Bassline is a club where the most well-known Jo’Burg headliners play, but it’s also possible to see some rising artists depending on the night. Jazz and blues are generally the genres being played, although there are some rock and hip-hop evenings as well. This is definitely one of the best places to see some of the continent’s biggest jazz and blues stars, though, some of whom have even recorded here with the studio of the same name.
You can find more great local and international jazz acts at The Rock, which is actually in Soweto rather than Johannesburg proper. Since it’s out of the city, getting to and from Soweto after the sun sets isn’t exactly dangerous, but isn’t something an unexperienced traveler would want to navigate without local assistance. Finding reliable transportation to and from is a must before going, but it’s worth it to get to experience the trendy, energetic atmosphere and good music. In addition to jazz, house music and kwaito (house music blended with traditional African rhythms) can be heard here.
Or get some blues at the Blues Room, one of South Africa’s premier music venues. There’s generally an older crowd here than at The Rock on blues nights. Some weeknights feature other local music and even comedy shows, though, so there really is something for everyone.
The suburbs and townships to the north of downtown Johannesburg tend to be more upscale, dressier, and some have a crowd that skews toward the older set. However, toward the northern side of town also sits Crazy 88, a hip place where Jo’Burg’s best DJs come to spin on the weekend that is anything but dressy and stuffy. International DJs, bands, and more also play here, as do some of the more eclectic South African music ensembles from time to time. Check out the calendar online ahead of time – you might discover a new musical blend you weren’t aware of before.
Also in the northern suburbs is Moloko Bar and Lounge. This is one of the most upscale clubs in town, so make sure to dress to impress. There are excellent DJs on the weekend, and Moloko is definitely the place to see and be seen. More relaxing, smooth tunes are played much of the time as well. Lounging on one of the plush red couches under the softly lit chandeliers here is a taste of the good life in Jo’Burg.
[photo courtesy of ffreakazzoid]