Events are all about the experience, and in the last couple of years the trends have been centred around having every detail tailored to work in perfect synergy. This has definitely pushed the benchmark for events to a new high, and in amongst the myriad of great events, you still want yours to stand out and be remembered. One way of doing that is by adding great, but unusual entertainment. Here are Headliner’s top ten suggestions.
1. Go mobile
No, we’re not suggesting you blast out music from your smartphone. We’re saying bring the entertainment to the audience. Headliner’s Busking Bellas are a brilliant example of how this can add great value to an event. The acoustic trio wanders around your venue serenading a small group of guests, before moving on to the next group. Having the entertainment come to you makes the experience far more personal, and you might even feel a bit special.
2. It’s all about style, style, style
You don’t need to hire a band using buckets as drums to make an experience different. Sometimes all you need is a strong, well thought out style. There has been an increase in both vintage themed parties and bands, but some manage to make it just that little bit more special than the rest; cue Four Femmes on the Thames. These ladies are not playing around; from their immaculate 40s outfits to their charismatic performances, Four Femmes on the Thames have mastered the art of a vintage show. If you’re turning the clock back for your event, make sure the entertainment has the era down to a tee.
3. Go for props
Whether it’s with a wig, or a fur lined, gold lamé suit, do it with props. We all love good old boogie songs, pub belters and lighter wavers (not to be confused with lightsabers; that’s a completely different ball game). Boogie can often feel cheesy and you may fear this choice won’t offer your guests a new experience – until now – Uncle Funk the Boogie Wonderband has found a stellar way to breathe new life into both boogie and woogie. By embracing the cheese and layering it with even more of the good stuff, they have created an absolutely hilarious and wholeheartedly fun experience. We’re talking pink wigs, glitter, more glitter and enough lights for a Heathrow runway.
4. Go for a two-in-one
Remember what we said earlier about buckets? Well, you don’t need a bucket, but it doesn’t necessarily hurt. Barcelona based Residual Gurus turn their shows into a visual extravaganza by recycling materials to build their own instruments. The rhythm driven group is perfect if you’re having an outdoor event, or an event where you want a strong focal point. The combination of music performance and art installation they bring definitely puts them in our top ten.
5. Light it up
Original bands can work just as well for private and corporate parties as cover bands. Avec Sans is a killer electronic-pop duo from London, and as with every other artist in this list they have a secret weapon in their arsenal. Their laptop-centric instruments are features in themselves, but the duo has also hacked their Novation Launchpads to create a one of a kind light show tailored to their songs. This goes to show that it’s not only the music that can set an original band apart and make them unusual; look at every aspect of a band’s performance to enusre you find the perfect match.
6. Push musical boundaries
If a wig can do the trick, so can a hat…or a sombrero to be specific. As before, it all comes down to style and details, so by combining this with a more unusual genre, you are on to a sure winner. Your guests may attend many events, and the last thing you want is for them to have heard “Hello” or “Girl on Fire” seven times in the last month. Going for something like an oompah or mariachi band lets you avoid song fatigue. Even if they cover pop and chart toppers, like Beato Burrito does, their versions are bound to mix things up a bit.
7. Pipe up!
Continuing down the route of unusual music, why not go for bagpipes? Rich Gordon has been playing the Highland Bagpipes since 1996, performing at everything from festivals, to weddings and sport events. It’s not only the bagpipes that look cool; the outfit that goes with it does the trick too.
8. The little things
If bagpipes are not quite your style then maybe ukuleles are. Headliner band Ukes of Hazzard puts a ukulele spin on chart toppers and well-known tunes. For some events a musical art installation is taking it just a bit too far, but who can resist a group of ukulele playing chaps? This is another example of how details can make all the difference, making an act unique.
9. Classic doesn’t have to mean Beethoven
Classical in the context of music automatically makes many of us think of Vivaldi, Grieg, Mozart and the like. It’s worth remembering that other parts of the world have their own version of classical music, and it can be just as atmospheric as Clair de Lune or In the Hall of the Mountain King. Sumkali consists of Indian and American players, who have skilfully fused classical Indian tunes with jazz and other styles. If that’s not brilliantly unusual, we don’t know what is.
10. A way with words
We’re finishing this list off with a man who invented a whole new genre! Ever heard of chap hop? The superb Mr B Gentleman Rhymer popularised this new craze, which consists of giving well known hip hop tunes a lyrical spring clean.
There you go, Headliner’s top 10 for unusual live music entertainment. Whether it made you want to hire some out of the ordinary acts for you next event, or just left you with a desire to buy a gigantic sombrero or pink wig, we hope you enjoyed it!