It was September 1966. “You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes was number one on the Billboard Hot 100, the Chevy Camaro was introduced and, in the band room of a small junior high school in North Carolina, a few boys decided they would start a band.
Liquid Pleasure made their debut performance at the school’s talent show. They honed their craft and word about them spread. A few years later, they started playing fraternity gigs at UNC – Chapel Hill and quickly became the go-to band for the campus’s biggest parties.
The band’s reputation grew and soon caught the attention of major booking agencies. Volleying between EastCoast Entertainment and Hit Attractions (which was later acquired by ECE), Liquid Pleasure became a full-time, exclusive band on the ECE roster in January 1991.
From there Liquid Pleasure skyrocketed quickly becoming one of the company’s most popular bands.
“People gravitate toward Liquid Pleasure because they are so much more than a band on stage. Every Liquid Pleasure performance is an energetic show. They know how to get people involved and excited. They are the epitome of entertainers,” says Doug Daniel, President & CEO of EastCoast Entertainment.
Inclusiveness is one the traits the band prides itself on. Bandleader, Kenny Mann, compares himself to Walt Disney and strives to emulate Disney’s ability to create experiences that are inclusive to everyone. Liquid Pleasure is known for their diverse set lists that appeal to everyone in the audience. Their goal for audience participation? 100 percent.
It is also the band’s ability to evolve that has kept them at the top for so long. As demand has grown, so have they. Starting out as an all-male group, Liquid Pleasure has since added female vocalists and additional horn players. These additions have allowed the band to further diversify their set lists and increase elements of showmanship.
Wedding planner, Leigh Pearce, recently worked with a couple who booked Liquid Pleasure for their May 2016 Grandover Resort wedding. Leigh gushes, “My clients are big Carolina fans and had seen Liquid Pleasure at various events. It was an easy choice to go with them once we found out they were available! They had such a memorable performance by surprising the guests by adding the ladies to the set. They put on an amazing show and have the BEST energy! The guests were absolutely wowed by the performance and raved about the band all night. Leigh Pearce Weddings wishes our friends, Liquid Pleasure, another 50 years of rockin’ music! You guys are the best!”
This sentiment is echoed by Cynthia Barber who booked Liquid Pleasure for her organization’s 2016 fundraiser. Cynthia adds, “We chose Liquid Pleasure because we wanted a band that would really generate some energy for our fundraiser and they were the perfect choice. The band is full of energy and they brought that to the stage during our event and got everyone out of their seats and dancing. When putting on a fundraiser you need to make your event memorable so people will come back year after year. Liquid Pleasure has helped our Boys & Girls Club put on a fun-filled evening of great music, dancing and all around entertainment. ”
This enthusiasm is common among past Liquid Pleasure clients. Throughout the years, Liquid Pleasure has traveled coast to coast playing at events ranging from weddings and prestigious private parties to large festivals and Fortune 500 corporate events. They have performed for presidential inaugural balls (Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama), NFL teams (Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers), the Charlotte Hornets NBA team, the Carolina Hurricanes NHL team and countless other high-profile events.
The band has played at, literally, thousands of events. When asked about the most memorable event that stands out, Mann replies, “It would have to be President Obama’s inaugural ball. We were identified by the campaign early on in the election season after we played one of his rallies in North Carolina. We made an impression on Mr. Obama and were one of only ten bands chosen to play at the inauguration. It was an incredible night.”
In today’s generation, it’s hard to fathom having the same job for five years — much less fifty. How does that happen? Why choose to stick with it?
Mr. Mann deadpans, “Well, my ballet career didn’t work out.”
After the laughter subsides, he adds, “In all seriousness, people won’t let us quit. And I’m glad of it.”
We at ECE are honored to recognize a group of musicians who have stood the test of time and continue to wow audiences both on and off the stage. Their commitment to quality showmanship and service is an inspiration to us all and we are thrilled they are a part of our family. Happy 50th Anniversary, Liquid Pleasure!