Today The Lounge Bar Lotharios played on the main stage of the 2012 Moocooboola Festival. Thank you to everyone who came to see the Orchestra. Here are a couple of action shots as the Orchestra played ‘Old Man Blues’
Just last Friday, The Lotharios entertained at the annual BMLOT Awards in the iconic Carrington Hotel, Katoomba. BMLOT stands for Blue Mountains, Lithgow, Oberon Tourism and the 2012 Awards is one of the biggest nights in the Greater Blue Mountains social calendar
The Lotharios played for BMLOT at their annual Winter Ball at The Fairmont Resort last May
It’s exciting to hear all about the great things the Blue Mountains has to offer local and overseas tourists. The Mountains are abuzz with creativity and the spirit of diversity and entrepreneurship thrives there
Singer Greg Poppleton returns to the Carrington, in their Grand Dining Room, Friday 23 February, with his 5-piece Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Broadcasters for dining, dancing and Charlestoning at the Carrington’s Roaring 20s Ball
Today, you can see Roaring 20s Lounge Bar Lotharios FREE at the Moocooboola Festival, Boronia Park, Hunters Hill, 2:15 – 3pm. We look forward to seeing you!
Here’s a photo of the Lotharios at the BMLOT awards. If you’d like Sydney’s 1920s Great Gatsby Orchestra to add WOW to you occasion, please contact Tony
Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Broadcasters play the songs of the 1920s for Sunday Jazz Lunch at Concrete Blonde, 33 Bayswater Road, Potts Point, 1 July, 1 – 4pm. Music rarely heard and never forgotten. Books advised: +61 2 9380 8307
Greg Poppleton, Australia’s only authentic 1920s – 30s singer and his Jazz Deco trio had the honour of playing for dancers at Elizabeth Bay House for the exclusive 2012 VE Day GI Dance.
Greg sang the songs popular in the early 1940s in his naturally true-to-the-era dance band singer style.
Some say his voice reminds them of Al Bowlly. Others say Ray Eberle.
And his small band is definitely 1940s Sydney when the majority of bands playing for dancers through the suburbs were trios to sextets. (Check out Greg Poppleton’s ABC Radio National documentary about Sydney’s 1942-45 Booker T Washington Club for U.S African-American service personnel. The band that played there was mainly a quartet.)
This fantastic evening celebrated the GI Dances held across Sydney in grand houses like Elizabeth Bay House during the Second World War.
Over a hundred guests filled the historic mansion dressed in 1940s style, many in authentic 1940s uniforms.
They danced to Greg Poppleton playing A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square,White Cliffs Of Dover, I’ve Heard That Song Before and many other pop songs of the early 1940s.
At the end of the night, the band lead the guests in singing We’ll Meet Again, Vera Lynn’s post-WWII hit Auf Wiedersehen, Sweetheart.
Guests calling for an encore spontaneously sang out two choruses of Bless Them All as a gloriously emotional end to the dancing!
Guests were also treated at the dance to period 1940s cuisine, swing dance classes, 1940s makeovers, live drawing classes, the very funny ‘1940s paperboy’ MC with prizes for the best-dressed
All guests were gloriously dressed in vintage style, with many in authentic clothes and uniforms from the era, as you can see in the photos.
Greg Poppleton is Australia’s only 1920s – 1930s style singer with duo to 6-piece band. He can also offer a 1920s Great Gatsby Orchestra and 1930s-40s Swing Orchestra playing Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman.
Did you ever use one of those old photo booths tucked away in a railway station or shopping centre where you’d pull aside a curtain, crowd into the tiny booth with a pile of friends, perch on a tiny stool, and for a dollar get a rectangle of four black and white snaps? If my description doesn’t ring a bell for you quite yet, this is what one of these photo booths look like…
Well, Greg Poppleton Jazz Deco Band were playing a 1920s themed party recently, and the party organisers hired one of these booths for their guests to take photos of themselves. What a hit!
Sydney’s rarest commercial artwork, the 1911 garage hoarding unearthed on a wall in Newtown, having not seen the light of day since 1915, has been defaced by a creep
See below to see what’s been done. No technique. No talent. No artistic ability. Simply embarrassing. Even my 8 year old described it as ‘scribble’. It’s the juvenile scrawl of someone’s spoilt little brat desperately seeking attention. “Look at me, Mummy. Look at me!”
The Lounge was built in 1963 and it retains that early 60s modernist feeling of space and optimism. It’s one of the few rooms in Sydney where you walk in and go ‘WOW!’ – you’re transported. (I personally rank the Cello Room in the City and the small ballroom of the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba as the two other ‘WOW’ rooms about in Sydney.)
And just like the Cello Room and Carrington, the Torwood Lounge and the music of Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Broadcasters fit together hand in glove. The Bakelite Band’s repertoire, though 1920s & 30s, is very much a part of early 60s Australian popular culture and heightens the experience of this historic room. In return, the room heightens the experience of the music
However, the room is just the icing on the cake. Reema and her staff who run the Lounge are the friendliest, most generous and genuine event managers you will be lucky to meet. And that’s so important when you and your guests will be spending hours in their room celebrating
In the kitchen, Rob, who also teaches cooking, is the masterchef. Everything that came out of his kitchen on Friday night is perfect – classic dishes from the oysters to the roast lamb and the chicken curry which everyone raved about. Yum
And is this room CLEAN!. I’ve never seen a room so CLEAN. The axminster carpet is immaculate. It’s glorious!
I’ve taken a picture off the Torwood Lounge website to show you this classic 60s room, but really this is a case of seeing is believing. You have to walk into the room to fully appreciate it. Maybe I’ll be able to post a picture of the band playing on the Torwood Lounge stage and post that for you soon, till then, here’s the Lounge (dance floor in foreground) set up for a wedding reception
Caption: Exactly Like You. Guffaws and groove aside, this reviewer asks, if this is swing, where are the dancing girls?
PS: – The CD Greg is taking about in the video clip that will make a lovely coaster for your coffee table is the band’s Phantom Dancer CD: 14 songs from 1926 – 1939. Only 5 are left at CD Baby for only $US 12.97 + Postage. Get yours now while they’re still available
Band Review by Tony Deff, Jazz Critic, Penrith Bugle
“When the Bugle’s editor-in-chief told me to cover the action at Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Dance Band’s show in the Castle Lounge last Saturday afternoon, he added, “And use a lot of superlatives. These boys need a break. The bass player has played for Tony Bennett. For crying out loud, that’s a suit outlet!”
Well I thought at the time that superlatives meant extra strong laxatives. Turns out I didn’t need them…
On entering the Castle Lounge I was instantly struck by the show’s stage designer, the flamboyant Coco de Lamé
“Sorry,” she apologised afterwards. “From behind you look just like that bitch of an agent, Noah. He hasn’t paid me in months.”
Lamo, as she is affectionately known, went on to explain her stage concept to me for the band.
“It’s all about irony, darling.,” she purred. “The curtains along the back wall suggest inevitability. The plain wall down one side, domesticity. The toilet door in the background refers to the music.” (See video below)
At that I hastily excused myself
The bandleader gave the downbeat, 1,2,3,4,5 and the dance floor filled with dancers
As a learned music critic, I make the following notes about the band…
1. Grahame Conlon, guitar. The guitar Grahame plays has 6 strings. Each string makes a different sound. Played in combination, Grahame is able to create a palette of sounds that follow the melody. Sometimes in the middle of a tune he makes up his own melody. This is called improvisalisation
2. Darcy Wright, double bass. I don’t know how he does it. Playing the guitar must be hard enough. Granted, the bass has two fewer strings. But on the bass the strings go up and down instead of side by side. A totally new direction in jazz. Crazy, man.
3. Bob Gillespie, drums. Bob had a lot of drums in his kit. I noted that the bigger the drum, the deeper the boom. The cymbals (pronounced symbols, I’m reliably told) make a metallic ting. The only suggestion this set of ears has is that there should be a square drum placed slightly to the right of the drummer and up a bit. The square drum would fill the round hole I sensed percussionistically.
4. Greg Poppleton, singer. Do singers have to sing? This jazz critic for one says a big fat NO. What’s wrong with skiddily-diddily bed-ee bop? Now that’s jazz. As for presentation, his dress wasn’t short enough. In fact he was wearing a suit!
Band manager and agent Noah Problemo, whose roster of real stars include the Koala Suit Stompers, Hot Harmonica Hepcats and Vegemite on Toast – The Musical, (where I occasionally cameo as ‘Ol’ Crusty’), was surprisingly upbeat about the band, “Some laughs, some songs, (I winced). But too many people on the dance floor – not enough bums on seats.”
“Do you mean like in a soup kitchen,” this jazz reviewer parried wittily.
Noah stopped a passing drunk. “Go tell the band to stop that noise for a minute. I’m trying to talk to the man from the Bugle!”
“So how would you put Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Dance Band in a nutshell?” I grilled the legendary agent.
“I don’t like putting bands in nutshells,” Noah huffed. “Jazz critics are always asking me to put bands in nutshells. It’s impossible!” His eyes brightened. “Unless, of course, I get the set designer to build me a big nutshell on stage to put the band in for the 8 January show. But how do I get Lamo to do all that for nothing?” Noah laughed as the obvious came to him. “I’ll tell her it’ll be great for her portfolio.”
At that, the band stumbled back on stage for their seventh set and I had to race back to the toilets – to write this review, of course
So what do I think of the band? Well, in a nutshell, this inky-fingered hack gives Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Dance Band two fingers”
We were playing for Caitlin & Stirling’s wedding – who had the most beautiful, warm reception in this classic Victorian hotel. Even the weather conspired to be mountains perfect, with an unusually thick fog for mid-Spring adding to the romance
As a band, we have always played at wonderful weddings, and here are some photos to prove it, taken by Janine Kaye, and passed onto me with Caitlin and Stirling’s generous permission
You can click on all the photos below to enlarge them…
The band draws on Sydney’s finest and most experienced swing and jazz musicians, all of whom have performed around the world
As the singer, I’m the only band member who has not toured the world, though my image has been worldwide on radio, TV and films including Moulin Rouge and Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
For Stirling and Caitlin’s wedding, the Bakelite Dance Band trumpeter was Bob Barnard
Bob Barnard is one of the most highly regarded jazz musicians ever to come from Australia. Barnard grew up in a musical family in Melbourne and started on cornet with a local brass band when he was twelve. His first professional job was with his mother’s band at fourteen. Introduced to jazz by his father, Bob was a founding member of brother Len’s South City Stompers in 1948. He moved to Sydney permanently in June 1962, as a member of the Graeme Bell All Stars, and remained with them until mid-1967. Bob formed his own jazz band in 1974, touring throughout Australia, Asia, Europe, and the US. The band held long residencies at some of Sydney’s popular hotels. Bob is a regularly featured guest at festivals and concerts in the US, Britain, and Europe, and has recorded with top American, European and English jazzmen
On piano with the Bakelite Broadcasters is Peter Locke
Peter Locke started playing piano at 10 in his hometown of Port Macquarie and turned professional at 21. He is self-taught and is Sydney’s most in-demand classic Swing & Jazz pianist. Peter also plays in the band led by internationally renowned Australian trumpeter Bob Barnard (who also plays trumpet in Greg Poppleton and the Bakelite Broadcasters). Peter has toured the US twice, playing at the Bix Beidebecke Jazz Festival in Davenport Iowa and in many mid-west towns as well as Chicago and San Francisco
Dieter Vogt has played double bass all over the world. Dieter was born in Basel, Switzerland, and began his musical career at the age of 12 playing the trumpet. At 17 he took up the double bass and played with the Oscar Klein Quartet. (Oscar Klein played with Lionel Hampton & Joe Zawinul.) He migrated to Sydney and became a foundation member of the Daly-Wilson Big Band. Dieter went to the USA, playing for a year with the Allan Pennay Trio. On his return he joined Winnifred Attwell for eight months touring Australia. Dieter toured China and South East Asia with the Nolan-Buddle Quartet. He also toured with Ricky May and Georgie Fame, and again toured Australia with British jazz stars, Humphrey Lyttleton and Alex Welsh in their Salute to Satchmo. Dieter toured with Graeme Bell’s All-Stars around Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Germany, China, Hong Kong, the Phillipines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Japan
And finally, on drums at the Carrington was Laurie Bennett
Laurie Bennett comes from a musical Sydney family. He has played in the bands of Don Burrows, Johnny Nicol and Judy Bailey to name a few. He was a long time member of Geoff Harvey’s TCN Channel 9 Midday Show Band. Laurie has played on many tours throughout Asia, New Zealand, Great BritainEurope and has performed throughout Australia. He has backed many international Jazz artists such as Richie Cole, The Toshiko Akyoshi Orchestra, Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Buddy Tate, Eddie ‘Lockjaw Davis, Joe Newman and has played for many local and international cabaret performers including Buddy Greco, Harry Secombe and Liza Minnelli
So that’s the star-studded biography of the musicians in Greg Poppleton and the Bakelite Broadcasters who played at Stirling & Caitlin’s wedding. And now, here’s a Janine Kaye photo of the stars of the evening, Stirling & Caitlin: