London has lots of great music venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, 606 Club, Roundhouse and I would happily count the Jazz Cafe among these. It’s a fun place to see live music and I went there recently to test it out for 2017 and I wanted to tell you how it went.
My good friends from Texas were in town and they really love to see music they can dance to so I checked out who was playing at the Jazz Cafe. I was in luck! A Brazilian band called Bixiga 70 were booked and the venue’s blurb described them as ” Hailing from São Paulo, Bixiga 70 are a band that are distinctly influenced by Fela Kuti’s brand of afrobeat but spikes it with textures from the Caribbean, Brazil and other parts of Africa. It’s their horn section which draws, the greatest plaudits, with elements of funk, bossa nova, tribal drumming from Guinea and samba all embroiled into a dense pot that is the unmistakable groove of Bixiga 70.” We were excited!
The Jazz Cafe is just outside Camden Town tube station, so easy to get to and we got there early enough to miss the queues.
The venue has been poshed up since I was last there but not overly so. There are 2 options – downstairs standing and upstairs where you can book a table, eat and drink and there’s enough space to dance around your table. I booked upstairs to give us the best of both worlds as if my friends wanted to get into the heavy dancing they could head downstairs.
We ate a small meal sharing portions of crispy fried cauliflower florets in a spicy sauce and the southern fried chicken with spinach and sweet potato fries. Along with gins and red wine we enjoy the DJ who warmed up the crowd with a Brazilian vibe which was great and the volume was just right so we could easily chat.
The arrival of the band was greeted with huge enthusiasm from the crowd where it seemed that Brazil had turned out in force. From our table, we had a brilliant view of the band which had loads of drumming and a strong prominent brass section. It was impossible to keep to our seats so we jumped around to the irresistible rhythms of Bixiga 70 who were clearly having a really good time too.
We left shortly after the band finished, armed with CDs as mementoes and I was charmed by the blurb which said ‘big up to the people who come to our concerts this work is the result of that exchange of energies’!
Jazz Cafe had been exactly what we wanted: a great band, dancing space, a lively crowd, decent food and drink, a top view of the band, easy access to the toilets with no queues (yes, it helps!), a good warm-up DJ, good table service and the option to get onto the dance floor if you want to.
For more information about what’s on and how to book the Jazz Cafe, check out: thejazzcafelondon.com
Full disclosure: We booked and paid for everything ourselves as this was not a review event but just something I wanted to share!