High Demand For Bland

High Demand For Bland

High Demand For Bland
Grey garage, grey gravel, grey fence, grey car.

Something that fascinates me is the high demand for things that are bland. With so many options available to us, we still seem to gravitate towards the dull and the boring. The demand for blandness seems to have reached a new high.

Car Colour

I don’t understand the preoccupation people have for owning black cars. Firstly, we live in a country with intense sunlight. Black absorbs heat. Therefore, a black car will get hotter than other cars. To choose a car colour that maximises the impact of the harsh Australian sun makes little sense. Secondly, black is the same colour as most roads. This impedes visibility, making it more likely for another driver to pull out on you, increasing your risk of being in an accident. Thirdly, black is the same colour as most hire cars. If you are being driven by a hire car driver, then there is a certain amount of prestige that accompanies this. Unfortunately,most people with black cars don’t have drivers. They have to do the driving themselves.

The popularity of grey as a choice in car colour also puzzles me. If there is any one “most boring” colour, it would have to be grey. Think of how miserable just one week of grey, gloomy, wet weather is. We can’t wait for the vibrant blue skies to return. Strangely, we choose to drive around in grey cars. In an attempt to make grey interesting, we substitute words such as “charcoal” or “silver”. We may as well use descriptive words such as “mud”, “dirt” or “drab”.

Probably the most common car colour is white. Plain-ol’-white. Can’t-go-wrong white. Nothing-interesting white. Never-fade white. It’s the same colour as an artist’s canvas before he or she starts to work on the painting.

I was taught that black, white and grey aren’t colours. They are shades. This means that most of us choose to drive colourless cars. We seem to have a fondness for the plain,dull and uninteresting. Does this cross over into the rest our lives? Are most of us leading plain, dull and colourless lives?

Our Preference For Bland Music

I love drinking un-homogenised milk. The cream is at the top. If you want it mixed up, you have to shake the bottle. The milk tastes better. It is less processed. Yet, it is difficult to buy. The majority of people seem to prefer homogensed milk.

A broad definition of the word homogenise is, “to make it all the same”. With milk, this means to make the cream and the rest of the milk all the same. This is done by reducing the size of the fat globules. 

In our current society, there seems to be a propensity “to make it all the same”, from cars to clothes to music. And, just as I am puzzled by people choosing grey cars, I am equally perplexed by people choosing to listen to “grey” music. Music can be so exciting, yet dull music has an overwhelming popularity.

The Popularity Of Bland Music

Walk into most establishments either serving food or selling clothes and you’ll hear the same computer generated drum loop. It’s the same drum loop you hear when someone drives past in a car with their stereo blaring. It’s the same loop that you hear when you sit next to someone on a train and their headphones are so loud that they spill into the carriage. So boring yet so popular. People love bland.

Walk into a bar or pub that advertises “live music”. You know in advance what you are going to hear get because everything is the same. There will usually be a guy dressed down in grubby clothes playing the guitar. He will most likely be using some kind of loop pedal to set up some kind of repetitive beat before each song. He’ll be sitting on a stool and he’ll have an ipad attached to his microphone stand. There will be nothing unique about what he does and no one will be listening to him. He’s employed to be wall-paper and be part of the generic vibe. If it’s not bland and meaningless you know you won’t see him back next week.

Let’s Put Colour Back Into Our Lives

We don’t have to lead grey lives. We are surrounded by vibrant colours. It’s simply a matter of choosing colour over grey. Think back to the 70’s. Clothes were colourful. Music was colourful. People’s lives were colourful. We also had a more even distribution of wealth across the world. 

What’s your preference?

Which do you prefer? This…


…or this?





Global Warming Assists With Wedding Planning In Sydney

Wedding band sydney

Global Warming Assists Wedding Planning In Sydney

Despite what governments try and tell us, it’s difficult to challenge global warming being a genuine issue facing the world. We’ve just had our hottest April on record. This follows the hottest March on record. Meanwhile, glaciers in arctic areas continue to melt away. It sounds daunting, but there is an upside. It’s great news for people planning weddings. Here’s why.

The Competitiveness Of Wedding Planning

Wedding planning is a competitive affair. Many people have the same ideas as to when they want to get married. The most popular season is Spring, followed by Autumn. To put you in perspective, my Saturday nights in October and March usually book out 12 months in advance, so if you don’t get in early for these months, you miss out.

Why Are Spring and Autumn So Popular?

Spring and Autumn are always the most popular months because they are perceived as being neither too hot nor cold. The aspect of weddings that creates this demand is the clothing typically chosen to be worn by the bride and groom. Brides commonly choose to wear shoulder-less or backless gowns which are better suited for warmer months.  In contrast, men customarily wear suits which are more conducive to the cooler months. The simple and common compromise is to pick spring or autumn, when temperatures are moderate.

Winter Is The Wedding Off-Season

Wedding bookings drop off markedly in winter. If you are planning a Saturday night wedding and want to get the venue you want, the photographer you want, the celebrant you want, the florist  and the band you want, then winter is the time of year to easily do this. Typically, winter is overlooked as being too cold for brides, but global warming opens up a whole new opportunity.

Winter Is The New Spring/Autumn

Forward thinking brides and grooms will recognise the new opportunity granted to them by the phenomenon of global warming. Anyone planning a Sydney wedding can bypass the dog-eat-dog of vying for the same wedding venue and suppliers by simply electing to get married in the newly created, lovely warm winter months.
Global Warming Assists Wedding Planning In Sydney
Winter Is The New Spring

Sydney Wedding Bands

Wedding band, live band - Slide McBride - Sydney, New South Wales

Sydney Wedding Bands

Get out your phone, tablet or computer, go to Google and search for “Sydney Wedding Bands”. The result will show page upon page of bands spruiking themselves as being “Sydney’s Premier Wedding Band”. The impression it gives is that every musician and singer wants to play in a wedding band, yet it wasn’t that long ago that bands were embarrassed to categorise themselves as a “wedding band”.

Musicians used to view playing in a wedding band as a sign of failure. A classic thing you would hear musicians say was, “Yeah, I’m just playing a few weddings until my original project takes off”. The focus and ambition used to be to play the music you believed in and thought would make you famous. Nowadays, the ambition seems to be playing cover versions of Ed Sherin and Justin Beiber songs, along with a few classic disco songs from the 70’s.

What Happened To The Dream?

The dream used to be sex and drugs and rock and roll. What happened? Now the dream seems to be white dresses, reception venues and wedding cake.

The dream used to be touring the world and smashing up hotel rooms. Now the dream seems to be keeping the wedding planner happy, getting some free drinks and hopefully a bread roll with your ‘crew meal’.

The dream used to be getting laid by one or more groupies after the gig. Now the dream seems to be exchanging business cards with the photographer, catching up with some musicians you haven’t worked with in a while and maybe getting some of the left over flowers to take home to your wife or girlfriend.

My Personal Wedding Story

Being born with the surname “McBride”, it seems like it’s  always been my destiny to play at weddings. I don’t know anyone who has played more weddings than I have. Over the years I’ve seen many changes to what is a typical wedding reception. I’ve also seen venues come and go, photography change from analog to digital and photobooths become a “must have” addition to the night. I’ve seen many changes, but I never anticipated how competitive it would become to get couples to hire you to play at their wedding.

The Wedding “Industry”

About fifteen years ago, I first started seeing the term “wedding industry”. I’ve never been fond of the term, but the harsh reality is that the business of weddings is seen as a recession-proof cash-cow. Young couples are happy to blow tens of thousands of dollars on one day. Wedding industry suppliers are all vying for a piece of this.

Wedding Planning By “Google”

Meanwhile, the inexperienced young couples open up their phone or laptop and put their wedding planning in the hands of Google. Whichever businesses have the biggest budget to spend on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will appear on Google’s ‘page one’ and will be front runners for a booking. It’s a sign of the times that Google has such a strong influence on weddings. Consider that I’ve heard hundreds of wedding speeches, and what is very common is hearing, “I wasn’t sure what I should say in my speech, so I went to Google…”. I wouldn’t be surprise if young couples are consulting with Google about consummating their wedding.

The New Dream

The old dream used to be having a top 10 hit with an accompanying video clip.  The new dream is about making page one on Google for the search term “Sydney Wedding Band”. My song writing has been replaced by working on and optimising my website.

Yes, I’ve only gotten better at making weddings totally memorable with my band, but without the credibility of Google I have no apparent value.

Photo courtesy of Milton Gan Photography - http://miltongan.com/
Photo courtesy of Milton Gan Photography – http://miltongan.com/


Live Band Performance Tips – Competing With Mobile Phones

Live Band Performance Tips –

How To Compete With Mobile Phones

A couple of months ago I went to see Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece, “Hateful Eight”. Tarantino’s film is a conceptual experience designed to give the movie-goer an experience similar to seeing a film at the cinema in the late 50’s/early 60’s. Two notable parts of the experience were (i) that the film was in two parts (with an interval in between), and (ii) there was a musical overture prior to each of these two sections.

The Experience

I had my “cinematic experience” at the Hayden Orpheum in Cremorne. Another notable part of the experience was that there was no advertising or film trailers prior to “Hateful Eight”. Instead, a massive organ came up out of the floor and we were entertained by the masterful musician, Neil Jensen, a true maestro of the organ.

For those who don’t know much about organ playing, the amazing thing is that an organist uses four limbs simultaneously, that is two hands and two feet. The left foot is playing the bass lines. The right foot is controlling volume swells. The left hand is playing chords. The right hand is playing melodies. On top of this, hands are darting up and making changes to instrument and sound selections.

Being a musician, I was mesmerised. This is multi-tasking on steroids! The brain is being split into four parts. It’s like a four musicians coming out of one human brain.

In between being mesmerised by the organist’s performance, I looked around the cinema to see if people were as in awe as I was. I was shocked and dismayed to see that approximately half the cinema’s patrons had their phones out and were (I guess) either texting, checking emails or were on Facebook.

The Message

This brought home a very clear message to me. If you are giving a musical performance, you can’t afford to be static. The number one aim must be to be engaging. Also, sitting down during one’s performance is something to avoided at all costs. Something I am wtnessing more and more of is younger singers not only performing seated, but also using an ipad (which has become a replacement for the music stand and song book).  I am appalled. How do you expect to engage an audience sitting down and staring at an ipad? This is simply laziness on behalf of the singer, and shows contempt for the audience. We wouldn’t accept going to the theatre and watching the actors walking around with a script in hand, so don’t bring this lame practice to the band-stand unless you want your audience ignoring you and playing on their phones.

No iphones here – These 2 photographs courtesy of Dean Dampney – CloudFace

Sydney Wedding Band
Photo courtesy of Dean Dampney from CloudFace Photography


Sydney Wedding Band
Photo courtesy of Dean Dampney from CloudFace Photography

These two photographs are courtesy of Dean Dampney from CloudFace Photography

For more details on Dean Dampney and CloudFace, go to http://www.cloudface.com.au


The Death Of Live Bands In Sydney – The Hidden Cause

The Death Of Live Bands In Sydney – The Hidden Cause

The Sydney live music scene is nothing to what it once was. The scene was once vibrant and thriving, but these days the opportunity to see bands performing live has become rare.

Why is this?

Is it because of…

  • Poker machines in pubs?
  • Restrictive licensing laws?
  • Strict laws for the responsible service of alcohol?

While I agree that these 3 factors  have made contributions to the demise of the Sydney live music scene, I will demonstrate in this article that the real reason is  Sydney’s addiction to coffee.

Let’s go back in the Slide McBride Time Machine to the 1980’s, when Sydney’s live music scene was in it’s heyday. Band’s careers were fostered from a consistency of being able to play five nights per week. The Angels, The Divinyls, Mental As Anything, Misex, The Hoodoo Gurus and Midnight Oil were all playing gigs from Tuesday through to Sunday. The Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘gig guide’ would list around 70 bands playing around town at the many venues that offered live entertainment. Original bands, cover bands, jazz bands and even bush bands kept Sydney entertained through these Golden Years of Entertainment.

Sydney’s Coffee Addiction

This is hard for today’s generation to fathom, but coffee used to be a late night/evening drink rather than an early morning pick-me-up. If you went to see a band, movie or show you went out for coffee afterwards, at 11pm. For example, back in my student days, I played in a band every Friday night at the Victoria Hotel, Annandale. Typically, friends would come and see the band and then after the gig we’d all go up to Newtown for coffee. We’d sit around drinking coffee until 1am, then go off home to bed (and to sleep).

Oh, how times have changed…

Nowadays, every morning you see the majority of Sydney supping on their caffeine addiction. It’s become the modern day heart-starter, but good luck if you want to get a coffee after 3pm. The barista will look at you like you are a freak and say, “Sorry, we’ve turned the machine off”.

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Coffee is a stimulant. That’s why we all love drinking it so much. In the morning, everyone’s powering along from that buzz they got from their latte, flat white or long black. Subsequently, when the evening comes we’re all feeling a little tired. The majority of people are fading in the evenings because they’re coming down from their morning coffee high. The consequence of all this is that in the mornings, you may be saying, “let’s go out tonight”, but once  home from work it becomes, “I’m feeling a bit tired and I have to work again tomorrow”.

This is the real cause of the death of the Sydney live music scene.

My band plays at the Woollahra Hotel one Thursday night each month. The band plays from7:30pm until 10:30pm. You could hardly call this a late finish, yet the common thing I hear from people is, “Oh, it’s a bit late for a week night”.

Come on Sydney!

Get the monkey off your back and start living again. Let’s put  pressure on the baristas of this town to keep their espresso machines running into the afternoons and evenings. Use the buzz you get from coffee to energise your social life rather than your working life! No more morning coffees. From now on, only drink coffee AFTER 3pm.

The Death Of Live Bands In Sydney - The Hidden Cause
Long Black To Go


The Grounds, Alexandria – One of Sydney’s Best Wedding Venues

The Grounds, Alexandria

One of Sydney’s Best Wedding Venues

I recently had the pleasure of playing at a wedding at The Grounds of Alexandria. So many times I have driven past this place. Every time I am dumbfounded by the throngs of people streaming in for whatever it is this place has to offer. I was always intrigued by what could be so good about this place.

I did stop by one day for coffee and lunch. The Grounds definitely has a superb ambience, and the actual business ran like a well oiled machine. When a booking came in to play at a wedding reception at The Grounds, I wondered how this venue would translate for this type of celebration.

The wedding ceremony was held on site, although we did not play at this. We were only booked to  played for the reception. This took place in a room called “The Atrium”.

I loved playing in this room. Here are three things that made playing in the Atrium a great experience.

1. Friendly, professional staff who understand the meaning of “hospitality”

We play at many venues around Sydney. Something I frequently encounter is “agency staff”. What I am referring to is casual hospitality staff supplied by agencies. Typically, these are people who may work once or twice a week as wait staff. Usually, these are students or back-packers making a bit of money to get them by. They are frequently tuned-out, look like they don’t really want to be there and rarely smile. In comparison, well established restaurants and reception venues hire full time hospitality professionals. These people have chosen hospitality as a career. They want to be there, and they want patrons to have a great experience. The staff at The Grounds all came across with this verve.

2. The theming is already done for you

Something I see more and more of is the use of theming specialists to prepare rooms/venues for wedding receptions. Usually, they hang a whole lot of stuff from the ceiling and on walls to create a “vibe”.

With the Atrium at The Grounds, this is already done for you. The room already looks amazing. Plants hang from the ceiling and the room has a lovely, rustic vibe. Straight away, you’ve saved between $3,000 – $6,000. One lass job to do, and a considerable expense spared.

3. The room has fantastic acoustics

The old wooden floorboards, and the timber walls gives the room sensational acoustics. Add to this all the hanging plants, it’s as if the room has been designed by an acoustic engineer. Some rooms are tough to play in, but The Atrium was a totally joy to work in.

For more information on The Atrium at The Grounds of Alexandria, please refer to their website –


The Grounds, Alexandria - One of Sydney's Best Wedding Venues
Dom and Susan at The Atrium, The Grounds, Alexandria


Top 5 Tips To Make Sure Your Party Is A Success

Top 5 Tips To Make Sure Your Party Is A Success

Here are my top 5 tips to ensure that your party is successful.

  1. Find the right location
  2. Get the people there
  3. Give them plenty to eat and drink
  4. Avoid long speeches
  5. Provide great entertainment

1. Find The Right Location

There is no right or wrong location when it comes to planning an event or party. It all comes down to what suits your needs. The most important aspect is matching your numbers to the size of your space.

People Create Energy

Energy is an intangible thing, but groups of people definitely emit energy. The most obvious example of this is a large crowd of people at either a concert or a sporting fixture. This group energy often gets described as “the atmosphere” or “the vibe”. It’s unlikely that you’ll have sixty thousand people at your party, but then you won’t be holding your party in a football arena. The important thing is matching your expected numbers to the size of the venue.

Avoid Disjointed Spaces

The best parties are when everybody is all in together. Venues with separate spaces break up the energy flow which can affect the vibe of your party. There is a memorable party scene in the film, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”. The party is being held in an apartment and the guests are packed in like sardines. It’s a perfect example of how the density of people creates atmosphere inducive of a memorable party.

A Room With A View

A venue with a spectacular outlook will make your party visually memorable, however it’s definitely not an essential element. A lounge room in someone’s house can be totally memorable if the next 4 elements are in order.

2. Get The People There

Pitching Is Everything

We live in a competitive world, and this crosses over into getting people along to your party or event. Depending on the time of year, you may be competing with (i) other events/parties (ii) major sporting events, e.g. Bledisloe Cup (iii) people’s family commitments (iv)  conscientiousness regarding work commitments

Saturday Nights

Saturday night is the most common choice as “party night”, but this can add to the difficulties in getting people to show up. Your potential guests may have invitations to one or more other parties on the same night. This is especially a factor to consider in summer months. To counteract this, you’ll need to sell your party as the superior party or event to attend.

You’ll also need to invite your guests well in advance, and keep reminding them of what an amazing party you’ll be having.

Fridays and Sundays

Choosing Friday and Sunday tend to be second and third choices, but choosing either of these days is a strong strategy to avoid competing with potentially a multitude of other parties. Sundays are particularly underrated for parties. The general view is that most people have to work the next day, but realistically if your party runs from 5pm until 10pm this shouldn’t be a deterrent. Besides, if people are that worried about working, how much much fun will they be at your party, anyway?

Ultimately, any day is a great day for a party if you throw a great party!

3. Give Them Plenty To Eat And Drink

My Dad used to say to me (the day after one of his numerous parties), “the sign of a good party is plenty of alcohol left over the next day”. When I first heard him say this I was puzzled, but as I pondered on this pearl of wisdom I realised the truth in it.

Food Upon Arrival

Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach is something to avoid, so I recommend plenty of food available upon arrival. It’s all about giving your guests the opportunity to pace themselves. If your guests get smashed in the first hour things can turn ugly.

On the topic of food, make sure you provide plenty of gluten free options. It’s becoming more  and more common for people to be on restrictive diets. Many people either can’t eat or try to avoid eating bread. Offer options such as sushi or sliced vegetables with dip.

If your guests are well catered for, they won’t want to leave. If they are hungry and sober, they’ll leave quickly.

4. Avoid Long Speeches

The Ultimate Party Killing Story

I once played at a 21st Birthday Party where the father of the girl turning 21 took the microphone and preluded his speech with, “I have 21 pages to get through… one page for each year of my daughter’s life”. His speech lasted for one and a quarter hours, after which everybody left. We then played to an empty room for the rest of the night, (except for the birthday girl and her immediate family).

Well written speeches can be hilarious. Work out what you want to say, and then add some funny bits. Avoid people speaking “off the cuff”. Speakers who are unprepared will ramble. A few drunks will laugh and encourage them, while they proceed will killing the vibe of your party.

If you are having speeches, make three your limit.

5. Provide Great Entertainment

Nothing beats hiring professionals who know what they are doing. If you are hiring professional caterers to feed your guests, then also consider hiring professional entertainers to entertain your guests.

A lot of the time, guests can keep themselves entertained with find people to talk to, or finding someone to talk at. People dread being cornered by a bore. Your guests came to your party to have fun, not to be talked at. Give them an escape… “Yes, that’s really interesting, but I love this song and I really want to dance”!

Great Entertainment Will Make Your Guests Want To Come To Your Next Party Or Event

It’s all about creating a memorable experience for your guests (and yourself). If your guests are having a great time, then you’ll be having a great time.

Examples of entertainment could include;

  • Magician
  • Comedian
  • Surprise singers
  • An engaging and entertaining band
Top 5 Tips To Make Sure Your Party Is A Success
Party time!
Top 5 Tips To Make Sure Your Party Is A Success

And…if you want a ukulele player in Sydney, try – http://www.sugarmanslim.com/

Bridal Dance – Top 10 Song Choices

Bridal Dance –

Slide McBride
Bridal Dance

Top 10 Song Choices

Here is my top 10 list of song choices for the Bridal Dance

  1. At Last (made famous by Etta James)
  2. Love Is In The Air (made famous by John Paul Young)
  3. Let’s Stay Together (made famous by Al Green)
  4. It Had To Be You (made famous by Harry Connick Jnr)
  5. Thinking Out Loud (made famous by Ed Sheeran)
  6. Fly Me To The Moon (made famous by Tony Bennett)
  7. Crazy Little Thing Called Love (made famous by Queen)
  8. Can’t Help Falling In Love  (made famous by Elvis Presley)
  9. Is This Love (made famous by Bob Marley)
  10. Moon River (made famous by Andy Williams)

At Last

“At Last”  is an old jazz standard that was transformed when Etta James belted out her iconic version of this song. When we play it, we give it a similar ‘bluesy’ treatment. It has a strong 12/8 pulse which makes it ideal for slow dancing.

Love Is In The Air 

“Love Is In The Air” is out of the ‘Vander and Young’ songbook and is the archetypal love song. Originally made famous by John Paul Young in the ’70’s, the song made a resurgence after being used in the movie, “Strictly Ballroom”. This is a great choice for a bridal dance if you want something light and fun, but with a strong beat that’s easy to dance to.

Let’s Stay Together

“Let’s Stay Together” is a song that never seems to lose popularity as a choice for the bridal dance. It’s a sophisticated soul classic, made famous by Al Green in 1972. It was brought to the attention of a new generation by it’s inclusion in the movie, “Pulp Fiction”. We play a similar version to  Al Green, utilising the same arrangement and brass line.

It Had To Be You

“It Had To Be You” is a very old song dating back to the 1920’s. Harry Connick Jnr gave it a new lease of life when it was included in the romantic comedy blockbuster, “When Harry Met Sally”. This is a timeless classic, regardless of who performs it. The vocals are cool and relaxed to sing, and the melody sits beautifully on the trombone.

Thinking Out Loud

“Thinking Out Loud” is a relatively recent song recorded by the young musical genius, Ed Sheeran. Harmonically simple, the phrasing of the lyrics is what really makes this such a sensational song. It sounds great with the full band, but also works very well with solo ukulele and vocals. If you are looking for something a bit more contemporary, but also something that’s slower and romantic, this song is a superb choice.

Fly Me To The Moon

Some songs just never age, and “Fly Me To The Moon” is truly a timeless classic. I’ll always remember watching Tony Bennett belt this one out unaccompanied and without a microphone in concert in Sydney. Frank Sinatra also did a quintessential version of this song. If your dance style is a swinging foxtrot, this will suit you perfectly.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

This song was a sensation when released by Queen in the early 1980’s. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” has been recorded more recently by Michael Buble, who added his swinging, crooning style to the song. The song essentially has a swing feel to it, which can either translate into 1950’s rock’n’roll or else something a bit more ‘jazzy’. Our treatment is the same arrangement as the original Queen version. If you have been learning to jive, this will suit your purposes perfectly.

Can’t Help Falling In Love

“Can’t Help Falling In Love” was originally recorded by Elvis Presley but was given a revamp in the early ’90’s by UB40 with their ska/reggae version. The song actually works well in a variety of styles, whether that be 12/8 (like the original Elvis version), reggae (like the UB40 version) or even with a laid back funk groove. We play the song in all the above mentioned styles depending on the mood, or the taste of the bride and groom.

Is This Love

“Is This Love” is another timeless classic, but this time from the 1970’s. This exemplary love song was originally recorded by Bob Marley and the Wailers and is iconic to this band and to reggae music. The traditional reggae ‘skank’ (i.e. strong accents on the second and fourth beat of each bar) makes this song particularly easy to dance to.

Moon River

“Moon River” is from the pen of Henry Mancini and was written for the film, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” which established Audrey Hepburn as a superstar actress. The song is actually in 3/4 and is what is described as a ‘jazz waltz’. The ‘bridal dance’ was originally called, the’ bridal waltz’ and was done to a ‘jazz waltz’. If you are into tradition and would like to do a ‘proper bridal waltz’, then you can’t go past this song. The tempo, phrasing and lyrics all make it perfect for this purpose.

Just Off My Top 10 Songs For The Bridal Dance

These songs just missed my “top 10” list;

  • Way You Look Tonight (made famous by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Michael Buble)
  • Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (made famous by Frankie Valli and Andy Williams)
  • Everything (made famous by Michael Buble)
  • How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You (made famous by James Taylor)
  • Save The Last Dance For Me (made famous by Dean Martin and Michael Buble)
  • Unforgettable (made famous by Nat ‘King’ Cole)
  • Sway (made famous by Dean Martin and Michael Buble)
  • Better Together (made famous by Jack Johnson)
  • All of Me (made famous by John Legend)
  • Perfect (new song from Ed Sheeran)

Slide McBride performing “At Last”

What Is The Meaning Of Life ?

Slide McBride at Sergeants Mess

What Is The Meaning Of Life ?

This age old question has haunted humans since the dawn of time. Many have made conclusions. Here’s mine.

The meaning of life is…

To serve others.

Here’s why.

I have been a singer and musician for longer than I care to admit. I have seriously played a lot of gigs. I calculate that I’ve performed at easily over two thousand functions. A large proportion of these have been weddings, but also in the mix are Balls, birthday parties, corporate events, Christmas Parties, house parties, and even a hand-full of Bar Mitzvahs.

The older and wiser I become, the clearer the picture becomes. The more I focus on serving the people who have hired the band, the more fulfilled I am at the end of the event. When the room is buzzing and the dance floor is packed, people are happy and my ambitions have been realised.

“It’s not about me, it’s all about them”.

This sounds like a cliche, but from my experience this resonates with more and more truth. These days, my goal is to serve with humility. From what I’ve seen and read of successful people, this objective appears to be universal.

My repertoire of songs is enormous and the band covers so many different musical styles. It is common for me to be asked, “but, what do you like playing the most”? My answer is always, “whatever the people want to hear”.

After playing at an event, I frequently hear the comment, “you guys just never stopped”! The way I look at it, we are only there at that function for five or six hours, therefore sitting around taking band-breaks defeats the purpose of us being there. The client has been planning their celebration for months. It would be contemptuous of the band if we did not give 110% to creating the most memorable night possible.

Other successful people seem to endorse my view about the meaning of life being about serving others. Take for example the richest man in the world, Bill Gates. According to an article, “The 50 Most Generous Americans” from the magazine Business Week, as of 2007 Bill and Melinda Gates were the second-most generous philanthropists in America, having given over US$28 billion to charity. This would indicate that despite having more money than anyone, giving it away is more fulfilling than keeping it. Helping and serving others creates contentment.

On a simpler level, anyone who has ever prepared a meal for others will know that it’s difficult to find anything more satisfying than sitting at a table with people who are close and dear to you and enjoying a meal together that you have cooked. The joy comes from the giving.

So…what is the meaning of life ?

To serve others

What is the meaning of life ?
Slide McBride at Gunners Barracks


The band – ready to serve



Why Hire A Live Band For Wedding ?

Why Hire A Live Band For Wedding ?

This week I took a band booking for a wedding next March. The bride-to-be was the person who called and booked us.

This is a second-time wedding for this bride-to-be, which means she has already experienced the joys and woes of wedding planning. One of the regrets from her previous wedding (besides marrying the wrong guy) was that she didn’t hire a live band, but rather went with a DJ.

The following quote is taken from the Australian Wedding Blog, mamamia.com.au

To read the full article, please follow this link – http://www.mamamia.com.au/lifestyle/wedding-regrets/

 Considering organisation isn’t one of my strongest skills, I only have one wedding regret. The music. We had a beautiful string quartet playing something beautiful that I can’t recall right now, during the ceremony but our reception music was truly awful.

Mistake number one: We choose a wedding DJ. Mistake number two: We thought he got the memo about our mix of old and new classic dance hits without the cheese. He didn’t.

The dance floor was drained faster than the raspberry cocktails we served once he started down his cheesy 80s medley rabbit hole. He couldn’t be stopped. No matter how many song suggestions my family and friends came up with, he just kept on playing his Worst of the 80s/90s remix.

A band was about three times as much money, but if I could do it all over again, I would definitely ditch the DJ and go for a band. And give them a set list.

Another (happier) story also comes to mind.

A couple of years ago, we played at a wedding at Gunners Barracks on a Monday night. Monday night weddings are unusual, so I quizzed the groom on why?

The bride and groom were both from Melbourne. They wanted a destination wedding. Initially, they researched getting married in Bali and Fiji, but they decided that it was too much to ask of their family and friends. So they thought, “what about a destination wedding in Sydney”!

For Melbournians, Melbourne Cup Day is a public holiday. Therefore, if they had their wedding on the day before the Melbourne Cup, all their wedding guests could fly up to Sydney on Friday or Saturday, have a four-day weekend and only have to take one day off work. Great planning!

Another part of their planning was that the groom researched “post-wedding regrets” on as many wedding blogs as he could. He discovered that the common post-wedding regret (particularly with grooms) was that they had opted for a DJ ahead of hiring a band. He therefore made hiring the best wedding band available his number two priority (second to hiring the best venue).

The result…

Awesome wedding!

Post Script…

I should re-locate the band to Melbourne, because Melbourne people appreciate what we do so much more than Sydney folk. We LOVE playing for Melbournians!

Why Hire A Live Band For Wedding
No Regrets