Cool Evening, Great Wedding!

Cool Evening, Great Wedding!

Let me start this off by congratulating Maggie and Aaron again on their beautiful wedding. Now, let’s get into some details.

To start off with, Aaron called me in the middle of September and explained his situation. Originally, him and Maggie planned on getting married later but circumstances forced them to make it happen sooner. He called hoping that Potts & Pans still had a performer available for a special treat for his soon to be wife. He explained how much she loved steelpan and he wanted to surprise her with having us play at their wedding that would take place on 10/3/15. I was happy to tell him that another performance had backed out and that I was personally available to be there! No need for any more details than that, moving on.

Potts & Pans Three Oaks Crystal LakeFast forward to the day of the wedding. I show up to Three Oaks Recreational Center in Crystal Lake, IL (nice to have a home show!) and must say I was blown away by this place! Although I have driven by Three Oaks hundreds of times, I have never actually been there. Upon pulling in, I could not believe how beautiful it was! Crystal Lake really did a great job putting this park together, it is an absolutely gorgeous location for a wedding. Although I could go on about this place, I have digressed from what really matters: Aaron and Maggie.

Aaron and Maggie took a very low key approach to their wedding, and pulled it off perfectly! Keeping things simple with modest table dressings, guests in comfortable clothes, a pig roast for food and a canoe for a bar really made this a comfortable and friendly wedding. Potts & Pans Canoe BarIt didn’t matter that I had never met, or even talked with, Maggie or anybody else before. This comfortable setting and the warmth of the guests made EVERYBODY there family. This wasn’t a great wedding because of the setting though. This was a great wedding because of the people!

Aaron had told me early on that he was a fire fighter and that this would be a small wedding with guests almost completely made up of fellow fire fighters and police officers. This certainly is not my first time working with firemen and cops, but I never ceased to be amazed at how great of people they really are! There were multiple people there that couldn’t offer enough help to me throughout the evening. While tearing down the Potts & Pans tent, four guys instantly came over and started helping out and making jokes like I was just one of their long time buddies. I have done some gigs for some great people, but nobody has ever jumped up to help me like that and make me feel like such a part of the family that was there. After getting the tent down, a few other guys came over and carried all my equipment to Lolita (the van) while I carried a single stand! While I was loading things into Lolita, they continued to joke around with me while a couple of scuba divers brought gear to their car parked next to me. These guys then offered to help them! Who does that! Here are a couple of complete strangers (not even part of the wedding in anyway) and these guys immediately offer to help them out! They also offered them food from the wedding and invited them to hang out. Being a part of such incredible acts of kindness juxtaposed against all the negative media lately about cops, and fire fighters being lumped with them at times, it’s maddening to see how people take for granted these incredible individuals. Here are people that put their lives on the line to save strangers so it really should be no surprise they don’t think twice to offer their help with such a mundane task like loading equipment!

Matt Potts & Pans with Bride and GroomIt has been said that birds of a feather flock together and it seems like Aaron and Maggie are part of one great flock. From the little bit that I worked with Aaron, I sensed what a genuinely caring person he is and I was very excited to actually meet him and his new wife. Upon meeting them both, and their friends/family, it is easy to say that these two great people seem to be set up to have a wonderful life together. I can’t thank Maggie and Aaron enough for allowing me to be a part of their special day. I can certainly tell that they both sincerely appreciated me being there. It really is a great feeling to have the bride immediately come over to me after the ceremony and just watch me for a while before exclaiming “That is so cool!” Aaron did a marvelous job pulling off the surprise steelpan music, and Maggie could not have been happier.

I wish the very best to Maggie and Aaron and truly hope to cross paths with them again. They both seem like wonderful people and I couldn’t be happier for them.Potts & Pans Obrien Wedding Crystal LakePS – Check out the picture showing the pocket square with the table cloth and snack bucket to see how close we matched their colors! Color win for Matt!


August with Anthony

August with Anthony

Summers with Potts & Pans are fantastic! We have so many things going on, that often Matt, Christina and Myself have to split up responsibilities and spread out to cover multiple shows at once! During the month of August, I was able to take lead or do solo performances for a number of really cool gigs. Some of these were private events, but if you missed any of the public ones, you should probably LIKE us of facebook to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore :)



Capture2Potts & Pans does a lot of weddings. We offer cocktail hours, reception music, ceremony music, DJ services, or anything else you need to make your wedding the perfect day! We’ll also match your colors, as we have shirts in almost every shade. For me, I had two weddings in August that were both AWESOME! Capture3First up, I went up to the Abbey Resort in Fontanta on Lake Geneva. After our many trips up here to play at Gordy’s Boat House, it was fun to see a bit more of the town. I was happy to work with the Bride, Ashley, to prepare everything for their cocktail hour. This was an outdoors performance playing solo steelpan. I brought my double seconds, and of course, used my 4 PP8b8CF blues from the Steelpan Store (definitely my favorite mallet for seconds!) The big surprise was Ashley wanted me to learn a few Mumford & Sons tunes to play. We are always happy to learn new music for our clients, so when she asked if I could play any Mumford, I looked some up, and put together this quick sample using my iPhone and she loved it. So I got a list of 6 Mumford tunes, mixed it in with some of our Caribbean favorites, and the cocktail hour was a success. To add to the fun, when I got out of my car I noticed I was parked next to a Felix & Fingers car! Mike and Emily were also at the Abbey playing for the reception of another couples wedding. That’s right, we’re taking over!


The following weekend, I was back in Wisconsin, but this time went all the way up to Kohler. I took our Van, Lolita, who is guarded by Clifford. Look out for the #CliffordGoes hashtag to see where he’s off to next! IMG_7577I had worked with the bride, Cindy, for a long time putting together her wedding. Potts & Pans was there for the entire event. First, I played some solo double seconds for the ceremony down by the lake. The weather was beautiful, and the service was barefoot and flawless. The main attraction was the trio, in which I was joined by P&P members Emily and Aras for a Steelpan/Vibes/Drum group, and we played for a cocktail double hour before dinner. During dinner my guys were able to catch some delicious sandwiches (mine was patiently waiting for me to eat it later), while I went inside for some more solo seconds during the dinner time. With all the moving from place to place to play, the whole night went super smoothly and I was thrilled at the reactions I was hearing from all the guests. One even referred to me as “Joe Locke!” Flattering, undeserved, but still super awesome to hear 😀 After dinner, I rejoined the team and we did another hour of trio work for the final portion of the reception. We were able to grab a nice photo with the couple and our instruments, and talk with some guests afterwards. The couple has always loved the Caribbean and having the steelpan at their wedding was the “perfect addition to the day.” Add on the facts that all of their IMG_7578guests were super polite, receptive to the music, the venue was gorgeous and the weather was ideal, this was a truly enjoyable performance.IMG_7590








Capture4Another particularly exciting show for me last month was my return to the Anvil Club. Last year I performed for their Luau Pig Roast, and everyone loved it, so they had me come back this year! The food, as anticipated, was expertly prepared, and the event was another success. They had door prizes of wine and gift cards, and the guests got to enjoy the beautiful decorations, delicious food, and the great sounds of double seconds throughout the night. Although we had a rainy end to the day, it held off until right at the end of the event, so all the guests had a great time, I just got a little wet while loading my car!


This place is awesome! This was the site of my first duo gig with Potts & Pans. This has been the site of a number of great solo, duo, and community band performances. The venue is awesome! If you live anywhere near northern Illinois and you haven’t seen their Green House you need to go immediately! Furthermore, they host a weekly event over the summer called “Tunes on the Terrace” and this year I had two different shows during August. Being able to split roles, I did a full night of Steelpan,Capture5 IMG_7564showcasing its versatility as a solo instrument, it’s ability to perform a wide variety of musical styles, and discuss a bit of its rich, and very very recent history. Later in the month, I returned for a full night of solo vibraphone. This time I focused on Jazz tunes, playing standards in the standard style, mixing in a few newer elements, and even performing a few originals. Both shows were attened by a large and appreciative audience. For the vibraphone show, I was thrilled to hear a lot of “you should’ve seen this guy last time — he plays steelpan!” while I was setting up. I also got to meet a fellow vibes player and world war II vet, Dick, at the vibraphone performance and share stories of moving these things around and playing combo gigs. This was definitely a great way to close out the month for me, and I can’t wait to head back to the gardens next season.


That’s all for now folks,



Wedding at Gamba Ristorante in Merrillville, IN

Wedding at Gamba Ristorante in Merrillville, IN

Recently, I had the privilege of performing at a wedding “pre-ception” in Merrillville, Indiana. The event was for a couple that was going to get married in Punta Cana but wanted to have a reception for friends and family before they went down. It was a great event and was held at a great location. The Gamba Ristorante in Merrillville, IN was a great setting for an event like this.

Not only was the inside well decorated and sophisticated, but there was a beautiful enclosed courtyard in between the event hall and the restaurant. The day I was there, it was a little chili so people did not spend much time out in the courtyard, but I can see this being an excellent option for anybody thinking about planning an event where they would like to have two distinct areas that are connected yet still allow for separation.

This courtyard also played into how loud the music could be played during the reception. Even though there was a restaurant on the other side of the building, with the amount of space in between, I was quite impressed at the minimal sound leakage. I think DJ K Ceaser could attest to this too. Although he was not able to max out his system, he was still able to pump out a lot of sound without disturbing the restaurant side. I have not had the opportunity to work side by side with many DJs (usually we are in separate areas) but DJ K Ceaser did a great job with handling introductions and was great to work with. The two of us worked together to make sure there was always music going and that we fit in special tunes and announcements. He was great to work with and I wouldn’t mind doing more work along side him in the future. Along with having a DJ and steelpan there, the happy couple also had some a couple samba dancers from Planeta Azul. The two dancers were great and even taught the guests how to samba! You can check out their Facebook page here.

Another great person involved in this wedding was Chantal from Chantal’s Wedding Planners. Starting a few days before the event, Chantal contacted me about the details of the day. Upon arrival everything went quite smoothly and her personality made it seem like we had worked together for years.

To summarize:

Gamba Ristorante was beautiful and very friendly

DJ K Ceaser was killer and great to work with

Planeta Azul was super entertaining and even taught guests how to samba

Chantal was very personable and a joy to work with