Have you ever wondered what it is that happens behind the scenes for a professional wedding band on the road most weekends of the year? Well, here is a little snap shot of a typical weekend…
It’s Friday morning and time to start the weekend and get ready for the road.
While I’m liaising with the venue managers and confirming the route to the gig, the boys in the band are checking their instruments (no laughing please, this is serious business), reviewing the set-list and any requests from the Bride and Groom, and very importantly – doing a final run through of the first dance before the big performance.
Then the wagons get loaded with gear. All those instruments, speakers, amplifiers, lights, sound desks, gadgets and gizmos taken from the practice room and packed with the pinpoint precision of a game of Tetris.
Now it’s Chill O’ Clock, each person’s time to take an hour or two, rest up, fuel up, wash up and get ready to get this show on the road.
For the Bridal party the nerves have turned to joy. “I do’s” have been said and the Groom has kissed his new Bride. Smiles all round as the party starts and the corks popped.
It is about this time the wagon wheels get rolling, stopping quickly for a fuel top up and the first mug of petrol station coffee of the evening. And so the journey begins. It could be 40mins, it could be four hours; motorways, towns and villages blend away into random chats and storytelling over the rise and fall of tarmac.
Then just like that we’re at the venue. Bright lights and the sound of laughter, shake the sticky road eyes off us. As the band stretch their legs in the car park I pop inside to meet the venue staff, checking the logistics of the evening with the venue manager.
The band members make themselves presentable, donning their sharp suits. They have to look the part before meeting guests and the VIPs, it’s only right!
Time for coffee number two…
Next thing you know, the venue manager has given the nod and it’s time to get the gear onto the stage. The Tetris of equipment is disassembled and loaded into the venue. Upstairs, down hallways, through rooms, doesn’t matter how difficult - it gets brought in as swiftly as possible.
While leads are being plugged in and lighting checked, our boys Michael and Ciaran take a few moments to say hello to our VIPs for the night, the Bride and Groom, checking in and wishing them congrats.
Now it’s time for the sound check. Every room is different, and Michael and Ciaran know how to tweak the system to make the sound sublime. They want their music to sound the best it can for the Big Day and they’ll make sure it does.
Water topped up, guitar tuned, final checks. House music and house lights go down, mics go live...It’s Time for the Good Hustle to perform the first dance. The crowd circle the dance floor and the bride and groom take centre stage. The music washes over them, that special song, and before you know it the dance floor fills around them.
With the romantic start for the Newlyweds done, the party is already in full flight, jiving, waltzing, funking and rocking its way past midnight into the new day. Always finishing on a high, sweat and smiles are commonplace, with maybe a tie or two around the forehead.
With the last beat of the drum our DJ slides seamlessly into position keeping the party hopping and the dance floor full. Time for the band members to step outside, get their breath back and congratulate the VIPs on an amazing party.
And now, the end is near; And so we face the final curtain...
It’s that time, the end of a great night and a spectacular day for the Bride and Groom.
The Tetris game starts again as the gear is loaded away.
For a lucky few the party continues into the wee hours of the morning, but not for The Good Hustle…
Coffee Number Three.
Back on the road once more, weary eyed but smiling.
A job well done. Mr & Mrs Happily Married and guests totally danced out.
And as the Good Hustle return to the West from wherever we might have been, the sun rises on our backs and brings with it a new set of VIPs to get The Good Hustle Treatment.
It’s time to Rest up, Recover and Repeat all over again tomorrow.
Our Man John Byrne is tour manager for the Good Hustle. With years of experience this fella has seen it all. Unflappable and always capable this is a man of many talents. On an off night it seems he likes nothing more than a couple of quiet pints and writing an ould blog post. Every band should have a John Byrne, he's unreal!