Oh Lady Be Good

The great chanteuses of the twentieth century


Oh Lady Be Good is back in Brisbane following sell-out seasons in the UK and packed crowds at the Queensland Cabaret Festival.

Enjoy a feast of classic jazz and blues featuring audience favourite Melissa Western and her hot jazz band.

You love iconic jazz-femme legends including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nancy Wilson, Bessie Smith, Peggy Lee and Eartha Kitt but do you know their fascinating personal stories?

Celebrate their breathtaking legacy and revel in some of the world’s most-loved music.

‘Great storyteller, feisty, highly enjoyable; fantastic instrumentalists … Western is a force of nature’ ★★★★★ BroadwayBaby – ‘Inspiring’ ★★★★ ThreeWeeks – ‘Gorgeous singing voice’ The Australian

Doors open 7:00pm for 7:30pm start. Join us for a drink!

2 reviews

  1. Fabulous: Excellent Band, Exceptional Venue, A Wonderful Chanteuse.


    Melissa Western is not just “good.” Together with her jazz band—Tnee Dyer (music director/piano), Helen Svoboda (double bass), and Lachlan Hawkins (Drums)—Melissa Western is really quite fabulous.
    The lights dim, the music starts, and suddenly the room is filled with a beautiful voice, as Western walks round the seats and along the main aisle into the room, with a very tactile performance of ‘(Romance) in the Dark.’ The audience was hooked.

    During the 75 minute show (just incredible value for money at only $30 a ticket), Weston introduced stories and information about many of the inspirational leading ladies of jazz and blues, illustrated with some great selections of black and white images and fascinating nuggets of information. Or, in her own words, performed “my love letter to the great chanteuses of the twentieth century.” Describing Ella Fitzgerald as perhaps her “biggest inspiration,” Western’s second song of the evening was an unsurprising choice; the George and Ira Gershwin’s ‘Oh Lady Be Good’ (a 1947 hit for Fitzgerald). Western would have delighted her heroine with the performance on Friday night, which included an epic scat ‘trumpet’ solo voiced by our chanteuse.

    And then we were on to Marilyn Monroe, and of course it had to be delectable performances of “I Wanna Be Loved by You,” and ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” And a fascinating anecdote about the support Monroe gave to Fitzgerald, ensuring that a career-changing booking was made for Fitzgerald at the previously all-white Mocambo nightclub.

    But we didn’t have too much time to ponder these insights as Western was quickly on to talking about Billie Holiday, and performing two wonderful classics (‘God Bless the Child’, and ‘Love for Sale’). Holiday’s performance of her hit song ‘God Bless the Child’ (written together with Arthur Herzog, Jr) is a difficult one to beat. But Western made the song her own, again with great scat singing.

    There were just so many highlights from an evening that also included Carmen Miranda’s “I like you very much,’ Eartha Kitt’s “C’est si bon,” Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman.” Beyonce and Bieber weren’t around when Nina Simonne recorded ‘My Baby Just Cares for Me.’ But if they had been, we were all convinced Simonne would also have worked them into ‘My Baby Just Cares for Me.’

    Not all of the stories were uplifting , sexy or fun. Bessie Smith’s story was one of many sad tales during the evening, but selecting two of Smith’s songs gave Western an opportunity to add some humour into the mix, with the highly entertaining “Just Give me a Man.’ And then the tempo dropped, as Western talked about Edith Piaf; and you could have heard a pin drop during a mellifluous performance of ‘La vie en rose.’

    The band were excellent—playing together as only the best jazz performers can. I loved Svoboda’s solos, in particular in Western’s version of Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever,’ and was thrilled by Dyer’s solo in Irving Berlin’s ‘Blue skies’ (a la Fitzgerald), and each of the spotlight performances by all three members of the band were so very memorable in both ‘Route 66’ and ‘Caravan’

    Favourite song of the evening? Possibly Etta James’ ‘Cry me a River’ (performed in honour of Chris and Susan Osborne). It was great to hear the compliments about the venue, and hosts, from Western and her fellow musicians.

    An invitation to perform at Australian Modern has to be on the ‘bucket list’ of any musician. Chris and Susan Osborne are wonderful and generous hosts—turning their home into a fantastic location for intimate music events, and throwing what have to be among the best parties in Brisbane. For 4 of the 7 Brisbane Anywhere Festivals, Chris and Susan have transformed their lounge and kitchen into an exceptional performance space. Welcoming guests on 12th May, Chris modestly described this hospitality as being due to their shared vision, and that they simply “love to support the Arts and the Artists.” And support them they do. With style. Where else can you experience live music up close and personal, and do so with a glass in your hand? And having a chance to step inside the Osborne’s Carina home is the icing on that particular cake (check out the website to learn a little more about Australian Modern).

    Sadly Melissa Western’s shows at Australian Modern ended on 13th May. Look out for her at Brisbane Jazz Club and other great venues far and wide. And my advice for future Anywhere Festival events? If it’s on at Australian Modern, then book it. You’ll have a fabulous evening.

    Catherine Lawrence
    The reviewer attended the 12th May 2017 (7:30pm) performance.
    Tickets $30 https://anywheretheatre.com/listings/lady/. 75 minutes. The show had only 2 sell out performances during the Anywhere Festival (12th & 13th May).

  2. The previous review says most of what I would say.. The backing musicians were changed with Andrew Shaw on base and Dr Richard Seymour on drums.. I have heard these people several times before and have NEVER been disappointed — just the opposite—. They are equal to and better than any acts i have seen in the best jazz clubs of Europe.. The venue was intimate .. Melissa took full advantage of that to get ‘personal’ with the audience . When the filal song had been sung she , and the group , received a standing ovation and demands for encores.. It was a fantastic evening.. Thanks to all concerned..

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Oh Lady Be Good @ Australian Modern


Australian Modern
9 Burchell Street, Carina Q 4152
**Doors open 7:00pm**

9 Burchell Street
Carina QLD 4152
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