We’ve finally just about recovered from the mammothly brilliant day at Liz and John’s wedding at The Gallivant Hotel last week. It was totes amaze balls. There were seashells, sand, sea and starfish and dancing and moving and shaking. It was brill! Read the blog about it here.
Fast forward 7 days, it’s Saturday 18th of October 2014. It’s a clear, bright and fresh day. The leaves are starting to turn orangey red and the scarves and hats are making a reappearance. Definitely autumn. Uncertain skies follow us on our trip to the Tythe Barn at Priston Mill. Rain/no rain/rain. The weather holds and we arrive, greeted by an impressive watermill and beautiful barn and surrounding grounds. We are excited and happy Zoots. We are also a bit hungry and fancy a cup of tea. We’ve had a wonderfully trecherous and delightfully hairy drive through the Wiltshire Countryside in our *new van*. At last we’ve arrived. Today is Victoria & Piers’ wedding day. And The Zoots are performing. And it is going to be brilliant.
We are greeted by a HUUUUGE Watermill which we are told has a *real* watermill running inside. We drive past the Watermill, down the hill towards the Tythe Barn. (pronounced Tie-th not Tithey like one of us first thought). It is by-gum just lovely! Theres a wee stream making wonderful streamy noises, water flowing, gush gushing. The gardens are beautifully manicured or pedicured, not a stem out of place. There are loads of places to sit and enjoy the greeny-turning-red autumn countryside. The air feels so fresh here. It feels so peaceful. All you can hear is the sound of the stream running near by and the occasional bird tweeting somewhere.
We arrive at 6pm, ready for set up when the room is turned around at 6:30pm. It’s still light but dusky. It’s one of my favourite times of the day. We are quite early (no excuse for tardiness – we’re always early!) so we are shown to our changing room, a storage room attached to the Tythe Barn. The day is running slightly behind schedule so our wait here is longer than anticipated, luckily we came prepared with a heater and we’re pretty inventive when it comes to fashioning something to sit on!
We had a look around the barn and checked out the load in. It was here where I spotted a wee wolf face in the exposed tree. Can you see it?
Finally night fell and the Tythe Barn looked brilliant. Although this photo isn’t great you can see how lovely it looks at night time.
Now it was our time to shine! During the wedding breakfast, we had, silently, like silent little elves, unloaded the van and de-cased our equipment and parked it just outside the door we were loading in through. This was risky business as the heavens looked like they may open at any minute. It was at this point Zoots bass player Stuart decided to tell us HE’D GOT ENGAGED THAT VERY DAY to his lovely lovely lady Lauren. WE WERE SO HAPPY. We couldn’t believe our ears! We hugged and smiled and asked him if it was real, he said it was and that he really did propose and Lauren really did say yes. We saw a photo of the ring too and it’s beautiful. This put us in extra good spirits for the evening. Anyway, before THE GREAT NEWS, we were unloading the van…we wanted to do as much as we could before getting into the room so that set up was as quick as we could possible make it. We have a lot of equipment. And it’s really heavy. Luckily most of us are pretty strong.
After a quick tea and coffee announcement, the room was cleared and we were able to load in. The staff at Priston Mill were very quick in removing the tables and chairs in the area we were performing in so that we could set up as quickly as possible. Which we did.
The barn took our breath away! The exposed stone walls, the wooden beams and the mood lighting dotted around the place was just perfect. Maybe it was because it was dark and a particularly autumn day, or perhaps I’d been waiting in the cold too long but the Tythe Barn had such a cosy feel to it, even though it was huge! To our left was a double sided bar, and at the back of the barn was a sitting area where the teas and coffees and evening buffet was served. I could imagine this place in summer too, lots of natural light flooding the room, and guests enjoying time by the stream in the garden area. But we didn’t have time to gaze, we had to get set up, el pronto!
After a quick set up, it was time for a sound check. A member of the team at Priston Mill advised us of a sound limiter in place, something which we didn’t know about previously. Being total pros, we’re used to tackling limiters but by no means enjoy working with them! As we’ve chatted about in our previous blogs, sound limiters measure the volume of sound produced and can cut power to the equipment if the sound goes over a certain level. Each limiter will vary in sensitivity and the venue can set the limiter level accordingly. During sound check we noticed the limiter was particularly sensitive, so we took appropriate steps to make sure we didn’t set it off during the gig. This included turning down the overall volume and bass levels of our PA, as well as Zoots drummer Mike swapping his drum sticks for ‘rods’ to produce a quieter sound. When visiting prospective venues, with a view to having live music at your event or party, we’d always advise asking a venue if they do use a limiter and what level it is set at. This can make all the difference to how your band sounds, and may even dictate what size band would be suitable for your wedding or event.
That obstacle addressed, we were all set! The room looked brilliant. A quick clothing change and we were ready to go on. Victoria and Piers had a clear idea of what songs they would like us to perform on the night. Our newly engaged bass player Stuart was DJing on the night in between our sets and they’d picked some fab songs for him to play. For their first dance they’d chosen, ‘You’re Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher’ by Jackie Wilson which Stuart Dj’d for them. It was a brilliantly upbeat and happy song. You couldn’t help but smile as you watched the lovely couple dance together as husband and wife. They look so happy, we felt very privileged to be able to watch. The mezzanine area in the barn was a great area to see their first dance from and was packed with all of Victoria & Piers’ guests.
We launched into our set straight after. We had some fab songs which the couple had chosen. Pretty Woman, Satisfaction, Johnny Be Goode, Brown Eyed Girl, Help! This list was endless. The couple had chosen lots of songs from our repertoire. It went so fast. The room was so hot from everyone dancing so much! There were some really awesome dance moves, I think I may have even spotted the ‘Egyptian’ and the ‘funky chicken’! After our first set, DJ Stuart took over and hit the decks, putting out some awesome tunes the couple had chosen. It was during this time Priston Mill served the evening buffet too. Soon enough we were back on for our second set. The floor was packed. They shouted for more and we played some more, before leaving Stuart to end the night with a final few DJ tracks. And…breathe! After several pints of water and a chance to catch our breaths, we hurrahed at the wonderful evening we’d just had.
We packed away as guests said their farewells to the newlyweds. The rain didn’t appear until the very moment we were due to take our equipment outside. We had a totally brilliant night performing for Victoria & Piers and they energetic guests – I don’t think they stopped dancing all night! Thank you so much to the lovely couple for choosing The Zoots as their wedding band.
Love from, Jamie, Harriet & The Zoots
PS We also found this pretty fun teethy smile which we had fun with.