Band Story

As The Dance Effect, we have been lucky enough to play at some truly beautiful places, especially for weddings: castles, country mansions in stunning grounds, fairy tale marquees, with doves cooing, brooks babbling and love in the air! A really huge plus for us has been meeting some wonderful and fascinating people, many of whom we are still in touch with having shared such special times with them.

The band started as a duo – Paul Johnson and Dave Holmes performing a few songs at Bob Falloon’s Sunday night gig in a packed country pub in West Sussex (Bob was Paul’s guitar teacher, recently back from touring with Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen). Buoyed by their rapturous reception, Paul and Dave went on to win a talent contest at University, performing one of Bob’s signature numbers (Moonshine Kelly, released in the ‘70s about a no good travelling cowboy) and ably assisted by Christina on tambourine with a cowgirl Stetson, tight jeans and leather britches to raucous delight from the lads. Clearly the musical talent prevailed in the judges’ minds and this early achievement encouraged Paul and Dave to go on to form a ‘proper’ band: the embryonic Bar Blues Band.

The Bar Blues Band (so-called because many of the founding members were law students) began playing university gigs, then branched out to perform a wide variety of private functions: some of the most notable including, Henley Royal Regatta, The Thunderball Ball (James Bond film premiere), Claridges, BAFTA, the Savoy and the Hyde Park Hotel.

The core set list was based on the Blues Brothers songs and line-up, with three female backing vocalists and a three piece horn section, plus plenty of other classic soul, Motown and swing jazz songs requiring a 12-strong line-up.

After ten or so years of the Bar Blues Band, Paul decided to branch off and set up a smaller six-piece band, Living Large, which could be more versatile musically (specifically allowing Paul to step up his jazz funk playing), easier to manage and which could provide a more affordable alternative to the 12-piece line-up. The Bar Blues Band is still going strong and Living Large was reinvented as The Dance Effect, which has gone from strength to strength as a go-to funk/party band on the south coast.

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Written by JaneCooke