The latest from the Doctor Chocolate function band.

Band news

Wedding Entertainment

Wedding Entertainment

Are you planning your wedding in 2017 or 2018?  Have you booked your evening entertainment yet?  If you are looking to book your wedding entertainment then contact us for a bespoke quote.

This may be the only time you have considered any form of entertainment for any event and you may not know where to start with it all.  Doctor Chocolate are an established and reliable wedding band and will take the hassle and worry out of organising your wedding entertainment away.

From the moment you first contact the band we will give you expert advice and guidance to help you through the process.  Here are a few things to consider when choosing your wedding music:

What kind of entertainment do you want?
Are you looking for musicians who can play whilst you walk down the aisle or sign the register in the daytime?  We can help as we have members in the band that can perform this for you: solo keyboards, trumpet, saxophonist, guitarist: duets of keys and vocals, guitar and vocals; a trombone quintet perhaps?

Are you wanting some light music played after the ceremony in the marquee as your guests enjoy some light refreshments and drinks whilst the photographs are taken?
We can provide anything from vocalists to steel bands and trombone quintets as well as string quartets.

Do you want to get the party started in the evening and have a live band to entertain your guests?
We can certainly help here as Doctor Chocolate have played for hundreds of weddings over the years and have an excellent reputation and following.  What’s more, we have never let a client down so you can be sure of our 100% reliability.  With the best songs in our sets, an awesome brass section, lively and interactive vocalists and a tight rhythm section we will pack the dance floor all evening.

Do you need a DJ?
We often find that when Doctor Chocolate are booked as your wedding band and wedding entertainment you won’t need a DJ as well.  We come with an ipod rammed with several playlists so we can play recorded music whilst the band are not performing – from background music whilst guests mingle to party sets later in the evening and inbetween our sets.  So you could save yourself several hundred pounds which you could use towards your honeymoon instead of a DJ if you book Doctor Chocolate.  Of course – if you are planning on partying until the early hours then we would recommend a DJ as well to take you all into the next morning!

What budget do you have to spend?
The budget you have available for music and evening wedding entertainment is one of the biggest considerations.  Often couples are happy to spend thousands on a marquee and decorations but sadly will often skimp on the wedding entertainment in the evening.  However, this isn’t recommended as the evening entertainment can make or break the whole event.  There are lots of bands available for weddings and it is a competitive area.  You can expect to spend between £900 and £1650 on a 4 piece band.  However, Doctor Chocolate are a 9-piece band with sound engineer (10 in the team in total) and our prices start at £1650.00 for a local event.  This is excellent value for money for a band of our size, genre, experience and performance.  You may think that is a lot of money to spend on a wedding band but it is highly competitive and you are guaranteed that your guests will come away from the day/evening and will remember your wedding for years to come!  Please don’t skimp on the entertainment as having an average band who are inexperienced will not give you the party you need for such an incredible day and experience.

What type of music do you like?
When considering a wedding band for your wedding entertainment you may think that your choice of heavy metal or swing for example will work for all your guests.  You need to consider that you have guests of different ages, locations and with very different musical tastes and genres that they like.  Whilst you may want heavy metal all night long your guests may not.  We would recommend you considering that your wedding band should play a really good mix and balance of different songs/genres so that there will be something in there for all your guests and to keep that dance floor full.  Otherwise you will find a lot of the guests leaving early and not enjoying the band chosen.  Doctor Chocolate have the best playlists and the best songs from the 1960’s to present day chart hits in our repertoire and we mix them up regularly to ensure there is always something for everyone.

Doctor Chocolate have performed at hundreds of weddings all over the UK over the past 25 years.  We have never let a client down and have always packed a dance floor and ensured that we give you and your guests a fantastic night of interactive music and entertainment and that any wedding we attend is awesome! Contact us for more information.

New Guitarist Joins Doctor...

New Guitarist Joins Doctor Chocolate

Doctor Chocolate is delighted to introduce you to our newest band member Graham on guitar.  Graham joined the team in February 2017 and we couldn’t be happier he is in the band.  An awesome guitarist and a thoroughly lovely guy too!

Graham is a popular and highly regarded musician in the South West and he performs with many different bands in the area.  We are pleased that he agreed to join us and he is now a permanent member of Doctor Chocolate.  With awesome technique and riffs on guitar he is definitely a fantastic addition to the band.

New Bass Player joins Doctor...

New Bass Player joins Doctor Chocolate

Doctor Chocolate is the ultimate wedding, party and function band in the south west and we are pleased to introduce you to the newest band member who joins us on bass:  Jo Line.

Jo is an accomplished and daptable musician playing the bass guitar, saxophone, keyboards and also covering vocal harmonies too.  We are delighted that Jo is joining us as a permanent member of the band for 2017 and beyond and look forward to rehearsing some new numbers soon.

Jo has played with Doctor Chocolate on many occasions and is a regular “dep” on saxophone covering our Steve Hacking when he is away on other events or touring.  So Jo knows our sets well and will fit in straight away.

Fond Farewell to our Bass...

Fond Farewell to our Bass Player

In March this year the Choccies said a fond farewell to one of the long-standing members of the band.

Newts was one of the original members of Doctor Chocolate and he had been with the band for some 20 years.  A life sentence to some!

Over the years Paul said he had loved performing with such an awesome party, function and wedding band and had played at some of the most amazing weddings, met some incredible people and saw inside some fantastic venues all over the UK and abroad.  But, his vintage double denim was calling him and his heart was taking him back to his rocky musical roots where he would be performing in smaller pub venues and playing more rocky numbers (reminding him of his mis-spent youth and heady days once again).

We were all sad to see Paul go and we will of course miss his witty sense of humour in the band room but we are sure he will be back to dep with us again in the future if needed – so we may not have seen the last of him playing with the Chocs just yet!

Doctor Chocolate 2017 –...

Doctor Chocolate 2017 – A new frontman

Doctor Chocolate are an established 9 piece live wedding, party and function band.  At the start of 2017 we began our search for a new frontman to join us and take the band to the next level of sound and performance.  2017 is our 25th year in the business (and in all that time we have never let a client down which is amazing!) and we wanted a frontman with some pizazz, style and who would oooooze sophistication.  So we began our search for an awesome frontman.

Firstly we had to think about where to start looking.  We knew lots of singers and vocalists in the area but for one reason or another we needed to look outside the immediate area and look further afield.  So the band members sat down and came up with a list of what it was we were looking for and then worked out where we should throw our nets to grab someone awesome.

Read more about Doctor Chocolate's New Frontman

We focussed on social media and mainly facebook sites for musicians and, as a result we received some great applications and links to youtube examples. If you are applying for a role in a band remember that it’s always a great idea to include any links you have that will show your skills and your experience. If you don’t, then it makes it really difficult for a band to shortlist you and invite you along to audition.  We found a lot of applications hadn’t listed any links so this made it difficult to know if they would suit the band or not – we didn’t want to spend a week auditioning – we had to start shortlisting first.

Doctor Chocolate discussed how we would know who the best candidate would be from the applications. The links on youtube would just show the vocal ability of the candidate but they wouldn’t give us an example of the showmanship/experience as a frontman and talking to the audience which we consider to be an essential part of the role – you can’t interact with the audience if you have a front man who doesn’t want to talk to the audience.

One of our existing band members suggested that we hold an evening in a local venue and invite along everyone who was shortlisted to join the band on stage and sing two to three numbers – engaging with the audience in between each one and introducing the numbers. We were planning to invite along our friends, family, previous clients and potential future clients to get their opinions too and do an X Factor/The Voice style audition in a live environment.

This was all going along smoothly until we received an interest from a couple of frontmen who had worked with the band previously.  That threw a spanner in the works and the band decided to hold a curry night so we could discuss the applications and the way forward…. well, what better way to have a band meeting?

We met up one chilly evening in January and sat down to go through all the applications and you tube links. After a couple of hours it became clear to us all that there was only one option available from all the applications received and a unanimous decision was made to offer the job immediately to the best candidate.  No audition was needed as we had already seen first hand the quality and callibre of the applicant.

We would therefore like to introduce you all to our new frontman. The illustrious, the smooth, the suave, the sophisticated Gavin Lazarus.  Gavin joined us in March and we started with a few rehearsals to bring him up to speed with the current set and then a couple of rehearsals to introduce some new numbers for a fresher more funkier set moving forward.

Gavin has a fantastic vocal range and can adapt his vocals to suit many different styles so we can try a few new genres over the coming months. In addition he has a lovely way of engaging with the audience, is confident and has a great (albeit cheeky) sense of humour!

Welcome Gavin to Team Choc and our 9 piece live band (10 if you include our amazing sound engineer as well)! You’ll all have an opportunity to meet and hear Gavin at some of our events in 2017.

If you are interested in booking the band please get in contact. We’d love to hear from you and quote for your event! We always recommend that you see/hear any band before booking them and we rehearse once a month so you can come along to a rehearsal and meet everyone! So call us today and have a chat about your event and ideas!

Wedding Band – SW...

Wedding Band – SW Wedding Awards

Doctor Chocolate had been entered into the wedding band award in the prestigious South West Wedding Awards for 2016 and we were successful in being one of the finalists!

The awards ceremony was to be held in Plymouth and we attended on a cold, wet January evening to see if we would be successful in actually winning.  This is the first time we’ve ever been entered into a wedding award so we were excited to see what would happen.

Read more about the award and our clients feedback/testimonials

You could only vote for us if you had booked us for a wedding in 2016. After voting the judges would tot up the number of votes and then view our website and those with the most votes would win. Of course, we wouldn’t have as many votes as say a 3 piece party band or a wedding soloist or a string quartet.

Doctor Chocolate are a 9 piece band so we average around 45 bookings a year for weddings, corporate, fundraisers etc (only wedding bookings were allowed to vote for this award). Not all couples have the budget or the venue size to accommodate us but we were really pleased with the number of our clients who took the time and trouble to follow the link and vote!

Sadly we didn’t win this year but we had a great night and we received a copy of the comments from those who voted (and had booked us previously).

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who voted and said such lovely comments about the band. This is our 25th year in the music business and to still be going after all this time is a fantastic achievement and says a lot about our professionalism and attention to detail.

So if you are looking for a wedding band then please get in contact – don’t take our word for how good we are – here’s a few comments we received from the voting and our clients:

“They were the ultimate professionals from taking my initial enquiry through to packing up at the end of the event and all the hundreds I sent them in between! They performed with panache in less than an ideal environment. They were flexible then timings went to pot and they were such fun! They really did get everyone dancing even those that are confirmed ‘don’t dance’ers! All our guests were mightily impressed and probably talked about them long after all the fuss about the bride and groom died down! Really, everyone at our wedding, including the venue owners had nothing but praise for these guys! Totally worth the expense!”

“The most accommodating fantastic group I have ever seen, they worked with us to ensure our guests enjoyed a fantastic evenings entertainment.”

“Sarah and the band of DR Chocolate really make your wedding go with a swing. Our wedding guests were constantly on the dance floor. Sarah has an abundance of energy and ensures that you receive 150% of fun, perfection and great musicians. They are a fantastic band that We would highly recommend DR chocolate as they never fail to provide 5 star entertainment.”

“Absolutely outstanding band, very professional, great fun & fabulous musicians. We all had a brilliant night with Doctor Chocolate”

“Great band everyone loved them and they were amazing to deal with. Really got the party going.”

“Absolutely fabulous band – great interaction with all the party goers and they create a brilliant atmosphere. Everyone that attended our wedding were really impressed. The Booking process and communication with the band made it very easy and stress-free.”

“Amazing! We couldn’t have asked for more, especially working with my husband to practice the first ‘song’.”

“Really good party band. A great night”

“Absolutely amazing from the first phone call to the night itself. Their crowd interaction and experience was second to none and also dealt with a fussy venue owner with a limiter Excellent musical ability and singing. Truly a brilliant wedding band!”

“Excellent 9 piece band. Brilliant feedback from all the guests at the wedding reception. A most memorable evening had by all and Dr Chocolate were very professional and slick in their performance. A great night!”

 

What makes a good frontman?

What makes a good frontman?

What makes a good frontman? Well, Doctor Chocolate spent the beginning of 2017 looking for a new frontman to join us and we had to ask ourselves What makes a good frontman?

So the band sat down and we worked out the skills and experience that we were looking for in a candidate and made a few lists.  As an excellent party band and wedding band, with over 25 years experience and a fantastic reputation, Doctor Chocolate have always had the ability to get any party started and keep the dance floor packed from the moment we start until the moment we finish.  Our frontmen have always been able to communicate and engage with the audience so we had a good idea of what to put on our list of requirements in order to shortlist the candidates.

Read More about what makes a good frontman

As so many bands advertise for a frontman at some point we thought we would share our thought processes with you all in the hope it would help you at some point too.  We also thought that if you were thinking of booking Doctor Chocolate in the future then it would be important for you to know that we are serious about our reputation and you know that you are in excellent hands from the moment of the first phone call until the end of the event.

We knew we didn’t want an inexperienced frontman to join us.  We needed someone who would know what the role would entail.  Doctor Chocolate are a 9 piece live band and we are booked for weddings, fundraisers, charity events, corporate celebrations, awards ceremonies, festivals, school proms etc over the next few years (yours included) and we have an excellent reputation to maintain after 25 years in the music industry as an established and fantastic party/wedding band.

So, we asked ourselves what makes a good frontman? 

Vocals
Well, obviously a good frontman needs to have great vocals and be able to sing different styles and songs from different decades to appeal to all audiences.   So good vocals are esstential.  However, we know that there are some frontmen who’s voices are not always, shall we say, tuneful, but they have a stage presence which overrides any imperfections in their vocals. You could have the best vocals in the world in your frontman, but if he doesn’t talk to the audience through the evening, the audience would lose interest pretty quickly.  So vocals are important but are not everything!  The new frontman for Doctor Chocolate has amazing vocals, is always in tune and more, and is also a confident frontman!

Guidance
From the audience point of view they need to be guided through the evening so they know what is happening and when. It may not sound such a big deal but this is an important role for any frontman and it’s easy to get wrong if the frontman is not experienced or confident in doing this.  By guiding the audience through the evening the frontman is also breaking down any barriers between the band and the audience too and this makes for an entertaining and fun evening.  Doctor Chocolate have always had an excellent reputation as a fun and entertaining wedding and party band.  We have great sets with some classic numbers from the past five decades in our sets that are played with passion and the sound is full and vibrant – a good frontman is the cherry on top and keeps the momentum going in between songs and keeps the audience informed.

Experience
Sometimes there may be technical problems on stage that need fixing quickly.  When this happens an experienced frontman would be engaging with the audience, so that any problems are sorted seemlessly and without the audience even knowing anything was amiss!  So our new frontman needed to be experienced and adept at talking to a crowd and talking confidently in between numbers.  Doctor Chocolate also have a fantastic sound engineer for every event so if there are any technical issues at any time then our guy is on it straight away and the audience never notices there was a problem.

Confident
With experience comes confidence.  A good frontman needs to be engaging, knowledgeable about the music being played and also extremely confident – if not the crowd would lose interest quickly.  So confidence is a biggie!  If a frontman isn’t confident then he/she won’t be able to enthuse the audience and keep them excited.  If they are not knowledgeable about the music, the song, the band or the event then they won’t have anything to say inbetween numbers.  But say it confidently and with passion!

Clearly spoken
Of course a good frontman needs to be a confident speaker over the microphone and have a good microphone technique.  If they don’t speak clearly into the microphone, they hold it right up against their mouth and mumble into it, or they shout into the microphone then the audience won’t understand what is being said to them, they won’t know what is expected of them, and they will possibly leave the dancefloor as a result. So a confident and clearly spoken instruction/statement in between songs is needed to keep that crowd enthused and engaged.  Enunciate Dhaling!

Enthusiasm
There’s no point having a frontman who isn’t enthusiastic about what they do. This goes hand in hand with confidence.  A frontman who loves the music being played, the event, their role, the band will be excited, enthusiastic and engaging with the audience. So an enthusiastic frontman is a must!  Good job that Doctor Chocolate have an enthusiastic frontman!

Know the event
Know your event.  Know your client.  Find out the names of the clients/couple/organisers of the event beforehand and ensure that those names are used throughout the evening.  For weddings, it’s important to know the couple’s names and use them, also engage with the best man/bridesmaid.  That way the audience feel part of the evening, part of the band, and it’s far more personable.  The frontman also makes the announcements in the absence of anyone else at the venue or as part of the wedding party when asked so a good knowledge of the evening structure is also required if you want repeat bookings and recommendations.  Doctor Chocolate have an excellent reputation and as such, we have a lot of repeat bookings through the years.  We always ensure we know what the event is about and who needs to be mentioned during the evening.  We also ensure we have details of any announcements that need to be made in advance so can make the “cutting of the cake”, “introducing the first dance” announcements we need to.

Want to know more about booking the bandContact us and get in touch with Sarah or Justin for a bespoke, and competitive, quote for your event.

Hygge – Weddings in 2017

Hygge – Weddings in 2017

It’s that time of year when the colder evenings start drawing in and the weather drops down a few degrees.  That means it’s time for Hygge! What is Hygge?  Well it is Danish for creating a lovely warm atmosphere and being in your happy place.

It is also the time of year when couples start popping the question and becoming engaged.  It is then the time that they look everywhere for wedding inspiration.  They look to find their Hygge and happy place.  Doctor Chocolate could be your Hygge for your wedding!  We are all about making people happy, ensuring people have a great time, are comfortable and in their happy place.

 

Read More about Doctor Chocolate's Wedding Hygge

If you are looking for wedding inspiration you will be inundated with lots of options and decisions to be made. First it is the venue, the dress, the choice of bridesmaid/best man/ushers/flower girls and boys. Then it’s the menu, the cars, the flowers and all the little extras.

However, the evening entertainment is often left until last. This is probably the only time in your life you will look to book a live band. It is also one of the most important aspects of the evening to ensure that you and your guests have an incredible celebration. Please don’t leave it to chance – ensure you book a fabulous band for your wedding entertainment – find your Hygge.

Doctor Chocolate are a fantastic 9 piece band that have been performing at weddings and celebrations for 23 years. In all that time we have built up a reputation as a great live band that are reliable, fun, interactive and we have a lot of repeat bookings from people who have seen us before. Don’t leave your evening entertainment to chance. This is the time that you and your guests will look to party into the early hours.

Doctor Chocolate play for two sets, each of one hour duration. We have our own playlists on an ipod so that you have continual music all evening and don’t have to hire a DJ as well if you don’t want one and need to keep the costst down.

You may think that a 9 piece band will cost a huge amount of money and be outside your budget. Well you would be wrong! Ok, a live band is not the cheapest option out there but you can be sure that Doctor Chocolate are a highly competitively priced wedding band and we guarantee a packed dance floor as well as an impactive, lively and highly polished performance.

There are cheaper bands that’s true. There are smaller bands out there that’s true. But do they all perform 100% live or do they play alongside backing tracks? If you could pay the same price for a 4 or 5 piece band that play along with backing tracks (and also mimed) instead of a 9 piece band that are 100% live and are exceptionally good at their craft, then which would you choose?

You want your wedding or event to be talked about for months afterwards and have memories of a great night! This may be the only time you book entertainment so please don’t leave it to chance. Choose a band with a fabulous reputation. Choose a band with music that will appeal to all your guests no matter their age or musical taste. Choose a band that will keep your guests on the dance floor all night long. Choose a band that is 100% reliable and will turn up at your event and not let you down a couple of weeks beforehand. Choose a band that is experienced and know how to work and interact with any crowd of any age. Choose a band that is exceptional value for money and of a high quality. Choose a band that is easy to work with, that listens to you and your requirements, and will work with you to make your event or wedding exceptional. Choose Doctor Chocolate! With prices starting from £1550 we are not as expensive as you may think! That is for a 9 piece band, with a high quality PA system, lighting and also a sound engineer – so that’s 10 people in the team in total! Get in contact today for a bespoke quote

 

Doctor Chocolate at Quantock...

Doctor Chocolate at Quantock Lakes

Quantock Lakes is a wonderful venue and the wedding band Doctor Chocolate has played here on numerous occasions.  As a band, Doctor Chocolate has played for some amazing weddings, events, charity fundraisers, celebrations and school proms over the years.  We have also played in some amazing venues all over the South West and the UK.

So, we get to see behind the scenes of these venues as well as see the staff and the venue in action.  This is great as we see first hand how efficiently and quickly they lay out their furniture, how they speak about the clients, what their food is like, how polite the staff are and what the grounds and rooms are like etc.  You can tell a lot about a venue by the way the staff interact with both musicians and your guests.

Read more about Doctor Chocolate and Quantock Lakes

Recently, we had the pleasure of playing at Quantock Lakes and this is definitely a venue that we love performing in. During the summer months the venue has a beautiful marquee attached to the main bar area and this doubles up the spaces and options available to clients.

We were booked to perform in the venue for a private birthday party and we were able to set up in the bar area, leaving the clients freedom to enjoy the marquee area for their reception. The marquee is large, and has a stage and lighting behind curtains for a big reveal later in the evening and the size is certainly big enough for our 9 piece wedding and function band to set up in. The marquee, reception area and bar all look over the beautiful grounds and lakes.

On this occasion Doctor Chocolate had been booked for a surprise birthday party and we set up all the equipment and lighting in the main bar area. This room was decorated by the venue and everything looked really simple but pretty taking advantage of the rustic style of the room with a few candles and twinkly lights.

The staff at Quantock Lakes are attentive, polite and great fun. They know people are at the venue to celebrate and they do all they can to ensure that everyone is looked after. Doctor Chocolate have played at this venue on several occasions, and have found the staff helpful as well as really clear with their instructions on where and when we have to set up. It may not seem so important, but when we arrive at a venue we only have a short time to set up and sound check and having clear instruction on arrival is a massive help.

If the staff are helpful and friendly to other suppliers for your event then you can be sure they will be genuinely helpful and friendly to your guests too!

On this occasion we had a little bit of a wait until the birthday boy arrived in style. He arrived in style by a surprise helicopter ride that flew by a couple of times before landing 20 foot in front of the excited crowd who wooped and cheered as he arrived in James Bond style. Everything was a complete surprise and how 100 people kept it all a secret we will never know! Before our first set we had time to relax in the lounge area.

What do the band do whilst they are waiting to perform? Have a few pints of beer? No, not this band – we all enjoyed a lovely cup of tea! Perfect!

Once guests enjoyed a meal and speeches were over the band started to play and the dance floor was immediately full and remained so for the remainder of the evening. We would thoroughly recommend this venue for any wedding, party or celebration. We would also recommend that you book Doctor Chocolate as the band for your wedding, party, celebration or fundraiser so contact us today for a quote.

Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After

Are you looking for your happily ever after?

Doctor Chocolate play for weddings and events all over the UK.  We have met some amazing clients and their guests over the years and have had the pleasure of playing for some fabulous events.  We always have a great time and so do our clients – which is kind of the point of booking an awesome band.

Meet Johnny – Johnny is our drummer and has been with Doctor Chocolate since we started up many moons ago.  Johnny is ex-RAF and has toured extensively as a drummer over the years, now settled in teaching and showing other young and upcoming drummers how it’s done.

At a recent wedding in Curry Rivel (a private house with the most beautiful marquee, fabulous food and awesome guests) we took the opportunity to take this picture of Johnny next to a sign that seems to have been made just for him!

Look at that cutchy face! Awwwww