For this week’s Vendor Spotlight, we are featuring Felix and Fingers Dueling Pianos! Felix and Fingers refers to Mike Potts and Dave Radford. The two of them came together in November 2010. Dave was an American Idol finalist known for his Sinatra sound and Mike had spent the last few years touring the world as a professional musician on cruise ships.
They both started out together as a background jazz duo playing at The Baker House in Lake Geneva. The owner of the venue was interested in expanding and wanted the two of them to put together a dueling pianos show. They said yes and started booking shows and fell in love with the idea of it! Felix and Fingers now has nine members locally and want to establish ten locations in the next eight years—they currently have three!
When we asked Mike how the name came about, he said it was an unusual moment of inspiration.
We were at Baker House about to start our set. I turned to my partner and said, “We need stage names. I’m going to be Fingers.” He said, “Okay, I’ll be Felix.” It literally happened that fast. The venue owner hated it at first…we didn’t care, our fate was sealed.
Felix and Fingers started playing the bar scene at first, not really sure what they were doing, but still kept at it. Some people in the crowd really liked them and started booking them for their weddings and things took off.
We have a mission to “Obsessively create positive lasting memories”—feeling like we achieve this is what keeps us coming back!
Over the past few years, they have averaged around 100 weddings per year and in total around 500-600 weddings! What makes Felix and Fingers stand out is that they are the perfect midpoint between DJs and a live band.
Both are great options in their own right, but if you want the flexibility of a DJ with the energy of live music, and then throw in some big personalities and a bit of comedy, you end up with a unique wedding concept that many guests haven’t seen before.
According to Mike, most of the couples that book Felix and Fingers are looking for something unique, but also something that their parents will approve.
We like filling that niche of unique, live, affordable and professional.
Dueling Pianos is all request based, so the crowd really gets to be involved in the reception and choose what they want to hear. Forms and pencils are ready to go just for this!
We know weddings are generally dance centric shows, so we make dancing our #1 priority when choosing tunes/requests to play. If the couple has specific tunes to add to a must-play list, we get all of those details through our extensive planning tools.
Mike adds that at 100 weddings per year, they learned very quickly that organization is key!
We asked Mike what his favorite part of the reception is and his answer really left us hanging and wanting more!
We have a killer way of ending our show. I don’t want to spoil anything here, but our last two songs really don’t suck! Again, it’s always about making memories!
Mike doesn’t necessarily have a favorite song to play at a wedding since it is really whatever engages the crowd.
From my perspective, the tune itself really doesn’t matter compared to whether or not people are really having a good time. Maybe I’m just desperate for validation, I don’t know, but that’s truly what makes a song great for us—and it seems to change with every audience.
If he did really have to pick a specific tune, he says that he has an unhealthy relationship with “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by the Four Seasons.
It’s just so much fun to sing along with!
Mike’s advice for newly engaged couples is to hire great vendors and trust them! Wedding planning is stressful and experienced/organized vendors can help relieve that stress—but only if you let them. Great vendors have seen hundreds of weddings and know the art to event execution. Let them be your resource!
Don’t weigh down your vendors with the minutiae; give them enough direction to understand your vision, but also enough freedom to exceed it. Surround yourself with a good team, enable them to deliver, and then enjoy your wedding!
We asked Mike why Felix and Fingers Dueling Pianos loves working with The Haight and his answer made us proud of our space and atmosphere.
The Haight isn’t just a venue…it’s a personality, an integral and undeniable part of the wedding experience. Everywhere you look you find character. For example, I couldn’t help but take a picture of the sign on the ground floor that said, “Visit Downtown Elgin: It’s not as scary as it used to be.” It’s a cool space, yes, but there’s something extra going on. Maybe it’s the staff, maybe it’s the décor, or maybe it’s just the beer…but The Haight delivers a product that is so much more than ‘just a wedding venue.’