Hardly a million miles outside London, The Elvetham Hotel feels like a completely different world! A contemporary of one of our favourite venues, Ettington Park, The Elvetham Hotel in Hook serves as a beautiful location for a wedding. As we arrived in the dark, the bride and groom greeted us on their way to have their photo taken with the hotel as a backdrop – those photos must be pretty special!
New Toys For The Wedding Band
Tonight, our drummer was debuting a brand new toy to use live at weddings; a Roland SPD-SX! It’s a sampler, which means the drummer can trigger all sorts of sounds, effects and loops from the back of the stage. A new addition, we eased the device into service with only a couple of key moments in the set leaning heavily on the pad. Fireflies, early in the first set, was the first track to make the most of the pad – the introduction formed by using a sample of the original track. This free’d our front man up to use a vocoder during the choruses – and made the song generally sound epic! Tracks like this and many other modern tracks rely so heavily on the studio production, that they can, without careful arrangement, fall flat live. It’s great to have this new gadget on board to really fill out the sound (without relying on backing tracks, which we’ve never liked!)
A First Dance, a Second Dance – a Third, Fourth… Fifth?!
The Bride and Groom chose “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli as their first dance. While it’s a track we perform regularly live, the couple decided to perform to the recording as they had rehearsed a dance to it. The dance was lovely, and while the couple weren’t regulars at choreographed dance, the effort they put in really made a lovely moment of the evening.
The second dance was where we came in with “The Wonder of You” by Elvis. This is one of those classic tracks that transcends the original arrangement – with all it’s orchestral backing. Our more straight forward 4-piece arrangement worked particularly well when the audience added in the “Woah-woah-woah” backing lines, and the dance floor was full.
Our usual set then kicked in, and Bride and Groom remained on the dance floor well into the first set. While this doesn’t sound unusual, we often find that with the final formality of the day over the bride and groom will take a moment (probably at the bar!) to regroup, rest, and join the dancing later in the set… These guys were so in the groove they didn’t leave until 5, 6 or 7 songs in!
Dancing into the Night
And so, as you’ll see below, the dance floor remained packed all night! The highlights in our view were probably Moves Like Jagger, Superstition and Don’t Stop Believing… but it’s a hard job to pick on a night where every track is greeted by such an enthusiastic and lively audience.
Live music stopped at midnight, at which point the iPod kicked back in until 1am. In reality the group had worn themselves out on the live set, but it was great to maintain the atmosphere into the night for those staying up in the adjacent bar.
A Narnian Departure
As we left the venue we were greeted by almost Narnian scenes. The Elvetham Hotel was shrouded in a light mist, and their lighting of the venue created a scene that really was spectacular! Hopefully our return to the Elvetham Hotel will be similarly Narnian; returning sooner than we expected!