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Thread: Good Gig, Bad Gig.

  1. #5101
    MDD Supporter Nakatomi's Avatar
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    My first all-day wedding & a big (for me) lighting job.. with challenging acoustics...

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    A former psychiatric hospital chapel was the venue.. I took one look at the place & saw it'd be a perfect showcase for uplighting. Thankfully my client agreed with me.

    Not much in the way of prerequests & a very relaxed running order for the reception.

    But before all that I had to load in & set up 'shed loads' of lights... 6 hex par cans & 8 RGBW cans.. hex & quads were all dmx'd wirelessly, with each type on a different address so I could control the 2 groups separately. I pressed my ancient washfx into service too. For the rig itself... 4 gesture spots, 2 pixel bars & 2 big led wash fixtures.. then PA was my trusty pair of rcf hd12a. Fully rigging that lot took 90 minutes leaving me plenty of time to play with uplighting colour tweaks & in place dmx programming.

    The gig itself went very smoothly & it opened my eyes to how different things can be.

    Not bad for a newbie to proper uplighting eh ... Note though that I'd have preferred to aim the pars at more of an angle towards the arched roof apex but tables & chairs at the sides scuppered that.

    Zillions of compliments from client & guests at the end.. in all a very enjoyable gig indeed.

  2. #5102
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    Arrived on Saturday night to find the ceremony still going on at 5.30pm! It transpired that it should have been at 5pm but the groom's father arrived at the hotel only to find he'd forgotton his trousers. No, in his bag, not from on his body! So a quick 30 mile dash back home to fetch them ensured that everything ran late.

    I was lurking around waiting and two men arrived looking sheepish. Turned out they were half of the band that a guest had arranged as a surprise. Not just to the B&G it seemed but also to me and the venue. Hey ho, a 90 minute rest break thought I.

    So, at 5.50, we were allowed access. The loading spot was already taken by 3 cars parked up to do with the golf tournament, so I nicked the next one, just beating the band boys who were unsure where to go.

    I managed to get everything in (the rain had just about stopped) set and ready by 6.50pm. The band were certainly taking their time (I found out later they had planned to arrive at 7.30 - which was speeches time) and didn't seem too bothered. At last they were "ready" and guests were ushered in. The B&G were announced and took their places at the top table. Speeches at 7.30 and food at 7.45. Nope. Speeches started around 7.40 and were still going at 8pm. Food was a barbecue (indoors of course) so was being kept hot in the kitchen. Food announced at 8.05 and the room suddenly tipped to the back as 80 or so people who obviously had been fasting for the last 7 days took off as one!

    Band's original suggestion was to play from 10pm for one, 45 minute slot. They were persuaded to come back to 9pm. As it happened, food was done and dusted by around 8.30 and I was getting twitchy about having to do a 20 minute fit in spot. Fortunately, the chief organiser (bride's mate) was onto this already and "invited" the band to start at 8.45. After making every excuse known to man, they went and got changed and came back, ready for Firsty Dance at 8.45 and them on straight after.

    My they were poor. Each song finished with a silence and there was a gap of at least a minute while they talked amongst themselves. Of course, guests were bored of this and walked off the dancefloor. They werelucky to get 20 on at any one time. The guests were also well oiled already and etting louder by the minute. This should be fun thought I.

    By the time the band finished (early at 10.15), the girls on the dancefloor had been yelling "Spice Girls" between each song (well, they had plenty of time), so it was easy for me as to what to play first. Followed this with a selection of more 90's and away we went.

    I had had no advance notice of any music brief. All I did know was that the band had been told "no 80's" but I quickly debunked that theory when they played Erasure, Human League and Duran Duran, to which the bride lapped it up.

    I continued later with Wham, Madonna, Whitney, Rick and the usual pot.

    An absence of male guests suggested that the ale was flowing from a non hotel bar source outside. This was confirmed later by the discovery of several cans (empty) three JD bottles (empty), four wine bottles (empty) and a bottle of no gin.

    I watched four drinks get spilled on the dancefloor, three of which were still in their glasses when they got to the floor. Cue Thomas with his brush and cloths. Walking bnecame staggering and it culminated at 1130pm with the bride collapsing in a heap on the dancefloor. Gathered up by friends whe was assisted back to the table where she promptly threw up over then table and anyone in range. Yeurgh. Her mother came over and, far from being sympathetic used words that were unfamiliar to a good Catholic boy like myself. Emily arrived with a bucket, but the dmage was done. Hew new husband appeared about 15 minutes later and, how he didn't join in the vomitfest, I don't know. So he tried to carry her out but was quickly persuaded otherwise.

    The escort party then led her away and took her to the bridal suite. Not much chance of consumating the marriage later. Especially as husband left her there with her mother and came back for some more juice.

    We carried on the festivities until 1am, though the last half hour was pretty dull and I resorted to trying to bore them out but I could have played the complete works of Shakespeare set to music and they wouldn't have had a clue. We gave up 10 minutes early, well, how many of them would have known what day it was, let alone the time.

    Bonus time now, the following day was the venue's Wedding Fayre and, unbeknown to be until I got there, they had decided to leave the room set for an evening do, rather than set for a ceremony as previous. That is of course, without the empty bottles, cans, classes and sick.

    So I tidied up and left 15 minutes later and went up to my room (which was arranged to save me the drive home and back).

    Next day, no set up so I had a lie in! A good day meeting prospective clients, at least 3 of which booked in with the venue on the day.

    Pack up was done with the thought of having to load the car in the monsoon conditions which seemed to get worse as the load went on, only for it to abate somewhat when I had finished. Still there was the fun of the M180 to deal with. Cars passing me at 80 to 90mph inthe pouring rain was no joke.

    By the time I reached Doncaster it had stopped raining (typical) and the pre-arranged trip to KFC was invoked. 25 minutes after joining the drive in queue, I was finally rewarded and took tea home for us all. I'd been sat there so long that the fuel light had actualy comeon in the car!

    Couldn't be arsed to unload last night, so if hey had wanted a disco at work lunchtime, I'd have been in a good position!

  3. #5103
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Matthew, you've made my day! Until now, I thought I got the soggy end of the stick gig-wise on Saturday!
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk


  4. #5104
    MDD Supporter Imagine's Avatar
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    Default Erm.....what just happened?

    Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned.....quite badly in fact.

    Tonight was a party I'd been looking forward to for a while. A Ruby wedding anniversary using the Retro setup (because that's what they had back in the day after all).
    It was somewhat marred by recent personal events as paid up members will know and did dent my enthusiasm somewhat (there were a LOT of SMS messages going backwards and forwards to home checking in).

    Back to the gig....the brief was simple. It was a surprise (and it actually STAYED that way for once), so required a bit of coordination of guests, confetti shots and the like. Musically, 70s to 90s "party classics", with Motown added by the couple's daughter when I got there. Other than the happy couple's first dance song (Crystal Gayle Brown Eyes Blue), dad's all time fave (Apache by the Shadows....we used this as they entered) and mum's fave (Hey Girl by the Tams), the playlist was empty.

    No problemo thinks I. I'd been promised a lot of dancing and set about cracking out what I consider to be the party classics as requested. Motown got a warmish response (not unusual these days), 70s hits such as EWF, Barry White and the BeeGees flopped, the 80s wasn't working either. Even the failsafe Queen of Dancing by the Swedish Quartet failed me! It was looking like a long night ahead as rear ends stayed well and truly glued to seats.

    OK, S-Club 7 then. BOOM!
    This was sadly followed by the likes of the Macarena and Saturday night. OK - I can handle this.
    Followed by Dolly, Steps (several of them), More S-Club....can you see where this is going dear reader? See the warning signs.

    And then.....the requests came in aplenty. By classics they actually meant (deep breath), Agadoo, Superman, YMCA, The Cha Cha Slide, The Conga, The Music Man, The Hokey Cokey, The Can Can.....need I go on?

    Each and every time I dropped a new one in (for there's no way of mixing this stuff), the floor was rammed. They lapped up every single ounce of fully-matured cheddar I could throw over the PA.

    Do you know what though? As cringeworthy as it was to be playing those songs, that's what they wanted and it's what made the party. It worked, and worked an absolute treat. Plenty of guests singing their hearts out to Delilah and Sweet Caroline at the allotted end time and a round of applause for yours truly affirmed that I'd done a good job.

    It's not always about the music we like, and it's never about playing the same tried and tested tracks week in, week out.

    Next week, back to weddings. Guess what....the playlist I've been given by the bride actually looks very similar to tonight....eeek!

  5. #5105
    Senior Member Jim - Scotland's Party DJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imagine View Post
    Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned.....quite badly in fact.

    Tonight was a party I'd been looking forward to for a while. A Ruby wedding anniversary using the Retro setup (because that's what they had back in the day after all).
    It was somewhat marred by recent personal events as paid up members will know and did dent my enthusiasm somewhat (there were a LOT of SMS messages going backwards and forwards to home checking in).

    Back to the gig....the brief was simple. It was a surprise (and it actually STAYED that way for once), so required a bit of coordination of guests, confetti shots and the like. Musically, 70s to 90s "party classics", with Motown added by the couple's daughter when I got there. Other than the happy couple's first dance song (Crystal Gayle Brown Eyes Blue), dad's all time fave (Apache by the Shadows....we used this as they entered) and mum's fave (Hey Girl by the Tams), the playlist was empty.

    No problemo thinks I. I'd been promised a lot of dancing and set about cracking out what I consider to be the party classics as requested. Motown got a warmish response (not unusual these days), 70s hits such as EWF, Barry White and the BeeGees flopped, the 80s wasn't working either. Even the failsafe Queen of Dancing by the Swedish Quartet failed me! It was looking like a long night ahead as rear ends stayed well and truly glued to seats.

    OK, S-Club 7 then. BOOM!
    This was sadly followed by the likes of the Macarena and Saturday night. OK - I can handle this.
    Followed by Dolly, Steps (several of them), More S-Club....can you see where this is going dear reader? See the warning signs.

    And then.....the requests came in aplenty. By classics they actually meant (deep breath), Agadoo, Superman, YMCA, The Cha Cha Slide, The Conga, The Music Man, The Hokey Cokey, The Can Can.....need I go on?

    Each and every time I dropped a new one in (for there's no way of mixing this stuff), the floor was rammed. They lapped up every single ounce of fully-matured cheddar I could throw over the PA.

    Do you know what though? As cringeworthy as it was to be playing those songs, that's what they wanted and it's what made the party. It worked, and worked an absolute treat. Plenty of guests singing their hearts out to Delilah and Sweet Caroline at the allotted end time and a round of applause for yours truly affirmed that I'd done a good job.

    It's not always about the music we like, and it's never about playing the same tried and tested tracks week in, week out.

    Next week, back to weddings. Guess what....the playlist I've been given by the bride actually looks very similar to tonight....eeek!
    We need to leave our ego at the door - lets be honest, if you take away all the behind the scenes stuff, we pretty much are just standing around pressing buttons - I couldn't quantify how many bookings I've landed due to the sentence "It's not the DJ Jim show, it's your wedding."


    But I digress.

    Tonights wedding could have been a disaster.

    I turned up really early (glad I did) and started setting up. Tog pops his head round. Turns out I'd worked with him in August at the most druggy wedding I've ever done. I'm pretty liberal with what one does to ones own body but this wasn't a couple of fly joints round the back, this was literally couldn't get into the toilets for folk banging coke and ket like there was no tomorrow.

    He asked me how the night had gone (I'd been doing the whole day and him, myself and the 2 video togs spent most of the day in a heightened state of anxiety about how bad this could actually get) I told him it turned out a great night as they were all off their faces and danced to anything I played.

    He knew the bride personally and then went on to tell me one of the guests stabbed someone on the way home from the venue


    Anyways, he tells me to be on my toes with the bride. I met them a few weeks ago and she was quite rough with her language but I didn't think much of it. She came in and stormed past me.

    Total meltdown over the cake. It was meant to be grey, not white and so on.


    It was really rude but she never even acknowledged I was there for at least an hour. The groom however was great.

    Turns out there'd been all sorts of issues she'd had with the day and she was on one.

    The tog said they'd dragged him into Edinburgh to take photos - they left their guests hanging around for 3 hours to do this!



    Anyway I'm not due to start until 7 but I get music playing at half 6 just to get things going and placate her.

    Cake at 8 and then next to no dancing until the buffet.

    There's nearly no family there. The tog knows the grooms brother too and says they hate each other. He showed me a text from said grooms brother saying "Morning mate, I hope you up each and every one of their pictures today."

    I'm gearing up for a long slog but after the buffet it turns around - pretty much everyone who couldn't actually be arsed being there disappeared - so we were left with the hardcore element and we smashed it through until Midnight.


    Big cheer at the end, bride and groom super happy, video done and sent over, job done.

  6. #5106
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imagine View Post
    Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned.....quite badly in fact.
    I'm confused. Seems to me you followed the Old DJ's Handbook to the letter, with the expected ecstatic response from the guests.

    OK, as you realise, I jest. But only a little. We're a service industry, we give the customers what they want, even if it's not critically acclaimed Ivor Novello award winning material. Simples.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim - Scotland's Party DJ View Post
    We need to leave our ego at the door - lets be honest, if you take away all the behind the scenes stuff, we pretty much are just standing around pressing buttons - I couldn't quantify how many bookings I've landed due to the sentence "It's not the DJ Jim show, it's your wedding."
    Shhhh Jim, don't tell everyone how easy it is, they'll all want to do it! I don't agree entirely with you, yes sometimes we only have to keep shovelling the cheese, like young Wayne did, even a trained chimp could do it.

    BUT:


    It's not always like that. Sometimes, we have to work our little butts off to elicit a response from guests, and may even, shock horror, need to use the microphone, and speak!!! Without our skills, the function would be very flat. If that gives us star billing, so be it. We don't seek it, but it's an occupational hazard.

    OK, my gig. Wayne, I sinned. No cheese.

    60th Birthday, for a lady recovering from cancer. We had a sit down buffet to start, which took up a lot of the time, especially as it was three courses. Then a speech from birthday girl's hubby, and a very touching one from the birthday girl herself. We then had my entire playlist, Stand By Me, dedicated to her hubby ( and friends ) and This Is Me, a song of affirmation. I slipped in a bonus track, from the birthday cake inscription, Tina- Simply The Best. ( Yes, Birthday Girl was called Tina ).

    From there, we had a fairly good dancefloor, mainly due to the " over 21s" and the children in the room ( although some of the children's tracks left a lot to be desired). As the night went on, the " tweenies" woke up, and the last hour was predominantly the younger adults, with corresponding tunes. All in all, a very good night.
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk


  7. #5107
    MDD Supporter Imagine's Avatar
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    By 'eck that was a tough one

    A wedding for a young lady who's 21st I helped celebrate a few years ago. Nice hotel (except the wedding venue part is a bolt on to the rear of the building and more like a village hall). That's once the people at front reception directed me in the right direction (need to go round the back, no you can't come in through the back door, you need to go back to the front of the hotel again, no you need to go down the side of the building )

    Walked into the venue and nearly passed out due to the heat. It was unbearable and the condensation running down the windows made it seem even worse.

    Luckily I was early so started lugging stuff in. Although not overly cold outside, everything instantly ended up with a wet sheen the moment it got into the building. Lucky I've got plenty of time to get setup and let things dry out then.

    Communication for this one was entirely by email, and led to a playlist which would happily cover the entire evening. On paper, it was going to be a good night with a mix of everything from Northern Soul right through to current day with a good smattering of cheese thrown in for good measure (not as bad as last week....but not far off).

    First dance dispatched (by now, my massive floor fan is working overtime) and it's time to crack on with the list. Into the cheese we go to get it out of the way and with a lot of success....full dance floor. This is going to be a good night I said to the photographer who was busy getting the last shots of the day.

    WRONG!

    Once we'd moved from the cheese zone, they all went and sat down and stayed pretty much glued to their seats with only a handful up at a time to what should have been a full floor all night.

    During a crafty cigarette break I got talking to a couple of the guests. The reason they weren't dancing is because where THEY were sitting, it was still super-heated. I'd got the benefit of a big fan and wasn't feeling the heat. Aha....we're never going to win this particular battle then.

    Eventually, guests started to dwindle and my hopes of a full floor went with them....until the last 15 minutes where I went back into the 80s (completely off-list but hey ho). The remaining 20 or so kept the floor bouncing until we ended with the bride's last song of the night (Brightside) 30 seconds before my allotted end time (no need for a dummy finish on this one ).

    Despite the lack of dancing, I got a round of applause, much thanks and many handshakes for my efforts. It seems I did a good job but when you've then got to load out in the pouring rain (and unload the van in even heavier rain at the other end), you can't help but feel that it should have gone so much better.

    Next week....a completely playlisted late booking wedding with no requests allowed, a minimal rig and no mic work unless absolutely essential. One gets the feeling this chap's seen the less desirable side of our ilk in the past and wants full control. Challenge accepted

  8. #5108
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imagine View Post
    but when you've then got to load out in the pouring rain (and unload the van in even heavier rain at the other end), you can't help but feel that it should have gone so much better.
    Don't you know it never rains on the Righteous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Imagine View Post
    Next week....a completely playlisted late booking wedding with no requests allowed, a minimal rig and no mic work unless absolutely essential. One gets the feeling this chap's seen the less desirable side of our ilk in the past and wants full control. Challenge accepted
    No challenge whatsoever. Follow the instructions, take the money, job done. Simples.


    Regular readers may detect a note of jaundiced resignation to that post, overshadowing the usual jauntiness and irreverence. Last night''s gig may have contributed to this feeling. Diary filler, covering for someone, a 13th birthday, with added karaoke. Whoopee!

    First of all, immense thanks to Davesounds, who acted as native guide, tech ops, and anything else required. The man's a star. What to say about the gig? Too long ( four hours), too lax ( zero ) supervision, and too little interest from all concerned. We did all that was asked of us, and a bit more, but to little avail. Smile and take the money, move on to the next one.
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk


  9. #5109
    MDD Supporter Imagine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Excalibur View Post
    No challenge whatsoever. Follow the instructions, take the money, job done. Simples.

    Hmmmmm....not one of my better gigs if I'm honest.
    Absolutely LOVELY venue in the middle of the countryside (it's actually a custom built wooden barn specifically for weddings) and is gorgeous. Arrived at the allotted time to find out we're running an hour late....ho hum, plenty of waiting around in the car park then.

    Eventually in (there's a load more calories gone as the Rock 'n' Roller wasn't going up the half a dozen steps into the venue), and set up in good time for the 8pm first dance.....which actually happened at 8:30.

    I'd not spoken to or met the couple before the day (everything was done by email and it was all very last minute....as in the booking came in three weeks ago). Speaking to the videographer (one of the only other external suppliers as the rest of the day had been done by friends and family), I was actually booked before he was.

    I may be wrong, but I get the impression they'd seen the less desirable operators in our chosen career in the past
    * Fully specified playlist
    * Minimal lighting required, certainly nothing brash and shouty
    * No mic work allowed
    * Guest requests to be approved by the B&G
    * A long list of do not plays including The Conga, The Cha Cha Slide, Agadoo.....

    Game on then

    On paper, the playlist should have worked. 6 hours of music to shoe-horn into 3 hours, and to be fair, a lot of what I'd probably have played anyway. But, it sadly didn't (or not in my eyes anyway).

    The venue as nice as it is, is one of those with a heated marquee on the side of it. I'm in the main barn with a sparse dance floor, and everyone else is in the marquee

    The allotted 11:30 end time seemed to take an age to come around with only a handful of guests left who to be fair, did all partake of the final couple of tracks of the evening. Surprisingly, I did exactly the job the B&G wanted....hugs, handshakes and thanks were aplenty

    So, being a minimal rig, I was out in under 20 minutes from the end of the last song, in the van and toddling home down the country roads.

    It's disappointing when it goes like that. I know that given free rein, I could have done a little bit better (possibly....they didn't appear to be a dancy crowd). The customer was happy though, I was paid well before I got there, and I did what was required (but my God my mic hand was twitchy all night!)

    Just a massive fundraiser charideee Halloween kids party to go next Sunday (100+ kids normally....eeek!), and then it's time for a rest for several weeks (until the end of November actually). A few weeks ago, I was worried that November was dead. Seeing how Liz seems to now be prone to having seizures for an as yet unknown reason....I'm actually glad to not be going anywhere for a while until we get things sorted out.

    Right....time for wine

  10. #5110
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imagine View Post
    I was paid well before I got there, and I did what was required (but my God my mic hand was twitchy all night!)
    Never mind rigid playlists, that alone is cast iron grounds to refuse the gig!!


    ( And for our newer readers unaccustomed to what passes for humour on here, I may not have been wholly serious with that comment. ) There's mute silence, there's apposite and relevant mic work, and there's verbal diarrhoea. Somewhere along that scale there's a level fit for the occasion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Imagine View Post

    I may be wrong, but I get the impression they'd seen the less desirable operators in our chosen career in the past
    * Fully specified playlist
    * Minimal lighting required, certainly nothing brash and shouty
    * No mic work allowed
    * Guest requests to be approved by the B&G
    * A long list of do not plays including The Conga, The Cha Cha Slide, Agadoo.....

    Game on then
    Snap. Nearly. 50th Birthday, courtesy of Google. Isn't modern technology wonderful? The fact that I'm local didn't hurt either. I got a full, timed ( Early, Supper, Dancing ) list, which like Wayne's looked good on paper. Unlike Wayne's, mine worked. I'd have swapped some of the ones is section three with some in section one, but it was workable.

    We had a 20's glamour theme, and my, but the guests had taken it on board. Fabulous flapper costumes, Natty suits, braces, spats and hats bounded, it was brilliant to see. Dancing had broken out in section one, and supper put a big crimp in it. Considering it was all burgers/fish-chips-peas in a tub, and other hand food, it took forever to happen, and guests were eating it faster than it was coming out. Very awkward indeed, and not helpful. A trick was missed when we had speeches after it, and they didn't cut the cake at this point, even though I'd played Happy Birthday to get that out of the way. Ten minute later, when I've got the floor rammed, birthday girl comes up sheepishly, and says we need to cut the cake. Duh!

    No matter, we cut the cake, and got back to the dancing. My playlist was working, and with guest requests, the floor never emptied the rest of the night. ( Although we didn't seem to have the Rock Chicks in, as Sweet Child O'mine and Can't Get Enough bombed, although Arctic Monkeys rammed the floor. Curious. ) We finished with New York, as stipulated, all in all, a great night.
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk


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