Same Sex Marriage and Band Hire

Same Sex Marriage and Band Hire

Last Saturday night we played at a post wedding celebration for Daniel and Damon. There wedding was in New York, U.S.A. last year. Obviously, the wedding was wasn’t in Australia, because that can’t happen here, yet.

Same sex marriage after party

Damon (one of the grooms) is from America. Daniel (the other groom) is Australian. The party was at Icebergs at Bondi Beach. It was a cocktail styled function (a particular format of which I am a big fan). Cocktail style styled functions are wonderful because guests aren’t stuck sitting between two people for half the night. They are free to mingle and move around. The ambiance is far more relaxed. Also, generally people tend to dance more at this type of function.

Icebergs, Bondi Beach

While we have never played at a same sex “wedding“, we have played at three same sex “commitment ceremonies”. These have been exactly like weddings, except that Australian Law doesn’t recognise the marriage as being legal.

I am mostly extremely proud to be Australian, but I must admit a little embarrassment that Australia is so far behind so many other countries around the world when it comes to marriage equality. Hopefully, our country’s leaders with cease stalling on this matter.

In an era where marriage has moved away from the old notion of “until death do us part”, and become more like a “legal partnership”, the current government’s procrastination on this matter is antiquated to say the least.

For your information, here is a list of countries that recognise same sex marriages;

Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Uruguay

To read more about same sex marriages, you might like to click on these links;

And finally… here’s some footage from the night!

Memorable Events – How Hiring A Band Can Help

should i hire a band for my 40th

Memorable Events – How Hiring a Band Can Help

Our lives are made up of memories. The more amazing they are, the better our lives have been.

Last week I drove past The Albion Park Aerodrome (just south of Wollongong). I had a flash back to the only time in my life that I have ever been up in a small four-seater light aeroplane.
A family friend (who I used to call Uncle John) had a passion for flying and had a licence to fly light aircraft. As a treat one day, he took his his son, my brother and me up for about an hour flying over the Illawarra District. I must have been around 11 or 12 years of age, yet the memory is still strong in my mind. And, every time I drive south along Princes Highway and go past the little Albion Park Aerodrome, I recall the experience. That was a long times ago, but it’s a memory that I always remember and cherish. ‘Uncle John’ died about twenty years ago, and his son has also recently passed away, yet the memory of that hour long flight remains with me.
Similarly, whenever I play with my band at a function, whether it be a wedding, birthday party or ball, I am aware of how significant these special events are in people’s lives. These are occasions and milestones that always stay with us, so it’s important to make sure you remember them as exceptional experiences and not as regrets.
At almost every function we play at, the organiser  has employed a photographer. They are there to capture the ‘memories’ in photographs. We (the band) are there to create the memories. The guys in my band are sick of hearing me say this, as it’s become my mantra whenever playing at private functions…

“Come on guys, let’s create some memories!”

Memorable Events - How Hiring A Band Can Help


Memorable Events - How Hiring A Band Can Help
Party time!

Jacqui & Kieran – Centennial Park Dining

Jacqui and Kieran –

Centennial Park Dining, 11th July, 2015

On Saturday, 11th July, 2015 we played at Jacqui and Kieran’s wedding reception at Centennial Park Dining. *(For more information on this venue, please refer to their website –  )

Jacqui and Kieran are a great couple with heaps of friends and family members who love to dance.

Jacqui is a high school music teacher. One of her close friends is Natalie. She is also a high school music teacher. The two of them met while studying music at University of New South Wales. At the wedding, Natalie was one of Jacqui’s bridesmaids, and as a special treat, Natalie actually sang the song for the bridal dance. The song was “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, (originally recorded by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons). Here’s a short piece of footage of Natalie singing this song with the band, while Kieran and Jacqui dance their bridal dance.


I managed to get an awesome collection of photographs from the evening.

This is me and the groom, Kieran.

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining


Here I am with the bride, Jacqui

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining


Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining


Long Reef Golf Club – What’s The Best Band To Hire?

Long Reef Golf Club – What’s The Best Band To Hire?

Long Reef Golf Club - What's The Best Band To Hire?
Slide McBride playing at Long Reef Golf Club


Maybe you have made a booking to hold your event, function or wedding reception at Long Reef Golf Club and now you are pondering on what’s the best band to hire for this venue.  We love playing at Long Reef Golf Club, Collaroy, and these are three reasons that come straight to mind.

1. The people who run the events are so amazing

You can meet “nice, friendly” people every day, but when you encounter “nice, friendly” people who are fantastic at their job and are totally switched on to you needs, then that takes things to a completely different level. Toni, Chantelle and Alex are exceptional at what they do. “Passion” is one thing, but professionalism and attention to detail take things to a completely different level. Follow this link to read more, from the Long Reef Golf Club website –

2. It’s such a cracking location

Going to the Northern Beaches is like visiting a different country. The area offers something unique to the rest of Sydney. It’s a whole “vibe” thing. The sea, the surf and the area’s separation contribute to this, but more than anything, it’s the people. They are relaxed and chilled but also friendly and approachable. In addition, they are also cultured and intelligent. These traits translate through the staff at Long Reef Golf Club. It extends through from the event-sales staff right through to the bar and wait staff.

3. The venue’s layout enables us to demonstrate our full versatility

We (the band) can play in so many different formats, but at Long Reef Golf Club, we can really show off our full versatility. We can play outdoors in our roving acoustic format. We can also play outdoors with amplification which works so well in the summer when the afternoons are so long. When we play inside, it is possible for us to do two separate set-ups. We can play relaxed dinner music with a cut-down version of using amplifiers. We can then crank things up in the annexed room with the wooden dance floor.

We have quite a bit of footage of the band playing at Long Reef Golf Club – some indoors and some outdoors. Please take a look…



Best Band To Hire For Event at Zest, The Spit

Best Band To Hire For Event at Zest, The Spit

Maybe you are wondering, “Who would be the best band to hire for my forthcoming event at Zest, The Spit”? I have had a long association with Zest at the Spit. My band actually played at the opening of this venue. We always relish the opportunity to play there. It’s a superb venue and here are the three things that make it so;

  1. Their food
  2. Their service
  3. The location


If you hire a band, photographer, videographer or professional MC, it is expected that you supply these people with a “service meal” or “crew meal”. This is typically a main course. Therefore, whenever we play at Zest, we get a sample of the menu. So when I write here that the food at Zest is superb, I am writing from my experiences. In addition to this, anyone who make a comments on Zest always rave about how good the food is.


I have played at pretty much every venue in Sydney, and I have witnessed plenty of substandard service. Some venues will use “agency staff”, which usually equates to backpackers on holiday trying to earn a few dollars before the go scuba diving in Cairns. Needless to say, their attitude and effort leave much to be desired. In complete contract, the staff at Zest are totally professional. They are quick, friendly and attentive and… they actually smile.


The Spit is a gorgeous location, and Zest makes perfect use of this harbour backdrop. Pre-dinner drinks are typically held outside on the balcony. Guests can mingle with the ambiance of water and boats, and with stunning views across to Clontarf. The decor of the room is modern and contemporary.

My band specialises in playing at events for between 50 and 150 people where we set up on the floor and become a focus point for the party. A venue such as Zest, The Spit is perfect for what we do. We can play outside on the balcony (in our roving acoustic format). We can also play in this format in the bar area next door to the dining room. We can play throughout dinner at an intensity where people can still comfortably hold a conversation. After dinner, we can cause a commotion to get your gets into motion and inspire them to dance the rest of the evening away.

Best Band To Hire For Event at Zest, The Spit
Singing During Dinner at Zest, The Spit

For more on Zest at The Spit, check out their website –

Best Band To Hire For An Event At Athol Hall

Best Band To Hire For An Event At Athol Hall

If there’s one venue in Sydney that suits the band better than anywhere else in Sydney, it’s got to be Athol Hall, AND… if there’s one venue that we have played at more than any other venue in Sydney, it’s got to be Athol Hall.

Set in Sydney Harbour National Park, Athol Hall is just down from Taronga Zoo off Bradley’s Head Road in Mosman on Sydney’s lower North Shore. It has views across to the Sydney CBD.

There are four things that I love about Athol Hall;

  1. The outdoor space
  2. The indoor space
  3. The owner of the business
  4. The native wildlife

The Outdoor Space

Athol Hall boasts an expansive lawn, surrounded by native Australian bushland. This is a perfect setting for the band to perform in our “roving acoustic” format, but rather than trying to describe this using words, these film clips will show this better.

The Indoor Space

The hall itself is wooden and approximately a hundred years old and has loads of rustic charm. Old wood enhances the quality of resonance. Much the same as an old violin or double bass having a superior sound, when the band plays acoustically inside the hall, the sound is amazing.

The hall is the perfect size for weddings and parties. We recently played at a wedding there for 30 people. We have also played there for a capacity crowd of around 160.

Here’s the band rocking out at Athol Hall (later in the evening).

The Owners Of The Business (Athol Hall)

In this day and age, a function-venue actually being run by a husband and wife partnership is a rarity. I would estimate 95% of function-venues in Sydney are run by corporations with vast networks of managers and staff. What is so refreshing about playing at Athol Hall is that every time we turn up there to play, the business owner, Susan Hewitt is there setting things up and liaising with other suppliers. We have a chat and a catch up before we get on with things. It’s so refreshing!

The Native Wildlife

This is a superb venue if you are going to have guests coming from overseas. The wildlife is surprisingly tame. They help create that ‘uniquely Australian’ vibe. There are kookaburras, possums, bush turkeys and lizards. Check out the cheeky possum in this clip (below).

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 –


Hiring A Band For Your Wedding Reception

hiring a wedding band

Hiring A Band For Your Wedding Reception

When it comes to weddings, I’m never at the paying end, but from what I’ve heard, they can get really expensive.

The list of things you have to pay for can include;

  • Venue
  • Food
  • Alcohol/Beverages
  • The dress
  • The cars
  • The flowers
  • Photographers
  • Videographers
  • Table Cloths and Covers
  • Room Styling
  • Etc
So, where does entertainment sit on your list?

Most people will consider hiring a photographer as vital to their wedding day. What a photographer does is to capture the memories of the day into pictures, so that you can always look back and reignite those memories from the day.

So… if a photographer capturing the memories is a priority, what about the importance of creating those memories?

With regards to music, most  people will hire a DJ for their wedding reception. It’s a cheap and easy option. A DJ will have thousands of songs at his/her disposal and will usually work off a list of requests from the bride and groom. Maybe they will also supply some coloured lights, but there is no other visual element. This isn’t really “entertainment”, because a person standing behind a table with a laptop and some decks isn’t doing anything that connects with people.

Alternatively, a live band has a visual element that can never be matched by a DJ. They real people creating music in a live atmosphere. If the band is good, they will connect with guests in a way that no DJ can. This then creates memories that will stay with people for many years.

How often do we hear recorded music being played?
  • When I go to Westfields (or any other shopping centre), every shop is playing their own music playlist.
  • When I drive in my car, I can select music from dozens of radio stations, or plug in my own ipod.
  • When I turn on the TV, there is music in the shows I watch and the commercials that come on.
  • If I travel on public transport, half the people are wearing headphones, creating their own soundtrack to their lives.
Do you want your wedding reception to be just another day in people’s lives, or do you want it to be special, memorable and extraordinary?

If you consider how often most people actually see live music performed each year, you could probably count them using the fingers on one hand. It is not something typical in most people’s lives. This is exactly the reason it make hiring a band for a wedding reception such a vital component in making the event memorable.

I once played at a wedding, and during the event I asked the groom why he had hired us. His response I will never forget. He said he had read a whole lot of reviews of  weddings,  written by bride’s and grooms. He discovered one common regret that kept newly-weds wrote about their weddings. The regret was NOT hiring a good band. He then made it his mission to find the best band available in Sydney. He hired us and considered doing so as the key element that “made” his wedding.

best wedding bandRead these reviews of the band on Event Birdie – SLIDE MCBRIDE REVIEWS


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