Loads of gigs in May and already off the mark in June…
The Moonies’ hectic spring schedule continues! May was definitely one of our busiest to date with gigs every Friday and Saturday, and we’ve already notched our first June wedding. Here’s a quick run down:
30th April – Coombe Lodge, Somerset
This was a marvellous night – one of those weddings where everyone gets into the party spirit without feeling the need to get (a) violently drunk or (b) just violent! The first dance was “Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke, which Stu does a splendid job of singing, but the real highlight was the bride’s father interrupting our 2nd set to sing a couple of songs to backing tracks. Sinatra eat your heart out!
5th May – Coombe Lodge, Somerset
Same venue, completely different night. The first dance was another soul classic, this time “Stand By Me”. The rest of the evening went smoothly, with things properly getting going once the disco kicked in with a selection of French songs requested by the bride. The playlist we put together seemed to work rather well and I think we kind of got the songs sequenced in the right order…
6th May – Wick Farm near Bath
Sometimes you play a wedding and it’s fairly obvious that some of the guests are in a band of their own – and possibly wished they were performing instead of you… This was one such occasion, with the lads in question hovering around in front of us most of the night (and trying to commandeer the instruments during our break!). Unperturbed, we played ”The One” by Kodaline for the first dance followed by a couple of solid sets and a disco packed with requests from the bride and groom. And then we quickly packed up and went home!
12th May – Coombe Lodge, Somerset
Back at Coombe Lodge, and the interesting aspect of this wedding was that the couple had booked a ceilidh band to play before us. The idea was that there was going to be lots of time between the meal and our performance, and it needed to be filled with something…
The reality was that the meal (inevitably) ran over, and once we all got into the room it was a case of two bands frantically setting up as quickly as possible in order to fit all our live music in. Thankfully we were both good to go in time for the ceilidh band to knock out a 45 minute set and remove their equipment, then the newly weds to have their first dance (see below) followed by a live set from us before the evening food was served – phew… it was then a case of having a quick bite and blasting out a second set AND squeezing in some disco tunes before midnight. And… relax…
13th May – Masonic Master’s Reception – RNLI HQ, Poole
In a break from the weddings, we headed to Poole for Uncle Al’s masonic master’s reception. The location was the RNLI headquarters in Poole, an absolutely marvellous setting. And as we were all staying over there was a nice opportunity to have a few beers and enjoy the views out to sea (see below) before performing a nice hour-long set. The plan was something low key, and whilst Stu was “just” on snare a cymbal we still got everyone up dancing – force of habit I guess!
19th May – Clevedon Hall, Somerset
Another enjoyable night’s work on the coast, this time at Clevedon Hall in Somerset. For the first dance we’d learned “The Way You Look Tonight” – you’ll probably recognise the Sinatra version – and (without wanting to blow our own trumpet) it sounded really good! The thing about Clevedon Hall is that (a) we have to set up in the entrance hall, and (b) they fill almost all of the space with an enormous dance floor that guests can be reluctant to occupy. Thankfully on this occasion everyone was up for a party, and come the end they were all up dancing. Okay, so the free bar will have helped…
20th May – Orchardleigh House, Somerset
Back into Somerset again, and a return to Orchardleigh House – one of those venues where it’s always a good night. We’ve realised that the room in which we play the evening inadvertently has the perfect acoustics, what with the sound absorbing curtains, shelves packed with books, plus the high ceiling and elaborate “corner-eliminating” cornices…
And, lo and behold, it was a brilliant night, from the slow first dance of “All of Me” right through to a breakneck encore of “All the Small Things”…
26th May – The Grange, South Gloucestershire
After so much travelling down south, it was nice to be just up the road at the Grange for this wedding bash. What’s more, we arrived to find the room already being turned around, allowing for an unpressured set up and sound check…
We’d learned “How Can I Live Without You” by Leann Rimes for the first dance, which went smoothly. With seating available for pretty much every guest, it wasn’t that easy to entice everyone up grooving, but we plugged away and finished the second set to a packed dance floor – and promptly did a few encores for good measure!
27th May – Fullingbridge Farm Barn, Westbury, Wiltshire
We finished May in the unfamiliar surroundings of Fullingbridge Farm near Westbury in Wiltshire, a lovely rustic venue that the bride and groom had done a great job of decorating in preparation for their wedding. They’d even brought with them a converted horsebox to sleep in – check it out:
To access the hall we were playing in we had to go through the kitchen, complete with about 5 waitresses all sitting on the worktops – just in case it wasn’t already difficult enough to negotiate… once we’d managed to get in and set up there was time to enjoy a beer and catch up with the groom, and also a couple whose wedding we played a few years back.
On this occasion the first dance was played on the laptop (“Still the One” by Shania Twain) and we then successfully completed two sets of dance floor filling live music – finding time to sample the barbecue in between…
It was then back through the kitchen with all the gear, another splendid wedding gig in the bag!
2nd June 2017 – Hyde Barn, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cotswolds
June kicked off with a wedding at another new venue, Hyde Barn in Stow-on-the Wold. A rare occasion of breaking the hour barrier to get to a venue for us, but what a lovely venue and well worth the trip.
We were booked for the ceremony and evening, which meant an early arrival. Despite the rainy forecast, everything was set for an outside ceremony, so we slightly reluctantly went along with this… thankfully the rain held off, enabling us to play “Live Forever” for the entrance, a couple of tunes for the register signing and then a first ever performance of “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac for the exit. We then quickly packed everything away before the rain eventually arrived!
The evening was equally successful, from the first dance of “Talk Tonight” through to “Don’t Look Back in Anger” (spot the theme?) and a couple of encores including “Ice Ice Baby”.
The groom was a bit tiddly come the end and slightly emotional, so we handed him the lyrics to Talk Tonight as a memento. What a lovely chap!
June is a bit quieter but a busy summer beckons, so watch this space or more gig reports!