Joanna Funk

music, gardening and my dog

Get Up, Stand Up, and Dance with us at Doo Bop!

Doo Bop Bar is on Edward Street in the Brisbane CBD. Its logo is a stencilled profile of a trumpet player. There’s a basement bar and a piano bar. The decor says: 1940s and we’re on 52nd Street.

Downstairs, plush curtains drape the stage; a row of leather seats skirt one brick wall while a stylish bar is opposite. Tall bar tables and stools fill the middle. Hmm. So they cater to a seated crowd of jazz aficionados, with their highly discerning ears.

I’d been there a few times, once to see a mate play at the piano bar, and the other hanging out with Sen Shao.

We sat by the window of nearby Doo-Bop jazz bar, and I had a retro Montparnasse moment as local jazz pianist Wil Sargisson walked past us on the street and into the bar. Hmm, where’s my gin martini and elegant cigarette holder?

From “Australia Independent Film Festival (AIFF) 2019

Not every show is by a jazz artist though, and last year I noticed a six-piece band was there playing some reggae. I shared a post to Wayne, our founder.

Wayne made an enquiry, and voilà! Roaring Lion got a booking at Doo Bop for June 10 2023!

Then panic set in.

Hmm, playing to a jazz crowd, will they think my solos are crap? (Nothing like a bit of jazz to put fear in your heart). It’s in the CBD, do they have their own car park? Where do we load in?

Wayne had all the instructions for us, but worry-wort me still called a friend — Cat Gallagher — who played there late last year. Cat’s a jazz/indie musician based in Brisbane. She’s a recent graduate of the Con and founder of the band KIORE. She said the venue has a cool vibe. But there’s no parking.

Like all shows, there were some stressful moments: our lead singer Alejandro had a sore throat and a fever earlier that day 😥, drummer Bojan was coming back from Cooly Rocks 😨 and lead guitarist Maui was stuck on the Pacific Motorway in a car park at the Springwood exit 😰😰. Keyboardist Sam was such a sweetheart, saying he would help carry my gear from the nearby Wilson car park. But Doo Bop said we didn’t need our amps, which made things way easier (bless their jazzy cotton socks).

I got there an hour before load-in time, and couldn’t find a way in because all the doors were locked. From a front window I could see someone behind the bar so I tapped the glass. And kept tapping. Poor man. I must have been so annoying. Eventually he came and opened the window. Gavin was the on-site manager that night, and he was so nice! He showed me around and then took me to the load-in area.

There’s a staircase at the back so when you’re on stage you can see who’s coming in as they walk downstairs, that’s pretty cool.

Cat Gallagher, KIORE
Image credit: Derrin Hill (RL crew)

Yep, lovely place and there’s that staircase. But look at those chairs. Will we be able to fill the room and will they really sit there all night?

Yes! And No! The room filled, but people danced! Here’s Carlee, Ale and Maui (L to R) as we do Buffalo Soldier.

Gwyn Naera (RL crew) went live on Facebook and I screen recorded it later.

Just before showtime we gathered backstage. Sisilia said a beautiful prayer for us, and then we were on.

The crowd was lovely, we all noticed different things which made us happy. Evie said a lady in a Bob Marley dress who was dancing and having so much fun really made her night. A lady who used to live in my home town, Kooralbyn, came out all on her own to see our band. Helen, it was such a pleasure to meet you and have you sit with our family. I was very moved. Thank you for coming ❤️.

Roaring Lion usually plays for three hours. At Doo Bop we only played from 7pm to 8.45pm with a 15 min break. There was another band on at 9pm. We ended up cutting our break short to be able to fit in War/No More Trouble as our encore. The sound engineer Pete really took care of us and didn’t mind us changing the break time.

We play as many Bob Marley songs as possible for our audiences, and every minute counts!

This short session included Could You Be Loved, Three Little Birds, No Woman No Cry, One Love, Buffalo Soldier, Is This Love, Get Up Stand Up, I Shot The Sheriff, Exodus, Roots Rock Reggae, Jamming, Stir It Up, Natural Mystic, Coming In From The Cold, Turn Your Lights Down Low, One Drop, Satisfy My Soul, Sun Is Shining, Positive Vibration, Waiting in Vain, Iron Lion Zion, Who The Cap Fit.

But there was no time for any of my favourites like No More Trouble In The World, Top Rankin, Ambush In The Night, Africa Unite,

In War, Maui and I doubled down on bassist Taria’s lines. It’s the first time we’d done this and I had to listen hard for Ale’s lyrics, since our motif changes were dependent on certain words. It was intense and raised the stakes for me. I felt so alive!

I also got to play my lovely melodica for 8 bars in our Sun is Shining opener. 💪

It’s been a precarious first half of the year, but Alejandro, Sisilia, Carlee and Evie are settled in the family now, and we are ready to grow in all ways. Next up is Springfield in July and Nundah in August. These are 3 hour shows so if you’ve got a favourite there’s a very good chance you’ll hear it! Maybe we’ll see you there, hey?

Read more posts about Roaring Lion here. Find us on Facebook!

[All image credits to Derrin Hill.]

3 responses to “Get Up, Stand Up, and Dance with us at Doo Bop!”

  1. Thanks for this really insightful article, Joanna – so good to read some background about the band & play list,etc. I was at the Doo Bop – ha ha, I’m the lady in the reggae dress you mentioned actually – and absolutely loved hearing ‘Roaring Lion’ for the first time, but definitely not the last! 🇯🇲🪘🎶🎤 Now following…

    1. Hi Lyn. Oh that’s great that you know how pleased you made us feel! Thank you for reading about us. It was such a good night wasn’t it? Fantastic that we will see you again. I look forward to it!

    2. roaringlionreggae Avatar

      Thank you Lyn for your comments and also for attending our show. We are so grateful to be able to play our tribute to Bob Marley’s music and have people like yourself share that one love spirit. Look forward to seeing you again – jah bless 🙏❤️💛💚👏👏👏

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About Joanna

Joanna is British Australian. She worked mainly in financial news in London. In her forties she moved to her parents’ birthplace, Sabah, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo, where she became a pianist in a hotel and wrote a blog about musicians. The blog became a book before Joanna came to Australia in 2012. In this blog she writes mostly about music, gardening, and trips to Sabah. Oh, and Wookie the Havanese.

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