Wedding Vendor Spotlight – Kahootz and K2 Bands

A quick poll with fellow guests at a recent wedding confirmed what I was already thinking – there are 2 main reception features guests are interested in.  No, they are not the cake cutting or the garter toss.  But rather food and music.  Your guests are just that – guests.  And even though this is your wedding, your reception, in a way, caters to them.  From the minute they enter, you have created an evening that will allow your guests to enjoy themselves.  From the cocktail hour to the final dance, every couple wants their guests to walk away from their wedding feeling it was the best wedding they ever went to.

It’s no doubt that the choice of music you select will have one of the biggest (if not the biggest) impact on your guests.  It could be a matter of guests sitting it out for each song, wondering to themselves ‘please stop playing the Electric Slide’ or it could mean guests trying to find their spot on the dance floor for the night because the music selection is just that wonderful. 

If you are looking for a band who will keep your guests happy all night long, look no further than Kahootz and K2.  Both bands cover a variety of dance styles, come highly recommended, and most importantly, are extremely talented.  They are both the type of band that leaves wedding guests wanting to hire them for their own event.  I recently had the privilege of speaking with Chris Cole, manager of both bands, about each band and Boston weddings. 

Me:  Can you give me a little background on Kahootz and K2, how the bands started and when they started?

Chris:  Up until 1998 I had been a key member in one of the most popular New England Bands specializing in weddings and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.  At the same time I was also working as a booking agent Monday thru Friday at one of the top entertainment agencies.  Most bands at that time believed a successful party – meaning getting to people to the dance floor and keeping them there couldn’t be done without doing songs like the Macarena or “I Will Survive”, the “YMCA” or “Celebration”.  These kinds of songs were done at every event no matter what by almost every band.  I believed there was an audience for a band that didn’t do this kind of material and decided to put my money where my mouth was and form Kahootz.  Months before I started the group I started to hear people say they were tired of the “Cheesy wedding band”  the term I heard used most often was “I don’t want a typical wedding band. I felt I was on the right track. Then as now we strive to be anything but typical.

Me:   What are the specialties of each band and the audiences (brides and grooms) they cater to? 

Chris:  I think both bands cater to clients who want a truly wide variety of music.  Both Ryan (the leader of K2) and I work very hard at having a ready repertoire of music from every era that we can seamlessly weave together.  An example of what I’m talking about would be like going from a song like Runaround Sue (from the 50’s) to Hey Yah by Black Eyed Peas.   These tunes work amazingly well together.  Four minutes after we’ve started to play Runaround Sue we’ve got 50 people in the 60’s dancing their butts off to Black Eyed Peas.  That’s a sight that makes me very happy.

Me:  To date how many events has each band worked?

Chris:  At last count Kahootz has done over 1000 weddings.  I personally have done over 2000 when including dates I’ve done as a sideman!  K2 has done about 300 weddings and events

Me:  What sets Kahootz and K2 apart from other Boston area bands?
Chris:  The first is we never play the same party twice. There are a number of reasons for this but the number one is that every client is different and their party should reflect their personal taste and style.  As an example last Saturday night we did a wedding in New Hampshire for 350 people.  They wanted a ton of current and classic and 80’s rock.  And less R&B, Motown, Soul and Disco style dance music.  This coming Saturday night we’re at the Boston Public Library for a 90 person reception where they want guests their own age catered to at the end of the night by us doing less current and rock until the end. In the case of this event the Bride and Groom’s parents are both older so we’ll be doing more Sinatra era music in the early part of the evening.  We will approach these two parties using a custom recipe for each one that’s very different from the other.

Another thing that sets us apart is that we are very serious about learning and performing current music well.  To the point where we now have a rapper in the band! We believe all the music has to really sound authentic.  The newest hits are very sophisticated and need serious attention to detail or they’re going to sound cheesy. We get a number of clients who come to us each year that were planning to use a DJ because they didn’t believe a band was capable of doing today’s hits really well. Once they hear us they realize this isn’t the case.

And lastly our approach is very personal.  I meet with almost all of our clients in person 10 days before their affair to go through all the details.  I know of no other band that does this.
Me:   Are there any trends that you are seeing couples asking for this year? 
Chris:  I’m seeing less of what I consider New York style receptions and seeing more of I refer to as Boston style reception. A Boston style reception is where the first hour and a half to two hours after the introductions, first dance and speeches the party morphs into a polite dinner party.  Music is kept at a really low volume and there is no dancing in between courses.    Once dinner service is complete then it becomes a huge blowout.  New York style receptions are a party and dancing from the minute the doors open until the end.

Me:  If a couple can’t seem to decide between a band or a DJ service, what would be your advice to them? 

Chris:  I would suggest they try to envision the style party they want and use that as a way to decide.  We have a couple right now where their visions are very different.  The bride wants everyone dancing from the moment doors open to the very end.  She’s told me she doesn’t really care about the food.  As soon as a course is on the table she wants everyone back on the dance floor again.

The groom sees his ideal party as more hanging out with his buds – maybe singing along to some cool tunes later in the night. His feeling is if guests want to dance that’s cool but he’s not personally not all that into it    To me his style of party is an ideal candidate for a DJ.  The reason I say this is the kind of excitement that is created by a great live band that really knows how to get people out of their seats and onto the dance floor might not be right for his vision.  A DJ can create a great event but the energy I think is very different.  BTW – no surprise she won out but I’d like to lastly say I feel the choice between DJ and band these days is less about price and more about personal taste and style.

Me:  Why do you think the choice of a band is so important to a wedding?

Chris:  New England is a place where traditions are truly respected.  Great live music for wedding receptions are a part of our tradition. Add to that that most folks think of live music at a reception as more sophisticated and stylish.   Great bands create an ambience and instant intensity the minute the doors open.  Weddings are truly the best day of your life and this big a celebration deserves great music

Me:   Does Kahootz and K2 perform locally for public performances in case a couple wants to hear the bands perform live?

Chris:  Yes. We do showcases so that people to come see us perform live about every three weeks.  I strongly feel this is very important not only for the clients but also for the band.  We love what we do but we don’t want to get hired for an event we’re truly not right for.  Seeing and hearing a group live is the best way to determine if a band is right for you, your friends and family.

Me:  What special requests have you received from couples that may have seemed unusual at first but were successful in the end?

Chris:  I love this one: earlier this year because the bride was from Boston  and a huge Sox fan and the groom was from NYC and a Yankees fan  they asked us to do Sweet Caroline as the last dance for her friends and family– but then at the end of Sweet Caroline we’d jump right in to “Empire State of Mind” for his friends and family.   The place exploded. It was awesome!

Me:  How do most of your clients find you or hear about you?

Chris:  Over 75% of our business comes from clients who have seen us at a friends or family members event. The remaining come from being recommended by one of the many great venues we perform, internet searches or work of mouth.  Also we’re a member of the prestigious Boston Wedding Group which you have to be voted into to be a member.  Brides and grooms in the know use the Boston Wedding Group as a source to get a list of the area’s best wedding vendors.

For more information, visit Kahootz’ website at http://www.bostonsbestband.com or K2 at http://www.k2band.com.  You can also email Kahootz at contact@bostonsbestband.com or K2 at contact@k2band.com.
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