Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Tribute Bands, Wedding Bands and Pub Bands... all the same?

I thought today I'd vocalise my opinion on the differences between tribute bands, wedding bands and pub bands. Because, whilst they may appear the same on the surface (they all perform music by other musicians and bands right?) there are actually some pretty significant differences.

First off, lets get the easy one out of the way.... tribute bands. OK, these are very distinguishable from wedding bands and pub bands because they perform music from a specific artist or band. In it's simplest terms, if you you go to see a Metallica tribute band they will perform Metallica. Chances are they won't perform songs by Kings of Leon or The Killers... unless Metallica do this themselves. In the tribute band genre there are different levels of commitment to the cause. For example, some bands will be a Beatles tribute band and perform all the Beatles classics, but, they will not adopt the suits, wigs and follow the equipment inventory to the letter. However, those who really want to build a show from performing the songs will adopt this approach and make sure a mop-top isn't out of place and that the John Lennon lookalike isn't 25 stone overweight. In addition to the aesthetic, a good tribute band will also actually sound like the band they are paying homage to. They will in essence do everything they can to actually perform, look and sound as close to the originator as possible.

Tribute bands are one dimensional in approach, whereas Wedding Bands and Pub Bands are not. They have the freedom to be able to play a lot more when it comes to choice of musicians and bands. But, whilst they may seem to be very similar in approach there are actually many subtle differences between pub bands and wedding bands.

With wedding bands you are performing at weddings... obvious right :) But, what this actually means is that you are performing to people who do not usually spend their Saturday evening together. For example, Aunty Flo won't be out with little James (aged 8) and not forgetting Nana and the bride and groom themselves. A pretty varied mix right.... all those ages to cater to. In order to cater for this a good wedding band will normally make sure that they have a songlist that caters for everyone. This can be done by having a wide ranging choice of songs from the 1950/60s to present chart hits. The Beatles are always popular across the board, as are modern classics such as Sex on Fire or Mr Brightside. Songs that everyone knows and will get them on the dance floor are the perfect choice for wedding bands - anthems, singalongs, up-tempo... easy :)

The other thing with wedding bands is that they tend to be a lot smarter dress code wise. They are playing at somebodies wedding after all and be getting aid. They will appear on photos, be almost representing the feel of the day from the bride and groom's perspective and more than likely be earning a reputation where they will be re-booked by guests - so, the last thing they should be doing is looking like a bunch of tramps.

In contrast to a wedding band, a pub band has a lot more freedom. They can dress much more casually and they can also have a very different kind of set-list to wedding bands. Many pubs do not have dance floors and so it isn't as important to be providing those floor-filling classics, which is why many pub bands will perform tracks by Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Eric Clapton, etc. where the focus is primarily on the musicianship as opposed to the 'getting everyone on their feet' kind of tone.

This isn't too say that pub bands are any less worthy. In fact, most of the wedding bands I know enjoy playing pubs because it gives them the chance to really tighten up their act and also experiment with new material to see how well it goes down with prospective weekend wedding clients.

Pub bands can also afford to be a little more talky with the punters because it isn't about getting people on the dance floor and then keeping them there (like it is with weddings). So, with pub bands you can expect a bit of banter, which again, is great practice for those pub bands that then go onto the wedding scene and teaches them how to deal with the 'odd' drunk guest.

Anyway, hope that clarifies things a bit with regards the differences between Tribute Bands, Wedding Bands and Pub Bands, but if there's anything I've missed please do comment and let me know.

Muchos gracias for reading :)

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