The right song
When choosing a band for your function, experience on stage, the right song choice and an ability to keep the party going are the essential ingredients.
Our current band line up has worked together for approximately ten years, but with each of us, the length of our working relationships varies. Actually Grant and Roger recently discovered by accident that they had played together before in the eighties. We were discussing band names and the conversation went something like this... "I was in a band years ago called The Lung Brothers" said Grant. "You weren't in The Lung Brothers" retorted Roger, quite indignantly adding "I was in the Lung Brothers". "Really! What did you look like?" said Grant. "I used to have a big Thomson Twins mullet" replied Rog. "Really? I used to look like Robert Palmer with big blond curly hair". Rog thought for a while before replying, "Oh yeah, I remember you". To say these guys are experienced is a terrible understatement.
Understandably when they talk I have to listen. Choosing material for our sets will often draw on this experience. Is a song a bonafide winner? Will it suit as a cocktail song? Is it a third set dance song? Sometimes a song we all love to play will be axed just because it doesn't draw a response. At the end of the day it all boils down to the response.
The response however can vary and still be what we wanted all along.
For example if the brief is that we need to be in the background as people will be eating and someone comes up and says "That was perfect we really enjoyed our day", we know we've succeeded. If someone says we want to dance it up from 9 till Midnight and we look out on a consistently strong dance floor, then we are happy. If it's a wedding and we have everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, on the floor, we go home smiling.
When your a cover band you have to leave your ego at the door (well, most of it). Ultimately if you are playing covers, you're playing songs people know and love and your brief is to entertain. If that is a chore then it's time to hang up your guitar. Thankfully I love playing the music we play because... Well, it's fun. Hopefully we will be playing together for a long time yet.