Archive for August 29th, 2007

Mr. Bandleader, Do You Know Any OTHER Tunes?

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Nothing sets the mood at a Mardi Gras-themed party like walking into the venue past a band playing Cajun or Dixieland music. And many an event has gotten off to a sensational start by engaging Mariachis, a French accordion player, Hawaiian slack-guitarist, or Bluegrass band.

But, after an hour, most of your guests “get” the theme. Not all of them, however, want to hear that same highly specialized – and in many cases, highly repetitive – music all night long. So, what’s a party planner to do? How can you bring an authentic musical ambience to your night, without later being “stuck” with them? Here are a couple of ways:

1. If your budget permits, hire two groups. Most bands charge you for more than one hour, anyway. So you could start the night with your ethnic or regional ensemble. At the one-hour point you’d switch to a variety band. During the variety band’s break (2 hours into your party), bring back your mood-setting band for one more brief set during the variety group’s intermission. Afterwards, with your theme well-established (but not beaten to death), you can enjoy a wide range of music.

2. Hire a variety band with the ability to play some specialized music. Here in the Dallas area, the Crawfish band (which has 3 native Louisianans among its 5 members) can easily do an hour of Cajun, then switch to Variety for the remainder of the evening. Vicho Vicencio glides effortlessly from all-Latin to almost-endless Variety. And “The N’awlins Gumbo Kings” evoke the Dixieland flavor of the Crescent City, right up to the moment you wish to hear something more generic.

Chances are – if you are reading this entry from someplace other than North Texas – your area has musicians who can perform double-duty as well. Like the players mentioned above, their unique repertoire will get your chosen theme off to a dazzling start. And – unlike the one-style-only players, they can shift as needed to avoid your event suffering from “too much” of what started out as a good thing.