Best Band To Hire For An Event At Sergeants Mess

Best Band To Hire For An Event At Sergeants Mess, Chowder Bay (Mosman)

One of Sydney’s premium venues for functions and events is Sergeants Mess. Situated at Chowder Bay, Mosman, this venue has incredible views across to Nielsen Park, Vaucluse. The venue is perfectly laid out to maximise these breathtaking views.

The venue can seat up to 250 for dinner, although typically (when we play there) numbers are between 120 and 180. It is a venue we have played at countless times, and one that we never tire of performing at. Acoustically, it’s a great room. The band always sounds good when we play here. The main room is spacious with ample area to hire a band and set a dance floor for a full scaled party.

Pre-dinner drinks are usually partaken in the bar area at the eastern end of the building. For this early part of an event, we typically set up in our “roving acoustic” format. I sing through my old brass megaphone and the band performs without electricity. This part of what we do is quirky and captures the attention of guests as they arrive on site and sip on their first glass of sparkling wine or beer. It sets up the mood for the rest of the event. It’s fun while not being too loud or overbearing. It’s the perfect start for an event at Sergeants Mess.

When hiring a band for Sergeants Mess,  mindful consideration needs to be given to the main dining room’s natural acoustics. Although the flooring is covered with plush carpet, the parallel walls enable sound to carry with ease throughout the whole room. In practical terms, what this means is that it’s important that the music doesn’t get too loud. Sound travels easily at this venue. We know this, and apply this strategy to how loud we play.

When hiring a band to play at Sergeants Mess, there are generally two options for where to place the band, either in the centre or at the western end. From my experience of dozens of performances at Sergeants Mess, I can say with definitude that the central option works best.

If you have any questions about how a band will fit in with an event you are planning to hold at Sergeants Mess, please don’t hesitate in getting in contact with me.

Best Band To Hire For An Event At Sergeants Mess

Sergeants Mess website –


What is the best band to hire for Gunners Barracks, Sydney?

What is the best band to hire for Gunners Barracks?

Gunners Barracks at Georges Heights (Mosman) is one of Sydney’s most spectacular venues for weddings, private parties and corporate events. It’s perched high on the hill with stunning views to the south, across the harbour to Vaucluse and Rose Bay.

It’s been called “Gunners Barracks” due to it’s original function of housing military personnel who maned the guns situated there to defend Sydney. The exceptional view of the harbour meant that they had the best opportunity of hitting their targets, if any enemy ships should attempt to invade. When I first performed there back in the early 1990’s, the Australian Army used it as their Officer’s Mess. I played there  at some private functions for the army and army personnel.

The Federal Government took back the land in the 1990’s and it’s now administered by the Harbour Trust Authority who lease the premises to Grand Pacific Group. A few minor modifications have been done to the building, but it’s historic charm has changed little.

As a venue for a function, I would describe it “quirky” because of the four separate spaces that make up the venue. The dining room is on the small side, and comfortably seats 80 – 90 for dinner. The terrace (or balcony) is large and open with breathtaking panoramic views of Sydney Harbour. This is the major selling point of the venue. Then, on the other side of the dining room is the courtyard which often gets used for ceremonies and for outdoor dancing. Finally, there is a backroom (off the dining room) where bands and DJ’s usually set up to provide music for dancing.

With four unique spaces available, it’s easy for things to become disjointed throughout an event. This has a major bearing on entertainment (should you want your guests to be entertained). Thrown into the mix, the only space available for bands using amplification is the backroom. Bands playing acoustically can set up outdoors, but leasing arrangements with the Harbour Trust means that volume levels have to be closely monitored.

It’s a tricky venue if you are hoping to use live entertainment, but it’s a venue that suits Slide McBride to a tee! I have played at Gunners Barracks 60 – 70 times, and it’s the ideal venue for us.

My band’s unique ability to play both acoustically and amplified sets us apart from other bands. Add to this our ability to adjust and adapt to the different stages of an event along with the different rooms makes us an ideal choice.

  • We can play out on the terrace in our roving acoustic format. Similarly, we can play out in the back courtyard.
  • We can also squeeze in and play in the dining room. We do this acoustically which creates a wonderful atmosphere but never gets too loud or over bearing.
  • We can crank up the music with amplification later on, out in the back room. Sometimes people dance in the courtyard, other times they dance in the room itself, but usually we end up with a combination of both.

To conclude, Gunners Barracks is a quirky venue because of the four unique spaces there. Nevertheless,  if you understand the value of live entertainment that can transform your function from just a dinner into being a special event that your guest will talk about for many years later, then make a priority of booking us for this event. Gunners Barracks is an amazing venue, but doesn’t suit many bands. We are the exception.

dancing on the deck at Gunners Barracks
Dancing on the balcony at Gunners Barracks




Three Things To Have After You Hire a Band

Three Things You Should Have After You Hire A Band

Three Things You Should To Have After You Hire a Band

If you’re stumbled on this article, chances are that you’ve been trolling the internet hoping to find a band to play at any of the following types of events;

  • Wedding
  • Birthday Party
  • Ball
  • Christmas Party
  • Fundraiser
  • Presentation Night
  • Celebratory Dinner
  • Party

So, how do you approach finding the right band for your event?

The secret is working backwards…

Think ahead to the day AFTER your event. How would you hope to feel? What MEMORIES would you hope to have? What contribution would you expect the band to have made to these memories?

Three Things You Should Hope To Have

Sore feet sounds more like something to avoid, but if you wake up with sore feet after your function, chances are that you were dancing your socks off the night before. So… you want a band that will get you and your guests up dancing –  even if these are people who wouldn’t normally dance.

Compliments sounds self indulgent, but it’s actually great feedback to the success of the event. If you are swamped with your guests telling you what an amazing time they had, you know you’ve done your job well.

A Big Smile on Your Face and memories that you’ll keep forever is what it’s all about, but you don’t get these from pleasing yourself. You get this from pleasing other people, namely your guests.

Ultimately (and this may sound crazy), your party isn’t about you. It’s about your friends and family who have taken the time out of their lives to be with you and share that time to celebrate with you, whatever the event should be.

Make the experience amazing for your guests and then you are assure that you will have an amazing time.

How do I know this?

I have played at over two thousand private events. Something I often hear myself say at the end of the night is, “I wish I got invited to (as a guest) the sort of parties that I play at”. The people who hire my band know the value we create… and I love what I do!

Three Things You Should Have After You Hire A Band



How To Pick A Band For Your Wedding

How To Pick A Band For Your Wedding

We live in an era of short attention. Phone apps such a “Vine” work on the concept that the longest we can concentrate for is six seconds. Therefore, the app limits your video footage to a mere six seconds.

In regards to the music business, television shows such as “Idol” and “The Voice” condense performances to ninety seconds. We are getting more and more accustomed to these short performances, and we sit at home and judge a singer by what they can deliver over these ninety seconds.

The irony is that as singers on television are performing for shorter periods, wedding receptions seem to be getting longer. When I first started playing at weddings back in the 1990’s, all wedding receptions went for four hours. That was the standard. Nowadays, the average length of a wedding reception is five and a half hours, although we frequently get booked to play longer than this. A four hour wedding seems rare these days. So…when looking to book a band, the question you have ask is this –

Can they go the distance?

When I get inquiries, a typical question I get asked is, “Can I come and see you play somewhere?” My response to this is is that unless you actually see us play at a wedding, you will have no idea as to what we are like when we play at a wedding.

Watching a band play one set in a pub shows you little as to what they sound like four hours into your wedding, when it’s time to motivate your wedding guests to dance.

Another consideration is, are the band going to playing throughout dinner, or are they going to be spending this time hitting the bar and drinking up your bar tab. If they are going to play through dinner, will your guests be able to comfortably hold a conversation?

What about pre-dinner drinks? What vibe can the band generate when your guests are still sober and arriving at the reception? Can they play outside without electricity?

A singer with a great voice is one thing, but the ability to read the audience and connect with guests is far more important in the context of a wedding. Other factors that you need to consider are versatility and adaptability. Typically, guests at weddings have a broad range of ages, usually from 18 to 80 year olds. Can the band connect across these different generations? Many venues have idiosyncracies that the band has to deal with. Can they adapt to whatever arises without it affecting their performance?

So, how do you pick a band?

One word answer – references

Consider that you are hiring someone for a job (which is what you are actually doing).

Have you ever applied for a job?

Were you asked to provide references?

Did your employer check the references that you provided?

Unless the employer was desperate, of course s/he checked your references.

Therefore, when hiring a band for your wedding –


If the band is one the venue’s preferred supplier’s list, you need to find out if (A) they have paid money to be on this list, or (B) are they on this list purely on their merits.

If the band has testimonials, can you get in contact with the person who wrote it?

Photographers see a lot of bands. They will have an excellent idea as to what bands are best going around.

And, of course… word of mouth is unbeatable.

To see my band’s testimonials, please CLICK HERE



How To Have a Great Wedding Reception

Slide McBride

How to Have a Great Wedding Reception

There’s an old saying…

  1. I hear -I forget
  2. I see – I remember
  3. I do – I know

This principle applies to wedding receptions. If you want a truly memorable wedding reception, then the secret is to concentrate on principles number 2 & 3.


Nothing kills the vibe at a wedding reception more than long speeches. If actions speak louder than words, then the fact that the couple have just married each other is testament to the love they share. What more really needs to be said?

Of course, it’s important to thank people such as parents and guests that have traveled along way, but for the people to get up and try their hand at doing stand-up comedy is really self indulgent and unnecessary, and … usually forgettable. But, worse than that, it cuts into valuable dancing time.


If it is the physical action of  doing something that we remember the most, then the most basic physical action at a wedding is dancing. Maximising the dancing means you will be maximising the memory people will have of your wedding reception. For a truly memorable celebration, lots of dancing is the key, for it’s what we do physically that we remember the most.

Now… if what we see, we remember (number 2 on the list above), then if we can combine dancing with seeing something (such as a band of musicians performing), will will have even more intense memories. This is where a great band will make your wedding far more memorable than a DJ. A band contributes a visual factor far more compelling than a guy standing behind a DJ console.

Engagement and connection

I’ve played at over two thousand weddings, and the secret is simple – engagement and connection. I once read an interview with David Campbell, the renowned caberet performer. One of the things he said was, “I want to have a relationship with my audience”. This sums up my role as a wedding singer. My aim is always to make the wedding reception as memorable as possible. It is imperative that I connect with the guests. My role is to pick the right songs to play at the right time, and to keep the performance engaging and visual.

The fact that our repertoire is enormous is one of our secrets to success. Considering that ages of guests at weddings are usually between 18 and 80, having songs that will connect with all age groups is a major advantage.

Slide McBride





Who I am and why I’m here

I believe in finding purpose. When I find purpose then I have all I need to drive me to make something useful of myself. One of the things that I’ve worked out for myself is the value of serving other people. This is what then gives me a purpose, makes me feel useful and then leads to fulfillment.

I have one of those “dream” jobs that people fantasize about. I am a singer in a band, and have made my living from this for the last twenty-five years. It’s a job that sounds great and can be loads of fun, but has many pitfalls and a never ending list of challenges.

An example of one of the pitfalls is alcohol. What other jobs are there where you are encouraged and expected to drink alcohol. As a singer, it’s always available and always free and constantly being offered, but it’s the worst thing for your voice. I learned very early in the game that this has to be avoided, despite the temptation always being there.

I have worked with plenty of musicians who drink when they work, and I’ve never seen it make someone play better. Sadly, I’ve heard it make many musicians sound a whole lot worse. I’ve had some highly embarrassing moments on the bandstand surrounded by drunks while I’ve been totally sober. The audience look perplexed while the guys in the band think they sound amazing.

One of the major challenges of being a singer is getting older. Our culture is preoccupied with youth, and the music business takes this further than any other occupation. I have the experience of performing on somewhere around three thousand gigs, but the person hiring the band will generally prefer a singer with little or no experience but with the right look, that is, young and sexy. In contrast, imagine needing an operation or surgery but opting for a young, good looking doctor rather than an older, experience one. Another example might be that you are facing jail, but rather than employing the most experienced lawyer available, you prefer to hire a young sexy lawyer.

Another challenge that is hard to take is part time singers and musicians who happily play for free because they want to live out a fantasy of being a “rock star” for the night. Sometimes I fantasize about being a banker and buying and selling companies in foreign lands, but I don’t anticipate that anyone is going to let me do that for even one hour.

Getting back to my original statement of finding purpose, the older I get the more I value “serving” other people. I work harder now on a gig than I have ever worked because I can see my role more clearly than ever before. I generally get employed to perform at occasions in people’s live that are highly significant to them, such as their wedding or their birthday party, where primarily my role is to make the night as memorable as possible. So, this is what I try to do. It’s all about them, and not about me. It sounds like a cliche, but that’s where my journey as a singer has taken me.

hire a band sydney



Wedding at Gunners Barracks

We played at David and Danielle’s wedding reception at The Gunners Barracks, Georges Heights on Friday, 16th January.

The Gunners Barracks is always a great venue for us. The quirky nature of the different spaces makes it an ideal place for us to show all the different facets of what we do.

David and Danielle chose to have a cocktail style wedding. I am personally a huge fan of this style of event. It means that guests don’t get stuck at a table between two people for two to three hours.

We spent the first two hours playing acoustically out on the terrace, and then we played with amplification in the main room.

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Bride and groom, Danielle and David

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Selfie with guests out on terrace

blake keep

Blake playing his saxophone


Hire a band in Sydney that is exceptional

Hire a band in Sydney that is exceptional

The following is quoted from a letter I have just received accentuating why we are the best choice you can make when it comes to the hire of a band for a wedding in and around Sydney.

Hi Slide

You made our wedding. We say so and almost all the guests who spoke to us about our wedding said so. Thank you for putting in a ripsnorting performance of incredible musical diversity, energy, interactivity and humour – we were told you were the best, and after attending dozens of weddings in the past 5 years we agree wholeheartedly!

Keep on rockin, no wonder you love playing music so much with a band like that!

Dan and Loz

hire a band sydney



Hire a Band – Loz and Dan

We hired the band…

On Saturday, 3rd January, we played at Daniel and Lauren’s wedding reception at Simmer On The Bay which is at Dawes Point.

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Me (Slide) with the bride (Lauren).

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Daniel (the groom) at the front surrounded by his mates

hire a band sydney

Me (Slide) with ‘The Boys”.



If you are looking to hire a band and you are based in Sydney then look no further. We play at weddings, parties, ball, corporate events, birthdays and all kinds of events.