge’s sister venue Priston Mill for another evening bash.  Having not played in the Watermill for a couple of years, we have now been in there a few times in 2016, taking up that familiar position on the top floor. For a smallish room it sounds great and always has a great atmosphere – and this was no exception.

wedding band the moon loungers bath priston mill

As per the previous evening, the first dance was an acoustic number (this time it was “Here Comes the Sun”) but Steve swiftly changed to bass after that. And it was one of those nights where the guests were super-responsive, dancing from start to finish to make it a definite contender for gig of the year.  Well done everyone…

23rd Oct – Kingscote Barn

To complete this three-gig weekend we were at Kingscote Barn on the Sunday night. This gave us a chance to catch up with Lee from Strawberry Fields and also Richard, the friendly owner of Kingscote.

The first dance was courtesy of the laptop (the couple had requested the original of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack), and this was followed by our trademark short first set/long second set.  During the break Lee treated us to an amazing lasagne, which did a great job of getting us over the finish line to complete a stellar weekend’s work.

27th Oct – Coombe Lodge

We then had a mid-weeker on the Thursday, which saw us back at Coombe Lodge in Somerset for a wedding drinks reception and evening party.

As we’ve stopped taking drinks reception bookings, this was officially our last ever drinks performance – a remarkable thought considering how many of them we’ve done over the years. And it went well, although (as is so often the case) the bride and groom were off having photos taken for most of it – thankfully the guests gave them plenty of great feedback!

As usual the evening was a bit more straightforward, and we kicked it off with a specially learned first dance of “I’m Lost Without You” by Blink 182 – which sounded really good and set the tone for a great evening of dancing and singing and singing and dancing (yes, we put that Cornershop song on at one point on and I think it’s still in my head..).

Song-wise things ended up full circle, with the encore featuring another Blink 182 song “All the Small Things”.  For years we’d been mulling over adding this one to the set but never knew where to put it – turns out it is made for the encore!

29th Oct – Kingscote Barn

And so October finished in the very familiar surroundings of Kingscote Barn in Gloucestershire.  This was one of those full-on evenings with plenty of inebriated guests to entertain us…

The first dance was another specially learned number, and it was actually one of the best first dances I think we’ve ever done.  The song was “I Got You Babe” – but the UB40 version, not Sonny and Cher. It’s a great example of how an upbeat song can work really well as a first dance, and will definitely be added to our list of recommended tunes!

The highlight of the night came in the first set, when the groom’s younger brother – a glass of Jack Daniels in each hand –slipped on the dance floor and somehow took off into the air like a leaping salmon. He seemed to come down pretty hard but amazingly didn’t spill that much of his drinks.  It left us (and his watching brother) in hysterics for the rest of the songs we were playing though.

The food during the break was pizza, re-affirming our hopes that this will be the new evening food of choice. Kingscote have their own pizza oven, and we can only hope that every other venue in the South West follows suit…

This pick-me-up sent us enthusiastically into our second set, and apart from one chap getting genuinely annoyed with Steve for not immediately playing a Beatles song because of his “Beatle bass” it went very well.  Once a rowdy encore was completed it was then disco right up until 12.30 to finish of a marvellous night’s (and indeed month’s) work.

Well done to all concerned and a massive congratulations to all those brilliant brides and grooms!

September gig round up

wedding band colliters brook farm bristol

It’s been a busy old September, with 5 gigs completed despite us having a whole weekend off right in the middle of the month (lazy so-and-sos)… Here’s what happened:

1st September – Priston Mill

This was a great night (and on a Thursday as well).  We kicked things off in style with a specially learned first dance song of “Freefallin” by Tom Petty.  Given this was the groom’s favourite song ever, we were delighted to deliver the goods for him!

The rest of the night was a big success, with both sets of music going down well – not to mention the limbo competition during the break… And when the disco took over once we’d finished playing live there was a particularly positive reaction for “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard – who’d have thunk it?!

Once midnight arrived it was time to pack away, whilst fending off requests from one female guest to play Delilah a 3rd time – yes, we put it on twice, which was definitely enough (sorry Sir Tom)…

A (not particularly) quick roundup of our August gigs…

LOVE (VOLE) letters

We’re not sure where this summer has gone – time is flying by for the Moon Loungers with loads of gigs to report on in August (and we’re already into the September ones!). So here’s a summary – take a deep breath:

4th August – wedding at Coombe Lodge

One of the standout aspects of this gig was that we turned up early (after cutting it a bit fine on our previous trip to Coombe Lodge!) and finding the room we were playing in had emptied and a space had already been cleared for us to set up.  We’ve spent many an hour in the lounge area waiting for meals and speeches to finish, but on this occasion everything was running right on time…