‘Rock the Wedding Bells’ at Bell House

Outside the ring box: Find an anti-wedding band for your big day

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Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” is strictly a no-no when celebrating with this bunch.

Events website Brooklyn Based is organizing a showcase of wedding bands for brides and grooms who are too cool for wedding bands.

“We are an alternative for people who want the non-cheesy approach,” said Jamie Krents, founder of the Redhook Orchestra. “We won’t play ‘YMCA’ or Miley Cyrus.”

“Rock the Wedding Bells” at the Bell House on Feb. 26 will feature eight “anti-wedding bands” — musical groups that purposely eschew the trappings and cliches of typical wedding bands.

“We have avoided most of that mainstream, cheesy crap that goes along with the bridezilla,” said Aaron Thurston, who is a member of the Engagements and also runs Lucy Music, a company that manages unusual wedding bands. “The stigma of wedding bands is that they are phoning it in and fake smiling and playing all the same songs.”

The groups have found that their innovate approach to matrimonial music puts them in some weird situations. For example, the band Mixtape: A Cover Band For Hipsters once found itself acting as a live karaoke backup band for a bride who wanted to belt out Pearl Jam’s “Evenflow” for her new husband.

“I was ready to step in and save her if she lost her place,” said Mixtape singer Melanie Flannery. “But she nailed it.”

Mixtape played another wedding for a music critic who insisted that the band only play songs by obscure indie rock groups, including the Dismemberment Plan, Pavement, and the Breeders.

“I gave him fair warning that it was not the most dancebale playlist,” said Flannery. “It ended up being one of the coolest weddings we have played.”

“Rock the Wedding Bells” at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643–6510,]. Feb. 26 at 7 pm. $10-$15.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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