Who doesn’t want a wedding band who can get all of their guests, from kids to your grandparents, out of their seats and dancing all night? Sly Chi, a 7 piece funk/soul/R&B band has perfected this art.

As recent winners of a Portland Phoenix Best Music Award, you know they are fantastic musicians and a great live band. They have a fiery energy and stage presence to keep the energy up through the first dance and long into the night. More importantly, for couples considering hiring a live band, they are no strangers to weddings. They are professional, quick to respond and comfortable working with planners and other vendors.

We talked to Matt, the bands trumpet player, who was gracious enough to answer some of the questions we had about playing in a wedding band.

Sly Chi Maine Wedding Band

L&L: How did you get started as a band?

Sly Chi: We started out playing small bar gigs in 2000. We learned a ton of cover songs and started writing some originals. We just played as often as we could, writing new songs and learning fun cover tunes as we went along.

L&L: Have you always played weddings?

Sly Chi: People started asking us to play weddings a couple of years into being a band. It has always been people that have come to see us play and wanted exactly what they saw at the live show at their wedding reception. A few weddings we’ve played were actually couples that met at a Sly-Chi show!

Sly Chi Wedding

L&L: What is the best wedding moment you’ve been a part of?

Sly Chi: We’ve been a part of a lot of amazing wedding moments…it’s hard to narrow it down. One fun one that comes to mind is when a couple asked us to play a tune that they all used to dance to (choreographed) in college. We learned it but had never played it for them prior to the wedding.  When we did it at the reception, the whole crowd basically flash mobbed us with their choreography. It was awesome! We still play that tune and use their moves.

L&L: Why do you think hiring a band that has wedding experience is important?

Sly Chi: It’s crucial to have a band with experience! There have been so many situations where no one knew what was going on (bride, groom, wedding party, wedding planners). We’ve had tons of  “Oh my gosh! When should we do this?…how is this going to work? We didn’t think of this!” moments and the band has basically had to take over the program and say “Okay, you do this at this time, and we’ll walk you through it the rest of the way.” There are so many variables at a big event like a wedding and you have to learn to be ready for anything and roll with it. Experience is what gets the party through those situations without the guests even realizing that anything was wrong.

Sly Chi Wedding

L&L: What should couples ask a band they are interested in having play at their wedding?

Sly Chi: When people are hiring a band there are obvious questions like price, playing times, how many sets, is the band willing learn a special tune, etc., but the most important thing for US to know is by what time they want us to be set up and out of the way. As long as the band is on time, set up, and sound checked before guests arrive, the rest of the day should go smoothly.

Sly Chi Wedding

L&L: What types of venues do you look forward to play at? What makes you nervous about playing at a certain venue?

Sly Chi: Well, we honestly can roll with any type of venue, but since you asked, the tricky ones are places where we need to load-in across a football field, wading through waist deep rapids, then up 3 floors on fire escape steps on the hottest day of the year. Okay, we’ve never had to do exactly that, but, we’ve had some tough ones! Island weddings are always fun, but definitely a logistical challenge and a test of endurance! Last year we played a beautiful wedding on Chebeague Island, but to get to that beautiful place we had to unload the equipment from our van onto carts, load the carts onto a ferry, unload carts off the ferry onto another vehicle, then unload that vehicle at the wedding site, then do it all again in the reverse at the end of the night! It’s something that has to be done once in a while though…certainly not a complaint!

Another less-desirable situation is when a venue isn’t really keen on the amount of sound that 7 people playing instruments puts out. We and most other bands are very respectful of requests to keep the volume down, but there have been times that our sound system has been shut off except for the vocals and it was still too loud. It’s important that people talk to their reception venue and make sure they can accommodate a live band not only acoustically, but also the power and space a band may need.

There are dozens of places that we really look forward to playing. There are several times every summer when we stop for a moment to realize how lucky we are to be in the music business. There are places we get to see that we likely never would have seen otherwise.  Not to mention, that we get to play music there.  We see beautiful ocean front private residences, apple orchards on the ocean, old barns, etc.  One thing though that makes for a really pleasant time for the band is when we play at a place with a friendly staff that is ready to team up with us and really make an event come together. Cooperation is the name of the game.

Sly Chi Wedding

L&L: What do you charge?

Sly Chi: We charge based on services—since every wedding reception is unique, we rarely charge a flat fee. It’s really important we talk about the reception with the couple before estimating our time and services.  Send us an email and we’d be happy to quote you!

L&L: How can a couple contact you?

Sly Chi: People can contact us at slychi@gmail.com

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