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Hot Press introduces you to the wedding photographers to watch in 2014. words Anne Sexton

The musician’s musicians

Pop quiz: What do David Gray, Sharon Corr, Damien Rice and the Godfather of Soul, Mr James Brown, have in common? The answer: A Few Good Men. If you want to wow your guests with serious musical credibility you’d be hard pressed to beat A Few Good Men. This four-piece bring serious energy and chemistry to the stage and between them the lads have worked with the cream of Irish musical talent and have performed for big names including Bono, The Edge, Jack Charlton and Giovanni Trapattoni. You can catch lead singer Glen Baker in the cinema soon. He’s playing the main character in Spider’s Trap, a new film by award-winning director Alan Walsh and four of his original songs feature on the soundtrack. The set-list is eclectic and includes popular hits from 1960s favourites such as Chuck Berry and The Temptations by way of The Beatles, Bowie, and the Boss as well as contemporary acts such as Adele, Avicii and the Arctic Monkeys. You can check out the band at their next public viewing from 10.30pm on Saturday, May 10 at the Carnegie Court Hotel in Swords.

Phone: 087 9741683 (Glen Baker)

Energetic antics with Aisling from The Voice of Ireland

If a party atmosphere is what you want — and why wouldn’t you? — Dublin’s All Talk are the answer to your wedding wishes. This seven-piece band is fronted by Aisling Connolly, who has a serious set of pipes as you’ll know if you caught her wowing the judges and the crowd on this year’s The Voice of Ireland. All Talk play soul, pop and rock ’n roll and are willing to tailor their set to your requirements. With a voice to give Adele a run for her money, Aisling can also perform at the church if you wish. The band are sought after session musicians who've worked with the likes of Jack L, The Hothouse Flowers and Declan O’Rourke. All Talk are known for their energetic shows and audience interaction and are much in demand as a party and wedding band. You don’t have to take our word for it — you can catch them at Quinlan's in Clondalkin village on May 2 from 10pm.

Phone: 085 283 5405 (Aisling Connolly)

All that jazz… and swing, dance and rock too

Voted last year’s RSVP magazine Wedding Band of the Year, the Bentley Boys are a three piece… no, an eight piece… no, make that a 14-piece band. Okay, let’s start again. The Bentley Boys are an eight-piece band that can be pared down to a trio for intimate weddings or if you fancy blowing off the roof, a full brass band can join the Bentleys onstage to give you a whopping ensemble experience. The regular band includes male and female vocals, guitar, bass or double bass, keyboards, drums, trumpet, trombone and saxophone. Best known for upbeat dance rhythms, the Bentley Boys run the gamut of genres from jazz to rock, swing, pop and current hits and are happy to work with you to find the perfect mix for your perfect day. Over the years, various members have worked with the likes of Amy Winehouse, PJ Harvey, Imelda May, Van Morrison, Mariah Carey, The Waterboys, Chaka Khan and James Taylor. Their next Dublin showcase takes place on May 7 from 7:30pm at the Hampton Hotel in Donnybrook or you can ask the band for a free demo CD through their website.

Phone: (01) 443 4336, (091) 442 350 or 086 774 4838

All kinds of everything

One of the hardest tasks in choosing a wedding band is making sure there's something for everyone to enjoy. Granny likes Sinatra, you like Swedish House Mafia and never the twain shall meet — except they can and do if Blacktye is performing. Blacktye are remarkable for the versatility of their sets and ability to switch genres with ease. Think chart, ceili, country, jazz, traditional, ballads, anthems, soul, funk, rock and pop. Vocalists Kim Hayden and Conor Ryan are joined by rapper Phil Campbell to create Jackson Five-like harmonies and are backed up with the tight rhythm section of Darragh Dennis on bass and drummer Graeme Stapleton. Blacktye have performed all over Ireland at government functions and events including Croke Park, Race Days at the Curragh and The Horse Show as well as corporate shindigs for the likes of Coca Cola, Microsoft, eBay, Failte Ireland, Twitter and Amazon. The band can also play at the church and drinks reception and offer a DJ service as well. Sweet!

Phone: 086 770 2565

From the ceremony to the closing song

Do you fancy walking up the aisle to a waltz? How about something from the legendary swoonster Barry White, or perhaps Daft Punk? 'Here Comes The Bride' may be traditional but when you have the option of live music at your ceremony, you might as well shake things up. The Good Guys are professional session musos and were voted Wedding Band of the Year in 2013 by WeddingsOnline which is no mean feat. They were recently chosen by students to play at the Trinity Ball, which is a tough crowd to please! The Good Guys have played at SXSW in Austin, the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Beijing, the Albert Hall in London and the National Concert Hall in Dublin. The band’s repertoire covers everything from contemporary to country, rock, disco, jazz, traditional waltz, and soul. They can perform all day and night if you wish — from music at the ceremony and cocktail reception as well as providing the evening entertainment and ending the night with their DJ service.

Phone: 086106 1282 (Niamh)

Amplified acoustics and original arrangements

As you might guess from the name, the Hitmen Trio are three men who play hits. Ta dah! What’s less obvious is that this is a wedding band with a difference. The Hitmen Trio use amplified acoustic instruments, creative, original arrangements and mash-ups to give well-loved songs a unique makeover. This year they won the Judges’ Commendation for Wedding Band of the Year at the awards and were nominated for the Brides’ Choice award. The band are known for their harmony vocals and use guitar and piano to create an upbeat yet intimate sound. Roly Smyth, Cian Mekitarian and Romain Piccolo are versatile virtuoso players; their shows have so much energy and passion you’d be forgiven for thinking there were twice as many onstage. Their set includes Calvin Harris, Daft Punk, Rodrigo y Gabriella, and Johnny Cash as well as a waltz or two for older guests. You can book them for the whole day — they’ll play instrumentals or religious and traditional music at the ceremony and spin the tracks after the main show as well. The Hitmen Trio come with an official seal of approval from some of Ireland’s most chichi wedding venues, such as the K Club, the Four Seasons, Brook Lodge, Killiney Castle, Castle Leslie, Lyons Estate, and Dunbrody House.

Phone: 086 805 8777 (Roly), 087 9527624 (Cian), 085 1624193 (Romain)

Indie faves and classic choons

There’s the special kind of love you have when you find Mr or Ms Right, and then there’s the kind of love that bonds four friends at the tender age of 14. The Panoramics are Jesse Booth, Trevor Gyves, Graham Coe and Colin Downey and they’ve been playing music together since they were nippers in short pants. This aw-shucks story means the band have the kind of tightness you can only achieve when musicians have been playing together for years. The Panoramics' speciality is indie favourites such as the Pixies, The Strokes, The Cure and The Smiths, but the band also play classics from the 1950s onwards and contemporary hits so there’s a little bit of everything on offer. As well as the usual guitar, drums and bass you would expect, the set includes mandolin, keyboard, and harmonica to keep things interesting. The next Panoramics showcase is on Sunday, June 13 (lucky for some!) at Weirs Pub in Dun Laoghaire from 9pm.

Phone: 087 900 8417 (Jessie), 086 3821750 (Trevor), 087 9660691 (Graham)

Classics and chart hits from Elvis to Elbow

Quantum are a really powerful, tight, energetic four-piece from Dublin. They're versatile, top-quality professional musicians, with an extensive set-list of pop and rock classics from the 1960s to the present day at their fingertips (all the big names are in there), as well as popular Irish artists like Thin Lizzy, U2 and (if it’s a knees-up you want) The Saw Doctors. Lead singer Stephen Geraghty has a superb voice, capable of handling even the demands of a soul classic like James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good’. They will tailor the tunes to suit the occasion: couples are encouraged to create their own mix-and-match playlists. As a guarantee of satisfaction, Quantum have a “try before you buy” policy, performing a showcase once a month at the Green Isle Hotel in Clondalkin. Alternatively, they’ll arrange for you to see them play at a wedding closer to home. With over seven years experience, Quantum have the musical chops, and the experience, to keep guests of all ages dancing. 

Phone: 087-2498130 (Stephen Geraghty)

Vibrant sounds from one of Ireland’s most popular wedding bands

Competition between wedding bands is fierce, even cut-throat, and it takes real talent to rise to the top. The Suite is one of the busiest wedding bands in the country so you’ll need to be quick off the mark to book them. This four-piece have been playing music together since school and as a result, these guys have a well-honed set and bring a vibrant, fun atmosphere to all their performances. The Suite have a huge catalogue of wedding songs and party hits — literally from A to Z with Adele and The Zutons both featuring — and they're more than happy to add your special song to the list. The Suite also offer pre-dinner music and a professional DJ service so they are a one-stop-shop for your big day’s entertainment needs. The Suite’s next showcase takes place on May 4 between 6pm and 6.45pm at the CityWest Hotel in Dublin.

Tel: 086 865 0217 (Tina Kelly)

Lounge virtuosos as smooth as Ole Blue Eyes himself

And now for something completely different…. A wedding band doesn’t necessarily have to be a wedding band, and as the name suggests The Velvet Lounge Band bring a distinctive twist to classics and contemporary hits, with upbeat new arrangements from musical director and all-round virtuoso Cian Boylan. Their set features Rat Pack classics and 1960s lounge grooves as well as their lounge-style versions of contemporary artists such as The Strokes, Oasis, Moloko, Radiohead and The Cure. Frontman Cormac Kenevey is signed with the UK jazz label Candid Records, home to Jamie Cullum, and has released two critically-acclaimed albums, while Boylan has worked with Duke Special, Van Morrison, Cathy Davey, Robin Gibb and Leann Rimes to name a few. The Velvets are worth seeing even without impending nuptials on your horizon. You can catch them from 10pm on Friday May 2 at the Westin Hotel’s Mint Bar on Westmoreland Street.

Phone: 087 221 6788 (Cian Boylan), 087 2865423 (Cormac Kenevey)

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