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!)…
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.
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.
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!