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North West Function And Wedding Band

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North West Function And Wedding Band

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can we watch you before booking?

Obviously we wouldn’t expect you to book us blindly. Whilst we have added videos HERE in addition to the usual audio tracks that Function Band add, we also try to keep our diary full between Functions by playing pub gigs, so you should have an opportunity to come see us before you commit.

In addition to this, we have auditioned for couples and Venues in the past and are more than willing to do this if you are having difficulty getting to one of our pub gigs (this would involve us bringing our equipment and setting up in your chosen Venue, so the only issue would be distance, but we would endeavour to work something out).

If you are a Venue, feel free to invite potential clients to this audition.

What Are Your Set Lengths?

From experience, we typically find that in most situations the sets we play consist of either :-

- 2no. 45 minute sets.

- 1 x 35 minute set, 1 hour set.

These are obviously approximate times (encores etc...), but we aim to fit the most into the time we play, and depending on the situation, usually a shorter 1st set serves as a way to warm up the audience ready for the big 2nd set!

This is not a cop out, but after years of gigging we know it is VERY rare that during the first set the people get rocking, be it a Wedding or a pub gig. Normally, during the 1st set the audience is appreciative and you have the occasional dance-floor hound s that are straight up, but after a buffet and/ or a, dare we say, a few more beverages, the party REALLY get going!

If you have any other set requirements, then please let us know and we can play out set accordingly (we basically plan our sets as if we were playing Wembley Stadium, and if it is your Wedding, it is as important to you as that would be to us).

Do you play outside of the North West?

Travel within Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside is always included. We welcome requests to play Functions / Wedding from anywhere in the UK, and if you are interested, although there may be additional costs associated with travel, these are reasonable and not for additional profit.We play because we love to do it.

Do you need a deposit and what if I need to cancel?

We would typically look for a 20% deposit, with the balance payable at any point up to the night of the performance. If it a Wedding, then you have enough to deal with on the day, so normally the Bride or Groom will nominate a member of the Wedding Party to deal with payment. Something to stick on your Wedding checklist?!

Our policy is that from 14 days after confirmation of the booking, the deposit becomes non-refundable, and then within 4 weeks of the performance date, then we would expect the full price to be paid. IF (and it is a big IF!) there are mitigating circumstances, we are willing to discuss the situation (plus, we know where you live!).

obviously if the booking is at short notice, then this policy will not apply, so that will be discussed at the time.

How long does it take you to set up?

Ideally we need 45 minutes to be able to set up the equipment and do a QUICK soundcheck. The more time the better, but when we have a local booking, we will usually make sure we have visited the Venue and assessed how we can set up so if time is tight we can be as efficient as possible. If it is not possible to visit the Venue in advance, we will liaise with the Venue to find out as much about the space we have, discuss our power requirements etc...

One of the benefits of Pretty Vegas as a Function Band is our smaller than average space requirements given what we put out from the speakers. Obviously, the more space the better!

Why Do You Use Backing Tracks?

Well, after years of telling drummers and bass players “no, the song goes like THIS!!”, We realised that life is too short!

Actually, the reason is that there was only one drummer we wanted to work with, but it was not logistically possible for us to play together anymore, so using backing tracks was the only way we could achieve what we wanted to. As we have said though, there are benefits to having us playing in the format we are.

Don’t Backing Tracks Sound A Bit, Well, Rubbish?

It actually took us 18 months of rehearsals using backings before we started gigging, and one of the big reasons it took us so long was that we wanted to make sure we could get the level of quality in terms of sound and performance that we desired.

To create our backings, Ritchie uses either free / commercial MIDI files or programs them himself from scratch to get an initial framework for the tracks which are then tried out at rehearsals to see if we can do something with the tune. That is when the changes are made. Different dynamics here, tempo changes there, more of a cut in on the chorus?? We then work through the track and create the Pretty Vegas version in the same way a full band would, and then we end up with a version that we are happy with.

Once this stage is complete, Ritchie moves the track into his studio, and using Virtual Instruments (samples of individual notes, drum hits etc…) the track is converted from a basic GM Midi track into something that sounds just like a full live backing band. Drums, bass, keys, horns and strings are all added and mixed, but not how an album is typically done, but in a very raw and ‘live’ way, so what comes out of the speakers sounds like a recording of band playing a concert. The drums, bass and horns have a consistent sound as these instruments would rarely change with a normal live band, something that doesn’t happen when different tracks are produced in different studio’s with different equipment. When lots of commercial backing tracks are produced, they sound like a band playing in a studio, or a live room in a studio, but certainly NOT a live band on stage.

When the tracks are mixed, they are mastered in the studio to ensure a consistency in terms of the overall level, from track to track, and then rendered using the ALAC codec, which is the Apple ‘lossless’ format, meaning the sound quality is of an audiophile level. This gives deep and rich bass notes that are typically missing when compressed formats (e.g MP3) are used.

What if the music is too loud / the Venue has a Sound Limiter?

When we set up and soundcheck, we usually check with the Venue or Wedding Coordinator that everything sounds okay (we also check from various points around the room thanks to our wireless systems), but if there is an issue, just let us know. Again, if you have someone that is taking care of payment or other aspects of the Event, speak to them and get them to do it so that you can enjoy your day. If you HAVE nominated someone, make sure the Coordinator knows who they are so we can be introduced and know who we are speaking to if you do have a problem.

Playing Venue with Sound Limiters are not ideal for Function Bands, as they can be set up in a variety of ways that mean certain frequencies will trigger them, and this can vary from Venue to Venue. This can mean that to avoid tripping the system, the music may need to be at such a low volume that the entire experience is ruined and cannot be correct be surgical EQ (different tracks can have different frequencies accentuated).

Many Function Bands will refuse to play Venues that have Sound Limiters and have clauses that they will cancel and still require payment if a Sound Limiter is in place and they were not informed. The reason is that even though surge protectors can be used, the cutoff system employed once the threshold has been reached can still damage equipment costing £1000’s.

Our policy is to talk about the situation and see if it is still possible for us to play with these systems in place. The only way for this to happen is to be informed in advance and for discussion with the Venue, as correctly configured systems will not pose problems for us and in some cases, there are exemptions for these systems at weekends or up until certain times.

Just be aware that systems that will pose a problem for us may cause a problem for a number of other act.

Do you play first dances?

In truth, it depends on the song and if we feel we can do it justice. If it is a deal-breaker, then we would rather you had the Wedding you dreamt of than be disappointed.

We only put songs in our sets that we know we do well, and for the most part, our songs have our own ‘stamp’ on things as opposed to being replications of album tracks (which is the reason Clients book us instead of other Function Bands), so if you want us to play your first dance, let us know the track you want and we will tell you if we make that magical moment even more special.

Still waiting for ‘Creeping Death’ to be someones first dance!

Can I choose your Set List?

You are more than welcome to look at our repertoire, choose your favourites and even make suggestions for songs that are not on the list. We will obviously try to meet your requirements, but we have found that things work best if we are ultimately allowed to design the set for your Event, as we need to ensure a balance, variety and rhythm to the performance.

Our aim when constructing a set it to use the various tempo’s and rhythm’s of the tracks to make the sets have a natural ebb and flow and culmination to a big finale for everyone there.

What do you wear when performing?

Ultimately, we are a rock Band, but a well dressed rock Band, so our attire is usually black shirt and smart black jeans / pants, but can wear suits if you require, although these tend to look dishevelled after a while given the energy we give when we are playing!!!