Playing your friends' weddings is always a blast. Maybe a little more nerve-racking at times because you'd hate to botch something on a buddy's important day, but playing for a home team crowd is always fun. This was certainly the case with my friend Morgan when we rocked his wedding this fall. Given we met at UNC's Journalism School and worked together at The Daily Tar Heel, it was only fitting that I give him one last story to crank out: give folks a client's perspective of working with The Shakedown. Thanks Morgan for this guest post. You even finished before the deadline..
"When I asked my now wife, Megan, to marry me in August 2016, I was decidedly not thinking of all the planning that would go into the subsequent wedding and reception. A friend bought us a book of wedding-related checklists, Megan gave it a read, and knowing that I have very definite opinions about music, she tasked me with booking a band or DJ for the wedding reception.
The Shakedown was THE band I wanted to play our wedding.
Nash has been a friend for nearly a decade. I can’t quite remember in which Carolina class we met, but nevertheless, we hit it off. Nash played music, and I liked to write about it. I roped him into writing arts and music stories for The Daily Tar Heel, and he roped me into seeing Brio – a precursor to The Shakedown – at a now long-gone Franklin Street bar. We shared mutual friends so seeing Brio became a common occurrence slash a big ol‘ sweaty dance party with my best friends. (I still have a burned CD-R of Brio songs with a handwritten tracklist.)
Since that time, I had seen The Shakedown at my cousin’s wedding and out and about in Raleigh. I’ve seen their members play in other groups I love (Nick in The Hot At Nights, Tamisha in Phil Cook’s Guitarheels). They’re all top notch musicians and performers. I kicked myself for missing their tribute shows to Sam Cooke and Van Morrison. And Megan and I pretty immediately agreed that our first dance had to be Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me” so we knew they would nail it. They did.
But let me back up. I submitted a message through The Shakedown website, and Nash promptly called to discuss the best music option for our wedding. I quickly got the impression that he had asked these questions before: “What’s your budget? What kind of crowd do you expect? Can the venue accommodate a live band?” … “Because I can suggest other options if live music is not a good fit for you.”
We quickly established that Megan’s and my friends would love a band and dance all night. A live band would stretch our budget, but it was something we had to do. So we decided The Shakedown would make our wedding reception one for the ages that Beaufort, N.C., wouldn’t see for years to come.
In the lead-up to our wedding we met with Nash in person to nail down the pertinent details: first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, playlist, wedding party introductions, wedding day timeline and reception run-of-show to accommodate toasts and cake cutting and dinner. He was invaluable in helping us fine tune our timeline, asking questions we hadn’t considered. And he sent us away with a list of questions about power supplies and noise ordinances for our venue contact. I checked, and those were not checklist items in the wedding list book.
On our wedding day, the band arrived early to soundcheck and was ready to play when we came back from taking pictures and pictures and a few more pictures. We were a few minutes behind schedule, but I’ve been told no wedding runs on time. Nash handled it, checking in with our day-of planner and me throughout the night, keeping things running smoothly and on time. Megan and I couldn’t have imagined a better wedding reception, and the music played a huge part in that. We heard so many of our favorite songs by Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, Hall and Oates, Paul Simon and more performed by six big personalities who made those songs all their own. We sang along, we danced and we most definitely sweated.
When you go to concerts often like I do, it seems crazy to even think about all that goes into a single performance. Writing about that process was something I would not have ever considered. For all of your favorite concerts, you just go and the music is incredible and the dance floor is packed and the light show is great and everyone has a great time. All performances just happen, right? Well, they most certainly don’t. Nash asked the right questions, assembled six other people (thanks, David, Tamisha, Allan, Nick, Darion and sound guy Mike) and tore the damn roof off that tent on a warm October night in Beaufort."
Photo credits: http://www.beaufortphotographyco.com/