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It’s Thursday the 2nd of April and spring has made a brief appearance. Somewhere some birds are tweeting and I’m pretty sure the sun was shining a bit. Today we’re off to Grims Dyke Hotel to perform for the lovely Dani & Stuart for their wedding day. Dani had seen us perform a couple of times (back in 2011 and 2013) and was keen to have us as their wedding band.  Dani got in touch waaaaaay back in February 2014 (remember it?). We were available and we said yes! The date was in the diary! 

Our journey began at Zoots HQ here in Wiltshire. Its a lovely place to begin. This is where the offstage magic happens, where the phone rings, where the enquiries roll in, where the emails are written, posters are designed, website is updated and where the decisions are made. There is a beautiful view outside the window of rolling green hills, the occasional tractor, the odd horse and some amazing wildlife. It really is a dream to come back to and a great place start our journey. Here’s a little peak of our view.

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One by one the band arrive. First it’s Lead Guitarist Ben & Bass player Stuart, then drummer Mike; not always (but usually) in that order ;D. We have a quick cup of tea and a catch up before we leave. It’s tea central here. We literally have around 10-15 different types. We even have one called Russian Caravan. The way to most of our hearts is usually tea. Bass player is somewhat of a tea connoisseur.

We set off, bound for Grims Dyke. We’d been in touch with Claire from Grims Dyke earlier in the week to let her know what time we were planning on arriving, what sort of thing we might need and what we were planning on doing! This just makes things sooooo much easier on the day. Claire gave us all the information we needed about loading in and setting up and where we could use to get changed and store our personal items. She was a great help.

Grims Dyke has been used in many films and TV programmes including Doctor Who, The Saint and the The Avengers, you can see why! We arrived and it was lovely! I found this photo on the Internet (here) as I may have forgotten to take one when we arrived.

We arrived and said our hellos. The wedding party were just sitting down in the Music Room for the wedding breakfast. The team at Grims Dyke showed us to our changing room for the day. It was a rather cosy, but perfectly adequate ladies cloakroom. We settled in and ran through some tracks as we couldn’t begin loading in and setting up until the room was vacated. Dani and Stuart had kindly arranged some teas for us which we enjoyed while we waited. Grims Dyke was a cool venue, with several lounges downstairs and the main room upstairs. The decor was amazing.

We unloaded the van and brought our equipment upstairs ready for the nod letting us know it was OK to set up. I loved the flowers Dani & Stuart had picked and the golf theme was really fun too! The room we were playing was really interesting. The sculptures and the fireplace especially so! Thankfully the room was carpeted and had curtains which made it a lot easier for us to have control of the sound. Carpets and curtains aren’t a deal breaker but they do make it a lot easier for bands to work with, absorbing some of the sound we create. Hard, reflective surfaces can result in sound actually ‘bouncing’ back off which can cause feedback in some instances.

I also just loved Dani & Stuart’s minion cake! It was such fun. I’ve taken some photos of it below. But enough of photos, it was time for us to get set up! The team at Grims Dyke were really helpful and accommodating and they were super organised at turning the room around. It’s so important to have an efficient team on hand, especially when the room has to be packed away and reset again in an hour. They were really good at making sure we were able to access the space we were performing in quickly which was a huge help.

Once we’d set up, it was time for a quick sound check. When we’re short on time for sound check, we usually try to run through a song which we know well, and has all the vocals so we can ensure we have all the levels right. If we have time, we’ll also try to run through a heavier track to ensure everyone has their monitors at a good level so they can hear themselves throughout the evening. After sound check, we headed back to our ladies cloakroom to change into our outfits.

And we were on! For their first dance, Dani & Stuart had chosen ‘Chasing Cars‘ by Snow Patrol. It’s a beautiful track but not one we play often. We’d all spent a bit of time going through our parts in the weeks leading up the wedding so that it was just perfect on the night. It was wonderful.

Straight after the first dance, it was time to party part party! The dance floor was rammed! We crammed loads of songs into our set, starting the night off with music from the 1960s, and working our way through music from the decades. The newly weds had only chosen one or two songs they would like from our repertoire and left the rest up to us! Highlight of the first set included, Twist and Shout, Beggin, La Bamba, Hound dog, Rock around the clock, Johnny B Goode and Crazy Little Thing Called Love. We even had our photo taken with our number one fan for the night, Jack. He was great and really enjoyed watching us perform.

After a short break and refresh in the ladies cloakroom, it was back to the main hall to continue with our second set.

It was wild. Everyone loved it. The night went so quickly.

During the set we were lucky enough to have Campbell ‘ Spike’ Kent to join us to sing Wonderwall by Oasis. He was a great vocalist and it was really awesome to have him sing a song with us!

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After the show we had a nice chat with Dani, Stuart all some of the guests and got some photos too.

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Big thank you to Dani & Stuart for choosing The Zoots for their wedding band! x

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