Walking into the middle of rehearsals with The Big Band Theory, it didn’t take long to realise that these guys are born to perform. Five excellent musicians but also five fun people have come together to make our Saturday nights more interesting and entertaining than ever before.
Having arrived about 30 minutes early for our interview to get a sense of what is going on ahead of the opening at Scarabeo last Saturday night, I had the opportunity to listen in on the band’s rehearsal, which as I discovered is a mixture of serious work and a little bit of fun and games.
I found myself singing and dancing along to some of my favourite tunes from various genres, artists and even eras, that I never thought could be played on a single playlist by one band.
With Alexis Kazakopoulos, guitarist and singer, George Kleanthous on keyboards, Evangelos Evangelou on the accordion, Angelos Michaeloudes on percussions and the incredible voice of lead singer Avgi Hadjipavlou, the band has created a uniquely characteristic sound which attributes freshness and originality to a list of upbeat popular songs by Greek, English and international artists.
Influenced by the rhythms and sounds of Balkan music, swing, hip hop and reggae, the band gives its own special sounds to covers by Imam Baildi, Active Member, Manu Chao, Leonidas Balafas, Natassa Bofiliou and many more.
“The combination of instruments we have included in the band is what gives us our characteristic sound,” percussionist Angelos Michaeloudes explains.
“The songs included in the programme are songs that we like and enjoy listening to, as well as songs that we want to adapt to the band’s individual sounds and rhythms,” keyboardist George Kleanthous adds.
As a band, The Big Band Theory started out in May, with a different set-up and concept. The original idea was created when Greece-born Alexis Kazakopoulos, who plays the guitar and sings in the band, decided to move back to Cyprus after having lived on the island previously.
“I spoke with George before I arrived and we had agreed that we wanted to start a band. When I came back to Cyprus in May, the two of us started the band with Elias Eliades and then after he left, Avgi joined us and the three of us appeared at Kokkino Podilato in Nicosia throughout the summer,” Kazakopoulos said.
However, around September and after Kleanthous had met accordion player Evangelos Evangelou through university, the band decided to expand and put a new twist to their gig. Percussionist Angelos Michaeloudes was then introduced to the band by Evangelou.
For those who are fans of the American television series “The Big Bang Theory”, the band’s name inspiration is more than obvious.
“As a band we all liked the show so we decided to adapt the title for our band name. It was also a word play because we aspired to create a ‘big bang’ with our music,” Kazakopoulos revealed.
Grasping the difficult times people in Cyprus are facing at the moment due to the economic situation, the band decided to put together an upbeat, lively programme that would allow people of all ages to relax and have fun, without having to spend a fortune.
“We chose Scarabeo for our appearances for two reasons; the first was the venue itself which is quite alternative and suits our style and most importantly because of its prices,” Kleanthous told The Cyprus Weekly.
“Indicatively, it costs €4 for beer and €5 for other drinks, while for those who want to open a 70cl bottle of whisky or vodka it will cost €65, which is one of the cheapest prices currently available.”
Reaching the end of our interview, the band members shared some of their hopes and dreams for the new venture.
“What we want is to enjoy ourselves and do something special, and for people to also be a part of that,” Kazakopoulos concluded. Participating in festivals abroad is one of The Big Band Theory’s ultimate goals, but for the time being, don’t miss the opportunity to watch them perform right here in Nicosia.
Whether you decide to join the band on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve or visit them at one of their upcoming Saturday performances from January, one thing is for sure: you are going to have fun, listen to some of your favourite music performed by talented musicians and of course drink and be merry!
The Big Band Theory's next performances are on Christmas Eve (24/12) and New Year’s Eve (31/12) and the programme will also include a DJ (entrance €10). From the New Year the band will perform at Scarabeo every Saturday, at 10.30 pm (entrance €5). For more information call 96 696669 or visit the band’s Facebook page ‘The Big Band Theory’.