Like most musicians, I have played my fair share of wedding receptions and parties over the years. The brief is usually to fill the dance floor for as much of the night as possible.
I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about why on some nights it works, yet another night you could play the same music with the same intensity but it doesn’t.
There are lots of factors at play here.
These include the age of the crowd, how much they have had to drink, whether the bar is in the same room as the band, where the crowd come from, the sound on the room, the tightness of the rhythm section (see pic below), the songs the band choose, the order in which they play them, the interaction between band and audience, the gaps between songs, the overall atmosphere at the event, and many others I’m sure.
However, if I was asked to state the biggest factor in ensuring that your night works, it’s easy – get out there yourself. In my experience, any time the bride and groom, birthday boy/girl or other influential members of the party get out there and get their groove on, the floor fills up.
Same as anything in life – if you have a leader, others will follow. And it’s easier to be that leader at your party.