Ask any musician what is one of the main pleasures they derive from playing music and many will tell you it’s the idea of communication. It is a universal language with can communicate ideas and emotions, regardless of age, gender, nationality or culture. Music played live is also a powerful platform to communicate with people; an intense and exciting experience for the performer and the listener. It’s of the here and now and that’s life in its purest form. This is why so many musicians hanker after the opportunity to play live, whether it be playing infront of a few mates in the intimate setting of a house party, or playing to a crowd of 30’000 at Wembley stadium.
Playing in Rock My Reception has given us a great chance to play the music we enjoy to hundreds of people over the last couple of years, learning what tastes different people at the wedding party have in music by asking them for requests. Just recently, however, that audience has been expanded from a hundred-strong, at say, a country wedding venue to potentially thousands in the Yorkshire region when we were given the opportunity to play on the Liz Green breakfast show on BBC Radio Leeds in November/ December 2014 and January 2015.
We were first contacted by the station after one of the editors had read an article in one of the regions newspapers about how we had reached the finals of the Wedding Industry Awards in London, and contacted us asking if we’d be interested in performing a few songs in the breakfast slot, and taking requests from listeners phoning in. This bolt-from-the-blue invite was every jobbing musicians publicity dream come true and we immediately accepted their kind invitation without a moments hesitation!
Believe it or not musicians are not generally known for their propensity for early morning rises: staying out partying all night and rolling into the sack at 6am maybe, but those images of milkmen whistling whilst doing their rounds to the dawn chorus are, to most musicians curled up in their warm beds, a myth or legend that supposedly happens, like Father Christmas and the tooth fairy. For Rock My Reception, however, when the BBC ask you to be at the Leeds studio for six o’ clock, you double set your alarm for 4:30 am, drink lots of tea and coffee, warm your voice up in the car by singing along to whatever’s on the radio or on a C.D., then try your bestest to look awake and no what planet you’re on when you get there!
Fortunately for us the team at Radio Leeds were friendly, energised and exuded an enthusiasm which was infectious and it was a total pleasure to be there regardless of how earl title was and Liz Green, the breakfast shows presenter made us feel at home straight from the offset. The drill was simple: so, we’d have a brief chat in a question and answer-style with Liz about what we were doing, then in the interim, callers would ring up the desk and ask for their favourite requests. As this is what we did at every wedding we played at- what could be simpler! At our Christmas visit Kieran opted for a festive jumper whereas I decided against my Christmas hat. Liz did bring my lack of festivities up in our interview too- mind you, she wasn’t wearing a sexy Santa outfit either, which would’ve been nice, but you can’t have everything!
On the Christmas episode we brought along Wedding Film maker Ollie Bostock to film the proceedings and make into a promotional film, which he did brilliantly and is now on show on our website. Over the three episodes we got asked for modern day requests like the Killers ‘Human’ from a pensioner called Cath in Leeds, we got asked for requests for Christmas songs like the Pogues ‘Fairytale in New York’ and even our old guitar teacher Adrian Bottomley rang in to kindly heap praise on us and request Chuck Berry’s ‘Run Rudolph Run’, which we really enjoyed playing: we had a quick practice of it in a side studio in the break! We had a call from an old school friend Gareth Lockwood ringing in for his request of Bad Moon Rising and none other than rugby player Eorl Crabtree- Huddersfield Giants prop forward, ringing up and ‘bigging us up’!
It was a fantastic experience to not only be playing on regional radio, knowing that you’re providing music to such a wide audience, but to also get speak to the listeners and to take their requests. Even one of the brides who had booked us to play for her wedding rang in recommending us the perfect acoustic wedding band. A truly humbling experience when a customer gives you a plug on the radio! One of the greatest accolades came from Liz when she kindly named Rock My Reception as the ‘Radio Leeds House Band’, a title, and experience which we shall definitely be dining out on for a while!