Q. From the recent changes in your Las Vegas Show Bands and Variety Acts pages, it would seem that DLE is going “whole hog” in the promotion of what appear to be top notch show bands as well as Celebrity impersonators known as tribute artists and lookalikes. What caused you to do this at a time when so many businesses are cutting back?
A. An excellent perception on your part!
That is precisely what has happened and IS happening at DLE–we are growing while others in the business are fading and for a couple of reasons. First, “When times get tough, the tough get going!” meaning that you don’t sit back on your laurels and wallow in self-pity! You try to create a business that is 1) unique, 2) catches people’s interest and most importantly 3) offers the highest quality talent available. I’m not talking about simply listing every band and act in town (which some of our competitors do).
We are very selective at DLE! We’ve “done your homework” for you, our clients! We’ve researched and found the best bands and variety acts out there, vetted them and are now presenting them to you. This is an ongoing process and will continue as we find exceptional bands and variety acts for our clients.
Q. Speaking of Celebrities and headliners, can you give us a list of the Celebrities and headliners you offer your clients?
A. Sure, but not here. Just think of a Celebrity or headliner you want to hire for your event. If you have multiple Celebrities or headliners you would want to choose from, that’s even better because there’s a good chance one of them either isn’t going to be available on your event date or will be beyond your budget. A recent DLE wedding client insisted on having a major Celebrity pop star sing at her wedding ceremony. I told her that even if the Celebrity was free that day, she might still not want to sing at the ceremony–not even for a million dollars. I was right, and the client was devastated. I doubt she’s a fan of that star now.
Anyway, the point is…it can be very disappointing and disolusioning if the Celebrity or headliner you want for your event is unavailable for whatever reason. Some Celebrities won’t perform on certain days and insist on flying in on their private jets. Others don’t do keynote speeches, even if big money is put on the table. Some are very fickle and that’s their prerogative, so it’s always good to have more than one or two choices.
Q. In your second paragraph of text on this site’s Celebrity Headliners page, you make the point that Celebrity performance prices may go higher than was initially quoted. Doesn’t this make it nearly impossible to book a Celebrity or headliner if the price keeps changing?
A. That’s where a company like DLE comes in! That’s part of the reason we were created and believe me, given the hours and hours of negotiations and planning spent on your event, we definitely “earn our keep”! We not only bring together quality clients with quality Celebrities and headliners, but we negotiate directly with the Celebrity’s booking agent for our clients and keep the costs as low as possible. We also work closely with the Celebrity’s road manager regarding all aspects of the event. In the event of a price increase after the initial quote, there are ways to “minimize” the increase that may be acceptable to the Celebrity and his/her agent.
That is part of our expertise at DLE.
Q. Do prospective bridal couples really have to see bands in person before making their decision to book?
A. The answer, in our opinion, is “No!” Why? It’s simple. Some DLE bands (and we will tell you “which ones” as a matter of professional courtesy) have had “0” changes in personnel since the recording of their demo tracks. Why then should they have to be seen in order for the client to book them? Answer: They don’t! The biggest concern of our prospective wedding clients seems to be changes in the front line (vocalists)–if they would be the same fine vocalists in the bands that these shopping clients liked when they heard the bands’ tracks or saw and heard on the videos at DLE.
Moreover, the changes in personnel that have occurred in DLE bands have almost always been for the better. This is almost always the case with quality bands (the fact that replacement vocalists are usually better than the original ones) and that is what we represent and offer our clients–quality bands!
All DLE bands have quality substitute vocalists and sidemen (musicians) to replace those who may become ill and can’t perform. One of our Southern California show bands has over 23 female lead vocalists to select from, all of them first-rate!
For potential clients looking for “thank yous” from past DLE clients, they should visit our Client Comments page.
Another important thing for bridal couples and corporate event planners to consider when insisting on seeing a particular band in person or putting off making their decision on a band for months and months. We cannot hold a band for more than a few weeks. As a result, the wavering client may lose out on contracting that band. Most DLE bands are in demand bands that book early in the year or in the previous year.
We hope the above information is useful in our clients’ decision-making regarding dance bands for their events.
Q. What is the difference between a corporate dance show band and a cover band?
A. A cover band has little or no front-line choreography or costume changes between sets.
A show band is a “show” band because choreography and costume changes are generally an integral part of its performance. Most show bands perform all dance styles (including swing) and at a very high quality level. They also “tailor” their performances to the client’s event theme needs and tend to be more active, “audience participation” bands (where various front line band members will go out into the convention or party dance floor, etc.).
Cover bands known as “variety dance bands” perform a variety of dance styles, such as R and B, Disco, Standards, Jump blues, 80s, 90s and some 2000s covers, tend to dress formally and are not necessarily “high energy”.
Q. Why is there a preponderance of show bands in Southern California and so few show bands in other parts of the country?
A. Good question! They like living in Southern California and there are more opportunities for bookings for them there.
In our opinion, the Las Vegas local cover band scene has gotten worse (if that’s possible) due to the low pay and long, late-night hours required of steady bands by the casinos as well as the control of certain venues by agents. This along with the Southern California climate has prevented the quality show bands from relocating to Las Vegas.
However, a new and highly-talented show band (modeled after The KS Show Band of Southern California) has just hit the local Las Vegas band scene–The KS Show Band-Las Vegas. They are the only true show band in Las Vegas and hiring them eliminates the need to fly in a band, provide sound, hotel rooms, ground transportation, etc. They go from a 7-piece with a three-female vocalist front line to a 17-piece. Their promo video will be available soon.
Q. Why do some dance bands feature only female front line vocalists and others are strictly “all male” bands? And, why do the L.A. / San Diego dance bands seem to have more female front line vocalists than do dance bands in other parts of the country?
A. Actually, you have just hit upon a similar question that we are hearing about nearly every day from clients–“Does the band have female lead vocalists?” or the comment, “We prefer that the Band has a female vocalist.” Because of the popularity of female singers in 80s and 90s Alternative and Current Pop and Rock music, there seems to be at least one female lead vocalist–and sometimes two or three–in almost every L.A.-San Diego cover band. This is in part because of the “competition” which is fierce in So. Cal. One band puts up three female vocalists–and their competitors do likewise! But don’t forget–a lot of songs require more than one female vocalist, harmony-wise. Also, many show bands travel to Asia and other parts of the world where American female lead vocalists are required for a band to get a touring contract.
Given the popularity of our Southern California corporate dance show bands (most of them with a three-female vocalist front line), it would follow that female lead vocalists are necessary to the success of California dance cover bands.
Q. But our wedding costs are so high! The caterer is over $15,000, the wedding dress, the designer cake, the florist, the videographer, the photographer–help!!
A. We completely understand and sympathize! So, let’s show what a super planner and cost-cutter you are by breaking it down together, okay?
The catering will eat up the majority of your wedding money–that’s a given. This is why wedding couples generally plan the music last and have the least amount of money to spend on it, which is unfortunate. They either go with a DJ (boring!) or a second or third-rate low-priced cover band (worse, yet) and their family and guests have a less than enjoyable 4 hours of dance time.
There are things you can do, however, that will allow you to afford a quality dance band like a DLE show band. Our suggestion is to “trim the fat” out of the catering–opt for salmon and chicken instead of lamb or filet mignon–and consider either a buffet style (much cheaper by requiring fewer wait staff) or a simple three-course, sit-down dinner–and consider planning the wedding yourself (without a planner). If you can’t wear your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress (as many brides wish to do), buy a reasonably priced one. Since you’ll never wear it again, why waste $5,000 or more on a dress? Now, hopefully, you’ve got some extra cash for either a string quartet, harp and flute duo or a Modern classical concert guitarist as well as a fun variety dance band…or perhaps even a nationally-ranked show band!
The point is, there are many areas of the wedding you can visit for cost-cutting. Remember this–the reception-dance is going to go on for over 4 hours! The quality of the performance of music played and sung is what is going to make the wedding a total success or a failure. The dinner is only a portion of the evening. Ask yourself this question: Are your guests going to remember the fried calamari and the duck pate they ate–or are they going to remember the hot dance band that kept them on the dance floor the entire evening?
Q. Why do show bands cost so much and why won’t they come down on their prices?
A. Ouch! You’ve touched a raw nerve. We could “take the Fifth”on this question, but we’ll try to answer.
In part, it is the law of supply and demand. The “in demand” bands generally charge the highest rate. So do the most talented, but not always. A lot has to do with the agency, if any, involved. And, some prices include referral fees. As everyone knows, the cost of living is extremely high in California, far higher than most places in the U.S. so California dance bands–particularly show bands–have to charge more than, say, many Midwest bands. Most bands and ensembles we work with have not increased their fees in years. What has happened is…the planners who have contacted DLE have been told to reduce what they spend on their events, be they weddings or corporate events. The ensemble musician or band musician has rent or mortgage to pay, too. We often bring up “the plumber comparison”–where a plumber keeps faithful to his union scale and charges a certain price for a certain kind of work or for a specified number of hours. You don’t often find plumbers lowering their rates but handymen do because they’re not part of a union. Plumber’s rates keep going higher and higher. You can go with a non-Union plumber or handyman but will you get the same quality? Perhaps. It’s a gamble.
There are always groups that will play for less but if you’re looking for quality vocals, musicianship and performance, DLE show bands are truly the only way to go if you’re looking for a great cover band!
Q. Why do some bands have videos and others only CD demos? Why do so many videos have “lip synching”? Why aren’t they “live” performance clips? How do I know the band still looks like that and sounds like that?
A. In part, it’s a “regional” thing. For instance, very few bands in the San Francisco Bay Area have quality video demos, hence they are difficult to book these days as clients insist on a video or seeing the band perform live. Seeing a band live is rarely possible with most show groups as they are not “club bands” and wedding clients and corporate clients don’t usually allow (potential new clients) strangers to attend their private receptions.
Seeing a band live is thus not always an option, making a quality video supremely important. Lip synching–instead of “live” video and audio recordings–is done because the audio portion of a video is almost always done in the best audio surroundings–in the recording studio. The video portion, whether it is “staged” (lip synching) or natural, allows the viewer to at least see what the band looks like. Have you ever rented or taken a video cam to a musical event, where the band is a city block from the camera’s (cheap) stereo microphone? All you get is noise from waiters and guests and perhaps some drums and “floating vocals” but no bass and very poor overall audio quality. Now you can see why a live video is virtually impossible to get a quality audio track from and why bands almost always opt for the recording the audio in-studio. On “how a particular band looks today”, you don’t know unless you’ve seen them live. and as I’ve mentioned in other sections of this FAQ page, vocalists can be part of more than one group or tour with headliners (as The SJ Show Band’s “Laura” who tours with Iglesias). Thus, a band may have a different female vocalist from one week to another…but the quality doesn’t necessarily change.
An honest agent or bandleader will tell you, “This video is 10 years old”, “They have a different female lead vocalist, now”, etc. This question is a valid one though when you think about it, a band member’s different appearance–thinning hair, weight around the middle or a graying moustache–doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with his or her actual performance. But then again, it might!
Q. Why are some string ensembles and solo musicians pricier than others?
A. At DLE, the proof is in the pudding. Just like high quality dance bands, high quality string ensembles and solo musicians are in demand and charge accordingly–as are other performing artists who have been told (and who know) that they have exceptional talent. DLE has at least four Modern classical concert guitarists who make very good money playing concerts, but have to reduce their rates to accommodate wedding and party clients. Their rates may still be higher than others in their field, but considering that they are concert artists, like concert pianists, their rates are quite reasonable. They are “the best of the best”, in the top 15% of concert artists, worldwide.
Q. How come you know so much about performing, dance bands, Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area and Las Vegas?
A. Good question, and thanks for the compliment! We are first-class performers in our own right (cabaret duo, jazz trio and swing-jazz band). David is a longtime pianist and bandleader. He lived and performed as a musician for 14 years in Southern California (including Santa Barbara), then back in the Bay Area (for 19 years) as well as two years in New York (part of it at The Rainbow Room) and Connecticut. He has also managed restaurants, was a maitre d’ and captain in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara and knows how an event should run–smoothly and efficiently.