Photo: J Fannon Photography

Build Your Own Band with The Bachelor Boys

Every third Monday of the month, Arlington’s IOTA Club & Cafe is packed with locals there to check out the Bachelor Boys Band. Some come to enjoy the cover band’s high-energy shows, but most are there to scout them out for events – namely weddings.

Potential clients can check out the band’s public showcases, also in Richmond, Baltimore, Philly and Pittsburgh, on a monthly basis. The Bachelor Boys offer musicians à la carte, whether it’s a three- or eight-piece band. Three to four musicians can play each instrument, and several can step into the role of lead vocalist, emphasizing their flexibility as a band.

“We hear all the time from clients that they hired us because it’s more like going to a concert than listening to a wedding band, and we really pride ourselves on that,” says band manager and bassist Adam Hopkins. “It’s pretty cool that people ask us to play for one of the most important days of their lives.”

Tim Bracken, the band’s primary guitarist and vocalist, says their showcases are treated like open rehearsals.

“We are all in a good mood and have fun with the set lists,” he says. “We really just focus on doing the best job we can every time. If we stick to that, we continue to grow as musicians, and clients stay super happy.”

The band switches out their repertoire almost every time they perform live, and even try out things that are brand new to them at showcases, which just adds to the fun factor for the audience. They cover everything from Adele and Maroon 5 to The Temptations and Frankie Valli.

Five core musicians, including Bracken and Hopkins, have been managing the “self-run” band together since 2012. Vocalist Amber Twait, one of the original members, says being in a young, fun group translates into high energy onstage and encourages her to strive for improvement.

Being self-managed is just one of the ways Bachelor Boys differs from your standard band.  Their a-la-carte approach to booking means a client can literally build their dream band, ensuring that their event is uniquely “theirs.” At the IOTA showcases a full band – comprised of horns, keys, drums and guitar, takes the stage and then an array of vocalists performs.

The audience gets to sit back, listen and then, ultimately, choose their band.  Think of it as your own personal The Voice and you get to be Gwen or Blake.  Each vocalist introduces him or herself, then proceeds to sing two songs that reflect their best genre.  Once you have narrowed down who you think you would like to have sing at your event, you work with one of the five managers to configure your band.

Typically, you will be asked to submit a wish list of songs, and then the manager can help you finalize your vocalist choice as well as the instruments needed.  Pricing varies according to number of people requested, so they are able to customize their offering to a range of budgets.

“I have the pleasure of playing every single weekend next to some of the most talented musicians I have ever met,” she says. “They constantly push me to want to be a better musician.”

Whether you’re planning your wedding or just looking to check out a great cover band, the Bachelor Boys can be found every third Monday of the month at IOTA and every third Thursday of the month at The Windup Space in Baltimore. Learn more at www.bachelorboysband.com.

IOTA Club & Cafe: 2832 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; 703-522-8340; www.iotaclubandcafe.com

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Kayla Marsh

Kayla is a Northern VA native and graduated from JMU in 2016 with a major in media arts and design. With a background in print journalism, she writes about music, food and sometimes sports. You can find her singing in traffic, at a sports bar watching the Nats, eating tacos or live tweeting The Bachelor.