Jess and Phil booked us for the acoustic duo as well as the evening band's package which gave us chance to see the venue in it's full glory! The venue did not disappoint as this was our first time playing here, and we were super excited!
We arrived around 2pm to set up for the drinks reception. We did a quick little soundcheck and because the venue looked so great, we decided to film some of our acoustic songs, which you can see down below. We always leave plenty of contingency time when setting up, so it was nice to use the time productively to get some awesome footage of us playing at the venue!
It was a gloriously hot day in June, and we were very glad when the venue suggested that we play just inside in order to shade ourselves from the heat outside! We started our set as people came through for the drinks reception - some people braved the heat outside the glass doors whilst others were happy to shelter inside and listen to us play!
We always love playing for drinks reception, and Phil and Jess's drinks reception was no exception. We started off easing things in with a jazzy version of Can't Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake. We often try and gauge what might work well for the full band sets later on in the evening, by trying out laid back acoustic style covers of songs we play in our band sets. This way, we know that they'll definitely work later on during our party sets!
The acoustics in the entrance room were great, and we continued our set with some Paolo Nutini, Tom Petty and George Ezra. Some very kind members of staff brought us water while we played and goes to show how awesome the staff are at Old Palace - we felt really looked after!
Usually when we do acoustic sets, we end up having a short break but as we were enjoying the acoustics of the room, we continued straight through. The other great advantage of the acoustic duo is if one of us needs a quick break to drink some water, the other person can play or start a song while they're doing it!
Once the guests were called through for the wedding breakfast, we moved our equipment into the evening reception area. The couple had sorted out some food for us, which the venue kindly provided! It's so nice when we get food included, and especially great when we get awesome vegan options! I can't remember what the exact options were, but what I do remember is we were not disappointed or hungry after!
We setup microphones for the speeches but I believe they didn't get used in the end, which is okay! We're always happy to lend mics whenever we're booked as the duo as it only takes us a second to sort out. We are always happy to provide our free playlist whenever we're not on stage throughout the day, too!
After speeches were sorted, desserts were served and after our other members arrived, it was time for us to setup! Usually we arrive around 6pm for the evening party as this is when is usually the time the room turnaround starts, giving us chance to setup and soundcheck! We always check in with the venue as we don't want them to feel rushed, and we try and ask them to move the tables that might be taking up stage or dancefloor stage first. This means we can load in smoothly, and all being well, we should finish our setup and soundcheck at the same time the venue finishes the room turnaround!
It's worth noting at The Old Palace that due to it's close proximity to residential areas, there are some noise restrictions. This is not a problem for us, as we bring use a high quality electric drumkit in order to reduce the noise levels, which is exactly what we did here! Our folk band is also perfect for venues such as this as it's specially 'built' to accomodate venues like this!
We setup and soundchecked in good time, although sometimes with the electric drumkit soundcheck can take a little longer. This is because it can take us a little while to get the balance of the electric parts of the kit right, as well as the sound for the room. At this particular gig, we ended up using a hybrid kit which worked really well - we used the electric kit for the kick drum, tom toms and snare, and then used acoustic cymbals because the sound from them is a little more natural!
Once soundcheck was out of the way, we got the evening's proceedings underway. We started our playlist whilst a few more evening guests arrived, and we got ready to cut the cake, and play the first dance! Jess and Phil had chosen 'You to Me are Everything' by The Real Thing and it was a super fun song to learn! We love playing first dances and one of the things that's so cool about it is the sheer variety of songs we get to play - it's always a surprise as to what comes up!
Jess and Phil had asked to get guests to join them on the dancefloor to they didn't feel too lonely on the dancefloor. Usually, we ask people to join the couple after the first chorus of the song, but people decided to join them as soon as the chorus kicked in without any prompting! I think this just goes to show how much of a tuneeeee You to Me are Everything is!
With the first dance finished, it was time for some party songs! We kicked things off with Dancing in the Moonlight by Toploader which is always a great song to get all ages on the dancefloor. We also played a few of the songs we played in the acoustic sets as live lounge covers as full songs, and it went down a storm! Sometimes, I think this is subconciously because people have already enjoyed the song earlier on in the day and are ready to hear it again as they know it!
Jess and Phil had awesome party guests who were ready to take to the dancefloor from the moment we started, and they stayed with us all night! It was great to see all ages up and enjoying their favourite songs. We finished up our first set just before the evening's food, which was again outstanding!
We ended up pushing our second set a little later than planned as it was still light when we started playing and a lot of people had taken their food outside to enjoy the warm summer air! Leaving it a little later meant the sun had gone down, bringing everyone back inside to party!
Our final set was filled with our favorite indie bangers and party tunes. As the evening came to a close, we decided to leave it on a high note by finishing with 'Place Your Hands' by Reef. This is a great song as the lyrics really do encourage people to be involved, and we often use this song to introduce our band members and give them a chance to show off a bit of musical talent with solos!
It was an absolute pleasure playing for Jess and Phil and their wonderful guests! Being a Chester based band, it was also great to play The Old Palace for the first time - it's a really stunning venue with awesome staff!