Musicians have always held a special status in society. In the Middle Ages, troubadours and minstrels wondered Europe singing songs, strumming lutes and whipping up satirical poetry.
Their lyrics provided a contemporary commentary on chivalry, courtly love and other urgent matters of mediaeval high society – and people listened.
They moved between castles and courts earning their keep, just as during their performance they were able to engage audiences by sweeping the ranks of lords, ladies and guests, customising their lyrics and patter to suit the social circles in question. So where are the modern day troubadours?
London-based band NOMAD would say the genre is just coming of age. Earlier this week they hosted a private event on the South Bank showcasing three diverse lineups with awesome musicianship, covering styles as diverse as Afrobeat and classic 80s pop.
The key to this form of entertainment is a high-quality wireless sound system operated by a sound engineer who knows their stuff. Traditional stages and PA systems rely on wired microphones and clunky monitoring and foldback.
The band are forced to perform within a finite stage space and although this doesn’t hamper the most dynamic performers, it does limit the potential for audience engagement.
Remove the staging and cabling and deploy speakers throughout the room and the performers are suddenly free to mill with the crowd. The barrier between audience and band member is taken away, as is any sense of there being a ‘front’ and ‘back’ to the room.
The musicians can move around tables or across the dance floor, serenading, dancing and calling up members of the audience according to the mood of the night.
This may not be everyone’s cup of tea – we’re not talking background music here – but for an entertaining show that mixes feel good comedy with superb live music, we haven’t seen anything better.
So many clients come to us at FixTheMusic because they want a band who can guarantee to get people on the dancefloor. More than that, they want to know that a large age range, often spanning children to great grandparents, will be engaged through every song.
So how does it work? In NOMAD’s case, the lead singer uses a wireless mic of course. Backing vocals are provided by the other band members via headsets. Instruments-wise, guitar and bass are plugged into wireless battery packs and the drums are provided by a very nifty wheeled cajon.
The quality of amplified sound is impressive with deep bass and crisp highs – make no mistake, this is not sit-down entertainment, they will get you on your feet.
View some of our professional roaming bands performing live...
The band call their show a unique form of ‘dining entertainment’ and certainly they interact with the audience in a way that wasn’t technologically possible 10 years ago.
If you fancy transforming your birthday party, wedding reception or corporate event to a modern mediaeval banquet, then make an enquiry on FixTheMusic where we’ll be promoting a variety of wandering lineups over the next few months.
— Myles recently completed his PhD in Music at the University of Cambridge, where he also manages commercial bookings for the recording studio in the Faculty of Music's Centre for Music & Science. Alongside FixTheMusic, Myles runs Eastwood Records, a London-based sound recording company.