Perth has one of the best live swing and jazz scenes in the country and we are usually spoiled for choice every week as far as dancing to live swing bands goes. We are very thankful to these wonderful groups of musicians as they have helped make the Perth swing scene the vibrant place that it is today.
If you are looking for a local swing band for your next event or just want to find out where they might be playing here is a list of the Perth swing scene’s regular favorites (alphabetically). All of these bands know how to play for swing dancers.
Adam Hall & The Velvet Playboys
Adam Hall & the Velvet Playboys are somewhat of an institution of the Perth swing scene. Formed in 2005, the band is renowned for its energetic live performances, which are marked by slick presentation and raw energy.
Along with Adam (Vocals/Trumpet) it features some of Western Australia’s finest musicians. They are regulars at the Mustang Bar on Friday nights and a firm favourite with Perth swing dancers. More info here.
The Darling Buds of May
Affectionately known as DBoM by swing dancers, The Darling Buds of May are an exciting Perth based swing sextet, exploring the nostalgic sounds of yesteryear. The group is primarily a swingin’ dance band, a local and interstate favourite amongst the swing dancing community.
The combination of the punchy horns and swingin’ rhythm section with the sultry tones of Jessie Gordon will have you swooning in your seats or dancing in the aisles. They specialise in 1920s dixieland jazz, 1940s and 1950s swing, 1950s and 1960s rock ‘n’ roll and blues. More info here.
Harry Deluxe is a raunchy retro-inspired songbird whose vocal talents rival some of the hottest swing and rockabilly icons. Swingin’ from Ruth Brown and Etta James to Janis Martin and Wanda Jackson this ‘swingabilly filly’ can belt out a ballsy tune that will knock the bobby socks off even the most mellow cats and kittens, and then soothe your every ill with sexy, soulful crooning. Harry Deluxe is one of the Perth bands to regularly play for dancers. More info here.
Oz Big Band
One of the hottest swing bands in Australia, Oz Big Band have made their sound a trademark of the Perth scene since their Lindy Hop debut in 2006. It’s rare to witness a truly Lindy-friendly big band; these guys have made it their mission to bring you the finest and rarest of cuts from the archives of the Basie, Ellington, Lunceford and Henderson orchestras. Oz Band bring their massive sound and high-octane energy to every set. More info here.
Pic: Mark Rotondella
KYSB Big Band
The KYSB Big Band is the flagship of the Kalamunda Youth Swing Band and effectively, membership of this band is the reward for years of hard work and commitment to KYSB. It is also quite often the last-stop before the bright lights of local, national and international fame as many of our most dedicated musicians have continued on to develop successful musical careers in their own right. The band has an extensive repertoire developed over the past two decades, featuring the music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, The Gershwins, Ed Wilson and Sammy Nestico. More info here.
Lions Big Band
The South Perth Lions Big Band is a tight swinging group, which hones its skills playing monthly shows at the South Perth Civic Centre. The band has an extensive library of swing classics and more and makes a specialty of the Benny Goodman repertoire, featuring the soaring clarinet sounds of Benny Goodman specialist, Phil Hatton. This band also features three excellent singers, Joyce Mather, Cathy Mueller and Alex Wycherley. More info here.
Swing Shift Big band
The Swing Shift Big Band was formed in 2003 under the direction of Perth-Jazz-Superstar, Marty Pervan. The band has since become known for its hip, swinging performances of classic Big Band Era music. Along with their new repertoire of classic rock tunes that have been given the “Swing Shift” treatment they also offer a timeless collection of Big Band Era hits from the great names like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Glenn Miller. More info here.
WAYJO (West Australian You Jazz Orchestra) is one of Australia’s cultural gems, providing a unique experience for jazz musicians aged 14 to 25 who are the absolute cream of young jazz players in the state. They are also a Perth Lindy Hoppers’ favourite, playing all your fav swing tunes from the 30s and 40s with an awesome big band sound. More info here.
Pic by: Eliza Cowling
more to come …