Review: B# Big Band live @ the Copa Cabana

Melbourne's B# Big Band - thisB# Big Band, the self-proclaimed ‘biggest big band in the southern hemisphere’ proved itself more than right on Sunday 7 July at the Copa Cabana in Fitzroy having the entire place swinging and dancing like there is no tomorrow.

Swing dancers of all ages – from their early twenties to the (maybe not so early) seventies – set their feet loose, danced, sang, ate, drunk and had a blast – some guests were even in stylish swing attire!
Flirting was also included, no age limit to that, of course. In other words, it was an afternoon that represented exactly what the swing era was all about, transporting us to the ’30s and ’40s for a couple of hours.

Led by the energetic Henry K, the 17-piece orchestra (featuring brass, string and percussion instruments in a perfect homophony) was augmented by the presence of three amazing singers, alternating on the bandstand: Tamara Kuldin, Julie O’Hara and Frank Benedetto. Clad in colourful Cuban-style shirts (to blend in with the relaxed atmosphere of the place), they played tunes immortalised by the likes of Count Basie or Frank Sinatra – old favourites in8 beat, or 6 beat , swing, jive, charleston and the occasional mid-tempo tune (hey, everyone needs to take a breath).

I too also hit the dance floor a couple of times, despite being a bit rusty. Unfortunately I had missed the mini dance lesson that was offered prior to the gig’s start. But, in all honesty, when the music is so uplifting and horns and drums and trumpets are inviting you to their world of rhythm and freedom, it does not really matter if you know the steps or not – just feel the vibes and dance.

I will definitely be going again, if only just to listen to my two favourite tracks, “Zoot Suit Riot” and yes, the predictable “Swing Swing Swing” performed so perfectly! Thank you guys!

B# at The Copa 2016 - A2 Poster

The B# Big Band at The Copacabana* 

Next gigs: Sundays 7th August & 4th September (Father’s Swingin’ Day) 2016
Doors Open: 11:50am (for Dance Class attendees) – 12:30pm (for Big Band only attendees).
Times: 12pm to 12:45pm – Dance Class. – 1pm to 3:30pm – B# Big Band performance.
On August 7th the B# Big Band’s featured vocalists will be Fiona Thorn, Kimba Griffith, Eugene Hamilton and Yvette Johansson. Special guests: 3AW’s, Phil Brady & Simon Owens.
Entry Prices: Dance Class & B# Performance: $25 ($20 for ‘group bookings’ of 20 or more) – B# Performance Only: $20 ($15 for ‘group bookings’ of 20 or more)

*(139 Smith St, Fitzroy)


  1. Len Smith

    OHH GEE ,I’m a Sydneyite retired bigband drummer and if I may say so myself not a bad “hoofer” either ,LOL I REALLY wish these guys would come up to Sydney and do their thing ,,not too much like this is happening up here ,good luck with the next one guys ,Love you all

Comments are closed.