Sunday, August 11, 2013

Nebres Wedding 8.10.13 .... "I dont know much...but I know I love you"

The song says it all. 

You know a wedding is epic when it ends like this... and yes, they are singing the Ronstadt / Neville song, word for word. Simply amazing.

I have to congratulate JP and Michelle Nebres for throwing a wedding that will resonate with family and friends for years. It also had subtle touches that will keep Kleenex in business for the next decade.  

Thank you for letting me be a part of your special day, JP & Michelle. 

The day started early. The wedding was in Santa Cruz, at the Hollins House on the Pasotiempo Golf Course. I arrived about 1pm, and began setting up. The bridal party was still taking pictures, courtesy of Shoot Me Now Photo, and the pics were touching and hilarious. You could tell the vibe was going to be amazing. 

12 purple uplights in the main ballroom, video projector and screen, and four wireless mics for some special performances later. The ballroom also had two 55" LCD screens built in, so those were connected as well. 

After cocktail hour in the front of the house, it was time to bring the guests inside for the introductions. 

The sponsors entered, dancing down the center of the crowd to Blurred Lines, the Jr Bridesmaids to 1D, the Bridal Party to Young Wild & Free by Wiz Kalifah, and finally it was the grand entrance of the Bride and Groom. 

The Groom, JP, has been in the music business for a long time, producing, writing, and even was a backup dancer for a hip-hop group back in the day. So it was fitting that the happy couple "danced" their way into the venue to a song he was involved with in the early 90s - Dedicated to My Girl by R.O.C. 

Following the hype intros, the groom took the mic, a total surprise to his wife. They had agreed to dance to a Lionel Richie song as their "first dance", but JP had something else in mind. He had written a song just for her, and had 'Sway' Penala and Darell Seegmiller of DnH record it and sing it. The song played, accompanied by the lyrics on the video screens. Not a dry eye in the house. 

Next the Father of the Bride took his turn with his daughter to Stevie Wonder's Isn't She Lovely.

JP then escorted his mother to the dancefloor.  In another surprise, as Lionel Richie's Three Times A Lady played, the video screens flashed a message to the crowd. Unbeknownst to his mother, the message on the screen invited the audience to serenade her, along with the lyrics. Once...Twice...Three times a ladyyyy... again, not a dry eye in the house. 

From this point the crowd moved outside to the dining area, with beautiful views overlooking Santa Cruz and the ocean.

I handpicked the dinner music to fit with what I thought the crowd would like, including a few Tv Themes sure to have them singing along at the dinner table. I wasn't wrong.

Speeches by the Maid of Honor Connie and Best Man KC were amazing. Both absolutely hilarious. 

Next up were the performances. First to bless the "stage" was the four lovely ladies of Pinay, a singing group from the 90's that was very popular, and the groom had worked with them back then. Their voices hadn't changed, they were as fabulous as always as they sang "Share My World". They were accompanied by Elvin Reyes on guitar with assistance from Matt Villacarte, one of the groomsmen, aka DJ Pleez.

DnH took the mics next for a quick medley, and took us back to the 90's. They guys really put it down for the ladies.

The third vocal performance was none other than the father of the groom, Dr. Victor Nebres singing Promises Of Love. A touching performance for his son. 

As the "Summer Jam" of weddings continued, and dinner was finished, the guests moved back into the ballroom, and were treated to an interpretive dance solo by the groom's niece (it really must run in the family) as well as a hula display. A video was shown, put together by the groom, featuring various friends' and family's reactions to the news of the wedding, hidden camera style. Laughs all around. Just awesome again. 

And with that, the party really began, with the dancefloor packed all night, and guests loving every minute of it. At one point the groom was lifted and carried around the room, crowd-surfing style. Yes, the bar did well that night. 

Soul, r&b, classic hip-hop, cha-cha, Motown and some pop were the formula for the night. Everyone had a great time.

As the night came to a close, and the bar almost ran out of alcohol (true story), it was time to slow things down. Time Of My Life (from Dirty Dancing) inspired a few near-falls as guys ran to other guys, hoping to be hoisted in the air, a la Jennifer Grey. Well, you aren't her, and he isn't Patrick Swayze. Almost disastrous. 

Last dance song of the night: Let's Stay Together - Al Green

Last song: I Don't Know Much - Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville

Arms linked, a circle of love for the Bride and Groom, the night came to a close. 

Congratulations JP & Michelle! 


Friday, August 9, 2013

8-Track Session Vol 6

Let's take it back to the late 70's / early 80's, sneaking into the drive-in in the trunk, roller-skates, and 8-tracks in the dash.

For you, your parents, or whomever appreciates classic rock.

Volume six in my labor of love, the 8-Track Sessions series. While not my most popular series of mixes, I do love making these the most, and listening to them. Where else can you find lost hits from the 60's, 70's and 80's neatly blended into one package/

This mix started simply enough: I love the song Lido Shuffle by Boz Scaggs, and wanted to get it into a mix. From there it was just a matter of finding songs in the similar BPM and feel, and organizing them properly. 

I had been playing Orleans' Still the One at a lot of weddings lately, so I knew I wanted that in there. Nothing says 8-tracks like Journey and Kiss, so they had to be included, and I started building the mix. Rush - Spirit of Radio was supposed to be the opening song for Vol 5, but I scrapped that idea, and it had been sitting in the back of my mind for a while. Steve Miller's Swingtown is a favorite, and kinda toes the line betwen the smoother sounds of Boz Scaggs and the harder edge of AC/DC etc.  A good way to soften the mix up a bit, and get all the songs I wanted in there without the transitions sounding harsh. 

I really wanted to have some 70s cheese in there as well, to really give it that 8-track feel. The Bay City Rollers came to mind, and Shaun Cassidy (I used to watch the Hardy Boys as a kid). My best friend's parents played the Rolling Stones constantly when I was young, so I knew they had to be included. Wasn't sure if I could get Brown Sugar or Street Fighting Man in, so Get Off Of My Cloud was an easy choice. 

A little CCR is always needed. John Fogerty's voice is just so powerful to me. I love Elton John's Saturday Night (although I can't see him drinking beer or fighting very much) and Huey Lewis & The News had to be in there. I wanted to keep it to Huey's first album thought, because 8-tracks were mostly dead by the time Sports came out in 1983. 

Rod Stewart and The Police kinda came about by accident, and I'm not 100% satisfied by that part. The blend from Bruce Springsteen to Synchronicity II didn't really work, and I kind forced it. I didn't want to take Born to Run out, but it's a very noisy record, and hard to smoothly transition out of. I love that Police record, though, so I stuck with it. Oh well. 

Rick Springfield is a great early 80s cheese-rocker. He had to be in there. No question. 

I wanted to get in The Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated and it flowed pretty well out of Led Zepplin's Rock And Roll. Not exactly "blends" but the transitions make sense. 

I have always loved The Devil Went Down to Georgia, and wanted to get it in, but it's such a weird record, constantly changing, I had to kinda use it as a tempo-shifting record, so I could get back to Fleetwood Mac and Orleans. I think I pulled it off. 

Once I had the lineup, I recorded the mix live, in one shot. That's the challenge for me, to make a clean, interesting mix of songs that are often very difficult to mix with. Live drummers vs DJs = not the business!

In keeping with the 8-Track Sessions theme, intros and exit "clips" from various 8-track videos I found on YouTube were used. 

So enjoy this mix, and feel free to share it around. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Totally Outrageous 80's

Some people make mixes to impress listeners. Some people make mixes strictly for marketing purposes. Others make mixes to impress other DJs. 

I just make these mixes to give myself something to listen to, or as a reminder of something fun. This is one of those times.  

I went to see The Go-Gos at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga CA on July 7th. I've always had a crush Belinda Carlisle since seeing her rolling in the surf in the Circle In The Sand video (1988?) and I've loved their music forever. They were doing a show with The B-52s... How could I miss that?

The B-52s still doin' it! 

The Go-Gos and B-52s doing Vacation together! 

So when The Go-Gos came on stage, they were announced as "the most successful female rock band of all time", and that got me thinking.. No way? I know they were big in the 80s, but there isn't another band bigger? 

Then as I went through my mental Rolodex of bands, I found there really wasn't. Heart? Maybe, but they aren't really a female band except for the Wilson sisters. Same thing with Joan Jett and Hole.  Pat Benatar, Lita Ford, Bonnie Tyler... Solo females with great careers, not a band. The Bangles could be touted, but they weren't as big as The Go-Gos. 

So once I had all these artists swirling around my head, I decided to make a mix of them all, but keep it in the 80s. 

The Go-Gos, Benatar, and Jett were obvious. Lita Ford, Laura Branigan not so much. I tried to round it off with Berlin (another 80s crush of mine... Terri Nunn), Cyndi Lauper and Blondie. 

I really wanted to include Heart, but by the 80's most of their hits were power ballads, and didn't fit. I wanted to keep a harder edge, more guitar-driven feel to the mix. Really show how these ladies rocked! 

And I knew I wanted Scandal's GoodBye To You to end it. Patti Smyth's voice was gonna take this mix home. 

The Jem artwork I found when searching for some 80s Women In Rock imagery, and once I had the artwork I had the title. 

Jem & The Holograms were truly outrageous!

This is just a bit on insight into how my mixes come together. They aren't just haphazardly thrown together, I actually put some thought into them, even if they are mostly just for me. 

As always, thanks to the mighty Mixcrate for being the canvas upon which I rest my art. 

Two-Day Whirlwind Tour - August 2 & 3, 2013

This weekend was going to be stressful, I knew it. I had two weddings, and a client meeting in between. I knew I could handle the gigs, even solo, it's just the timing and distance between the client meeting and the 2nd wedding was freaking me out.

For me, any wedding I get to cross this baby I just love. The drive into Sonoma is long, and can be slow at times, but the scenery is worth it. Literally an hour outside the city is some of the most beautiful countryside around. Ahh, the diversity of California!

My first event of the weekend was at the Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma, a winery with these detailed grounds and barns. Very rustic, but with a modern flair. 

The drive up was smooth, no traffic. I hit Sonoma, and checked in my room at the Four Sisters' Inn. Really nice room with a small deck, and excellent accommodations. Kinda awkward checking into what clearly is a couples' destination all alone, though. 

I didn't have much time to hang out, as I wanted to get to the venue and check it out, begin setting up. Timing is everything, and I hate being late for an event. I also wanted to make sure everything was perfect on the lighting. 

Pulling into the Cornerstone Gardens was like pulling into a mall almost. It didn't have that off-the-grid winery feeling, and didn't look it either. Sure there were rows of grapes on either side, but the modern buildings gave away the uniqueness of this place. 

I soon located the Barn on the grounds where the main dancing portion of the night would be, as well as the bulk of my gear. 

I unloaded and packed what I could onto my handy Rock N Roller hand truck. DJs: this thing is a god-send. Folds up nice enough to fit easily in the truck, but can carry almost a full gigs worth of gear on it in one trip! 

For this gig I brought two QSC K12s and a Mackie Subwoofer for the main hall, along with my Pioneer DDJ-SX in its black console. 12 Chauvet SlimPar 56s for uplights, some dance effect lighting and a gobo wash of stars for the dancefloor were all the lighting I needed. The barn had some white Christmas-tree lights strung lengthwise and some pink lanterns to match the decor of the event. I also brought my home-modified light-up facade that hides the DJ console and all the wiring (and snacks I hide in the booth) 

For the cocktail area outside the barn I just setup a single JBL Eon, to be connected to an iPod later. The cocktail tables and bars were being set and decorated as I set up, and it's always funny to hear the catering staff catch up about drama at past events. 

In yet another area, near a small stream and a lily pond, was the ceremony area. Really pretty setting! The chairs were already set, and this sign was hung from one by the aisle. 

I thought it was a nice sentiment. 

I set up another JBL Eon, a small Mackie soundboard and a wireless mic with a lavalier to attach to the Officiant's outfit. 

The backdrop for the ceremony was a picture frame, which I thought was pretty sweet. 

The ceremony went off without a hitch. The Officiant handled the ceremony, the bride looked amazing, and the music was perfect! The bride entered to the love theme from The Princess Bride, and the recessional was John Williams' Throne Room Scene from the end of Star Wars. 

The guests made their way to the cocktail area, and as they did I took down my ceremony system, and wheeled it down the "road" a bit to the large tent where dinner would be held. 

The Grand Entrance and the toasts would be at the dinner tent, so I needed a wireless mic and sound system there as well. 

After the bridal party intros (Start Me Up- Rolling Stones) an excellent dinner, and some fun toasts the guests headed back over the barn for the First Dance (She's Got A Way - Billy Joel) and partied the night away! 

Another successful event! Congratulations to Julie & Chris


After retiring to my room to sleep, the next morning I headed to The Mertiage Resort and Spa for a meeting with a client and a venue walk-thru. 

The ceremony will be held on a brand new deck that overlooks lush fields of grapes and the rolling hills of Napa. 

The reception itself would be held in the resort's Wine Cave

There was a religious ceremony going on in the Wine Cave, so we couldn't really look around too much, but I saw what I needed. Another few minutes discussing details with the clients, and I headed towards Redwood City for another ceremony and reception. 

The timing here was the stressful part. I had to set up for the ceremony in one place and the reception in another place 20 minutes away. Normally I would have help, but Spintronix was already doing 3 other weddings that day so I was solo again. 

I got to the Pulgas Water Temple for the ceremony setup, only to find this: 

That's not good. So I headed over the the other venue. I figured I could load my gear in there, set up a bit, then head back for the ceremony. Nope. The venue wouldn't let me in until 2pm, well after the ceremony was supposed to start. 

So I headed back to Pulgas, and finally at  1:15 a ranger came and opened the gate. I had ten minutes before the guests were supposed to start arriving. 

I got the ceremony sound system ready in record time. Just a single QSC, board, and wireless mics. Music by The Vitamin String Quartet for the pre-ceremony. 

After the ceremony I headed back to the other venue, the Arillaga Family Center in Menlo Park. 

I had to setup in the main dining room while the catering staff setup tables, and early guests milled about. Not the ideal situation, but no one seemed to mind. 

The Bridal Party was introduced to a cover of AC/DC's Back In Black by the Vitamin String Quartet. After a buffet dinner and toasts, the couple cut the cake and shared their first dance in the courtyard. I had setup two speakers outside the courtyard for dancing and one inside the dining area for toasts and dinner music. 

The first dance was Songbird - Eva Cassidy.  From there the guests partied away to Motown, pop, Top-40 and some 90s jams. 

Congratulations Anna & Michael

Whew! Pulled it off.  Next weekend I head to Santa Cruz for what is sure to be the wildest wedding of the year! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Scotty Fox - Adventures in WeddingLand

So it's been a long time since I've touched this blog, and I think it's past overdue I start keeping a record of all these wedding gigs I've been doing.  Pretty much every Saturday now I have a wedding booked, and most are really fun. Some are more work than others, but all in all I have to say they are all pretty successful.

I think I will use this blog as my personal diary of these gigs. I will also post my mixes from along with stories and info about the mixes. 

Stay tuned.....