FeatureReportTop Ten

Reggae Dancehall Hot Spots – Jozi

Kaldies Coffee Shop
1 Central Place, 30 Jeppe Street, Newtown
Tel: 083 757 0277

Kaldi’s Coffee is described as “a shining oasis in the middle of Newtown’s culinary wasteland” by an American blogger. During the day that’s exactly what it is,  but late at night it turns into an oasis of live music and beautiful people with good vybz and a relaxed atmosphere. Even the decor changes mood and adjust well with the night settings. Kaldies Coffee is run by husband and wife team, The Matlombe family who also run an events and entertainment company and have a family band. Its a family affair.

The irony that is  Kaldies Coffee Shop is that it is the last establishment standing in Newtown. When the JDA came with its grand scheme to revamp and upscale Newtown, the Rastas who have always hung out at Newtown, had nowhere to go. All the upmarket establishments that took over Newtown then went out of business or left the area, and now  Kaldies Coffee is still standing strong and providing live entertainment and the Reggae masses are reclaiming Newtown again.

Thursday nights at Kaldies is Thrill Thursdays, where live performances and jam sessions are the main menu for all types of music and all types of cool people.

Sunday is Easy Sundays hosted by Mad Koolia, BBG and Co. They upgraded Mad Sundays from Rasta House to Kaldies Coffee and the event starts late in the afternoon til late at night. This is a showcase event where upcoming artists and DJ’s are given a platform. There are regular performers, but it is open to one and all and its Reggae vibes all through and through.

On Saturday 27 February will be Black History Month hosted by BC Movement, a first of many to come Saturday nights at Kaldies, described as “a series of explosive Themed Parties” by DJ Teedo and she will be playing alongside Jozi’s old time favourite DJ’s and new ones. Here Teedo and her team are creating a type of party that they would like to attend or DJ at, and it promises to be Fire!

R20 gets you in. Full Bar and Catering.

House of Tandoor
26 Rockey Street, Yeoville

House of Tandoor aka House of Reggae is the foundation for many an artist and DJ’s in and around Jozi and foreign. It has gone through phases and lapses. The oldest establishment that never ever shied from Reggae Dancehall. Jah Seed, back then he was still Apple Seed and Admiral of the African Storm Crew, were instrumental in starting and growing the reggae dancehall scene in Yeoville, and were the first to play at Tandoor. The doors of Tandoor have seen many international and local faces pass through dem, and if the walls could talk, they would tell of the many faces personas characters images cultures and eccentricities from around the globe that have been there.

Tandoor, with all the changes that happen, from management to the reduction of the size of the complex, one thing remain constant, and that is Reggae Dancehall. All Seasons, all occassions all day every day. It is head quartered at South Africa’s Reggae Capital at the United Nations of Africa seat, Yeoville. Known and unknown DJ’s from Japan to the United States have held residency at Tandoor. Even Randy Chin, VP Records head honcho pass through Tandoor on his visit to South Africa.

139 Smit Service Road, Braamfontein

Rub a Dub

A relative new comer to the Reggae and Dancehall Scene. Gets a mention here on the list because of the potential it holds. It is primarily a restaurant/bar which serves African Cousin. Full Bar available with smoking area and outdoor seating and dancing. It is situated in a corner just below the Mandela Bridge, lending itself as a perfect Chaf Pozi, away from the trendy Braamfontein night life joints.

Although it does not host strictly reggae sessions, Spitt Fayah Crew who organises monthly reggae gigs called Rub A Dub Fridays make it sound and feel like Reggae Dancehall has found a home in Braamfontein. These sessions have been going on since the glory days of the now defunct Kingston on 4th in Melville and have changed venues ever since but it looks like they are about to settle dung Ko’spotong in Braamfontein. The sessions here are for Reggae dancehall music aficionados so to speak.  They are old skool vybz  sometimes with strictly 90’s dancehall vibes. The last event was a Lovers Rock Session with guest performance by Momo Dread, Jozi’s very own Mr Lover Lover. The focus is not to use big names to market the event, but to get a steady crowd that ‘gets it’.

10 Henry Nxumalo St, Newtown
Phone: +27 11 838 9145

Everybody knows about Bassline on Thursdays. Again here, its Reggae Dancehall that has the longest run in this music venue which hosts a variety of local and international genres and gigs. But Thursday nights are Fire Thursdays and Everybody knows that. Admiral and Jah Seed has kept it going since. After transitioning from Tandoor they hosted Fire Thursdays in Newtown area at Carfax and at Horror Cafe [now Shikisha] before finding a permanent home at Bassline. The first African Storm [or National] Dancehall Queen contest was held at Bassline.  Many, if not all the Jamaican Reggae Dancehall artists who come perform in South Africa pass through Bassline. It is the biggest and longest running Ragga Dancehall gig in South Africa. Jah Seed and Admiral also host a radio ragga show on the country’s most popular youth station YFM. They both have colourful career histories that help to bolster the gig and the dancehall queens antics on the stage has definitely helped to garner the cross over non reggae dancehall crowd and entered Fire Thursday in the history books of Jozi’s gigs. If only they could put more local artists on that stage!

Admiral and Jahseed Joziafrican storm jozi

Photos: FB: African Storm

Shikisha Restaurant and Pub
Miriam Makeba St, Newtown
Phone:+27 11 492 1626

Not far from Bassline there is Shikisha, a restaurant/bar with outdoor seating and hosts live music events. Lioness Productions who recently brought Anthony B to South Africa and hosts the annual Catch a Fire event has been hosting monthly Reggae gigs for three years now starting in OST in Newtown, then moved to Carfax, then a short stint at Maboneng until it finally found a stable home at Shikisha. The First Friday Reggae gigs have proved popular  in Jozi and has become a staple with a regular following. They invite DJs and upcoming artists to showcase at each event with DJ Fanta Jozi as the headline act.

reggae fridaysfirst fridays jozi 2first fridays jozi 4

EDIT: Shikisha has been closed down and the First Friday Sessions are no longer taking place there.

Rasta House
23 Muller Street, Yeoville.

It was a place of refuge for the Rastafarian way of life and has since become a social place for live performances. It used to be vibrant with lots of cultural activities like Black History Month celebrations, Women’s Day Celebrations and exhibitions. Up until recently, it was home to Easy Sunday Sessions before they moved the sessions to Kaldies Coffeeshop in Newton. As the name suggests, Reggae Dancehall is a staple at Rasta house, with outdoor sitting, a Bar and pool tables free entry.

Yard Six Six
No. 78 – 2nd Avenue, Selborne st, Alexandra

Yard Six Six

Moving up north of Jozi, there is a yard in Alexander called Yard Six Six.  They are  soundsytem brokers and event organisers and  they have been hosting Reggae and Dancehall Sessions every last saturday of the month at the yard. It is a typical yard in Alex, except this time the entire space is set up for a dance session, with a small podium that accommodates performances. Its open air with full bar catering and also enough space for 1 or 2 stalls that sells Rasta paraphernalia. They invite DJ’s from around Jozi on rotation often invite Hip Hop DJ’s as well. Almost everything at the yard was DIY’ed and therefore giving the space that authentic intimate feel about it, with good laid back vibes.

Sharpeville Coffee Shop
Cocktail Bar, Sharpeville

Every Second Friday of the month, the Coffeshop in Sharpeville turns up Loud. There is an Entertainment movement called VND [Vaal Never Disappoints], based in the Vaal established in 2010 and their main focus is  Dancehall/Reggae and Hip Hop. They organise monthly sessions called Swagg Turn Up at the Coffeeshop and its for the hardcore dancehall fanatics. If you are a dancehall DJ and have never played at the Coffeshop in Sharpeville, eish, sorry for you because they say that the crowd is the most responsive and they turn up the loudest, and that is the reason Vaal Never Disappoints.

Smugglers Pub and Grill
Witkoppen Rd & Riverbend Rd, Randburg,
Phone:+27 11 704 7199

The Talent Management and Events Company husband and wife Team, Bongifusion, have recently secured Sunday at the Smugglers Pub for Reggae and Dancehall. They are working towards turning it into regular fixed Reggae Sunday chillas up in the north.  Its The Chilled Reggae Dancehall Sundays Session starting from late afternoon until late at night. It is mostly Zimdancehall with DJ’s on rotation and live performances. Dobba Don, the latest Zimdancehall sensation will have his first performance in South Africa at Smugglers Pub on the 27th of this month.
dobba don jozi

39 Gwigwi Mrwebi St, Johannesburg
+27 83 288 0428

Located in an old warehouse in the industrial area of Newtown Carfax is an underground club and events space that hosts regular music festivals focusing on alternative and underground music scene. It has an outdoor area with Full Bar services. It has played host to many a reggae gig including Fire Thursdays, First Friday Reggae Sessions and Catch A Fire annual event. Anthony B performed there recently and Luciano’s Return to Africa tour was held at Carfax. The shows can go on until the early hours of the morning and the atmosphere and the vibes are nice.