Top Tips

In our line of work we go to a lot of parties and we often discuss what elements go into making events and parties really successful.  Read on for some of our top-tips!

Pure Genius - the best party band in the world!
Wedding reception tips

1. Choose a venue that consists only of one room

Some of the best parties we’ve played at were on the surface very simple. They consisted of a single function room with a bar to one side or at the back, some seating around the edge and some tables for a buffet. In some ways it goes against your instinct of wanting to have an “interesting” venue which has character and perhaps smaller more private spaces for your guests. A single room with a bar in works is because your guests have to socialise! Some of them won’t know each other and that’s the very thing that will make the party more interesting. More random stuff happens when people are bouncing off each other – that’s a good thing!

2. Don’t mix entertainment with food

People love food. Given the chance to eat they will forsake all other activities and will barely be able to function until they’ve had their fill. At a party or wedding reception the food is often really good. Mmmm foooood!!! If you have a disco, schedule at least half an hour “quiet time” while folks digest their scrumptious morsels. If you have a wedding band the perfect time to bring out the food is on the stroke of the end of their first set. Give it an hour, your guests will be satisfied and ready to cut up a rug once more.

3. Make sure you have enough wedding reception party guests to fill the room

Your absolute limit to the number of guests you will invite is dictated by fire regulations. The key thing is to make sure that you are going to invite the absolute maximum you are allowed for the venue. If the capacity is 200 and you have invited 100, your venue is too big. If a further 20 or so of your guests don’t show then you’ve got the potential for a quiet, reserved affair. Again the same principal applies. You want your guests to socialise! Choose a venue that is going to be bursting at the seams when everyone arrives. The result will be a night to remember!

Of course there are hundreds of elements that go into throwing a great wedding reception party. However, we’ve seen time and time again how an average party could’ve been a great one with the benefit of hindsight. Get it right and your guests will be talking about your wedding reception party for years to come.

Top 5 party band tunes

Hiya! Today I’m going to give you a sample of our previously top secret list of top party band tunes that we keep up our sleeve until we need a real winner to get the party jumping! We’ve played a lot of weddings, parties and functions and think we know good party music when we hear it (check out our repertoire list). So here goes with 5 of our top party band tunes;

Party Band Tune countdown!

Tune 5:

At number five we’ve got an oldie but goldie – party band music 60s style – Jackie Wilson’s ‘Higher and Higher’. A simple tune that gets more and more infectious the longer it goes on. A guaranteed winner!

Tune 4:

One for the ladies! This top party tune has raised 1000’s of bums from seats at wedding receptions and dragged many a reluctant fella onto the dancefloor over the years. A hit for scouse soul band The Real Thing in 1976, ‘You to Me Are Everything’.

Tune 3:

Guaranteed to go off when there are 40 somethings in the house. ‘A Town Called Malice’ by the Jam is not what you’d call your typical top party band tune. However, the driving rhythm on this track allows those who can’t dance to jump up and down a lot!

Tune 2:

A slightly off the wall selection this – but a tune that we’ve really made our own and has been going down a storm right from the early days of Pure Genius. You’re unlikely to hear another party band play ‘You Can Call Me Al’ by Paul Simon!

Tune 1:

We only recently added this one to our set. It is a unanimous winner in our quest to find the greatest party band music of all time. I thought I’d seen it all at the various wedding and functions we’ve played until we rolled out this monster of a tune. Wave your arms in the air, sway from side to side and sing with me… ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen wears the crown for the craziest top party tune ever created. If you don’t believe me, come and check us out ‘floating around in ecstasy’ at a gig near you soon!

Top 5 "First Dance" Songs

Here’s the shortlist of the most popular first dance songs for weddings. Sometimes the first dance is a classic love song, but also quite often the choice will be quite unusual. So let’s have a look at our top first dance songs;

5. Bryan Adams – Heaven

OK, well love him or hate him, our favourite Canadian pizza-faced crooner has a habit of churning out romantic ditties more frequently than B&Q has had a sale on. The original version is really quite heavy and a slightly off-the-wall choice, but always seems to go well at weddings. We’ve had this one requested a couple of times and have been glad to oblige, so into the list it goes.

4. Shania Twain – You’re Still the One

‘More Canadians!’ I hear you cry. Well here you go – this pseudo-country songstress knocked out one of the most sentimental tunes of all time with ‘You’re Still the One’ in 1997. Personally I’d rather listen to the sound of Art Garfunkel gnawing my toes off but hey, each to their own! Due to a lack of female talent in Pure Genius, we’ve had to resort to the CD player for this one.

3. Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get it On

Some might consider this proposition a little forward for a wedding reception band to play, but why waste time I say! Cooler than a penguin wearing shades and smoother than a baby’s rear end, our Marvin produced this classic in 1973 and has been the soundtrack to many a hanky-panky session since.

2. Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight

Old ‘Slow Hand’ slips his digits deep into the soul of many a wedding couple. This drawn out effort that has had many a guitar teacher tearing his hair out over the years. An instantly recognisable riff eventually beats the listener into submission and in the end the question ‘Do you feel alright’? feels like it should be met with this response. ‘If I make it to the end of this song I’m going to start going to church’. Call me cynical, I don’t care!

1. Al Green – Let’s Stay Together

We’ve been asked for this one way more than any other wedding receptionsong. It’s cool and groovy and we have come to know this one inside out. The one and only undisputed king of first dances, the good Reverend. Top of the list of top first dance songs.

How to choose a live party band

Here’s a few ideas of what to look for when considering how to hire a live party band. It is often a big commitment in terms of the success of your function. Also financially so it is important that you make the right choice. Here are three top tips;

1. Go and check out a gig

Absolutely the best way to see what a band are really like. Demo CD’s are OK, but they can be produced and polished in a studio, or even played by different musicians! When at the gig, look for a party band who enjoy themselves on stage and are confident. If they don’t know the material they’ll be concentrating hard and will have their heads down. Bear in mind though that in a pub or other public venue they may be trying out new stuff, so there may be the odd bum note!

2. Ask if the function band can do a first dance / special request

This will show you two things; 1. Whether the band are committed to giving you what you and your guests want.  2. Whether or not the band have the experience / ability to ‘pull one out of the bag’ at short notice. This kind of spontaneity can really add something special to proceedings, particularly at weddings.

3. Find out who is in the band

Not so obvious this one, but there are function bands out there who have many different members who rotate according to availability. In our experience this makes for lifeless performances from groups of musicians who don’t know each other inside out musically. Look to hire a live party band who play together week-in week-out and you’re more likely to feel energy and excitement in their music.

Or of course, if you’re going to hire a live party band you could save yourself the trouble and hire Pure Genius, probably the best live party band in the known universe!