Still More Dutch treats: Bourbon St. Blues and Jazz, Amsterdam

The stage set up at Bourbon Street Blues & Jazz Club in Amsterdam

The stage set up at Bourbon Street Blues & Jazz Club in Amsterdam

If you’re looking at the photo (above) of the Bourbon Street Blues & Jazz Club in Amsterdam and you’ve noticed a disco ball hanging over the center of the dance floor and wondering, do they really use that thing? The answer is Yes, They Do.

On my last Saturday night in Amsterdam, my wish to hear the blues was finally fulfilled by Reuben and the Jets. That is not a real band name by the way, but those cats played some phenomenal blues anyway. It was a group of four musicians who happened to be available to play together that night and they totally rocked the house.

Reuben (Klebbers) played lead guitar, and the drummer and bass player I had seen play before on a previous night I had stopped in to check out Bourbon St. They also had a French harmonica player, which Reuben admitted to the crowd he just met. But when the four of them put it all together: WOW, they put out a very original set of blues interpretations for the four or so sets I stayed for during that final Saturday night. (I listened to them until the wee hours… 2am!)

During one of the breaks between sets Reuben came down off the stage and I requested “Got My Mojo Workin'” which they played during the next set. He did a call back with the audience that was so much fun, the entire crowd kept singing “got my mojo workin'” calling back to Reuben as he sung his heart out, and then the harp player blew a mean streak on his harmonica. The guy made it sound like a freight train. I was really knocked out by their performance!

Bourbon Street Jazz and Blues Club (Amsterdam) has a “reputation” as being the place where people go late into the night, after they get drunk somewhere else. I can tell you that the crowds at Bourbon St. are larger than those at Alto or Maloe Melo because the place is bigger, and just in front of the stage it’s not uncommon to have a dozen people dancing (oddly, they are usually dancing by themselves… especially the guys.)

But even if the place does get a little rowdy, which it can, it’s still an extremely fun venue. If you show up before 11pm you don’t have to pay a door fee. I don’t know the door fee because I always showed up before 11… before things really got started.

A funny thing about clubs in Amsterdam is that they bill themselves as jazz or blues or whatnot, but they don’t always PLAY jazz or blues – but offer the whatnot (see my post about Maloe Melo). The exception for me was Alto, because they only played jazz when I went, but I was only there twice. (I’m sure it would have been the same if I had made it to Bim Haus, which is the Amsterdam equivalent of Jazz at Lincoln Center and seats 200+. Bim Haus is located behind Central Station, which is sketchy late at night … one reason I decided not to go on my own.)

Anyway, another thing I loved about Bourbon Street was the bartending staff. They were so friendly, bopped along to the music, clapped and sang along and participated in creating a fun vibe. There was one particular bartender, a black guy who wore a bow tie… I wish I had gotten his name, he was so nice to me every time I came in he made me feel particularly welcome.

Bourbon Street Jazz and Blues is located beside a canal, and just around the corner from Alto Jazz Cafe, near the Leidseplein. They are open 7 days a week. I highly recommend this venue, it’s got a large space to spread out, an ample dance floor, rocking bands, and a super friendly staff that adds up to a guaranteed night of musical fun!


10 Responses

  1. Carol: “Bourbon Street Jazz and Blues Club (Amsterdam) has a “reputation” as being the place where people go late into the night, after they get drunk somewhere else.”

    There is another reason Carol, drinking in a bar is quite expensive, so many people buy there beer, wine and liquor in the store and drink that with there friends at home before they go to a bar.

    In Dutch: “Indrinken”

    • Sometimes people do that here in the U.S. too… have a few drinks at home before they go out to get the night started.

      I don’t ever drink alcohol, so any of those things are kind of lost on me.

      Still, it was true that the people at Bourbon Street were already on their way to being “happy” 🙂

  2. Jazz & Blues (and whatnot music) reviewer across Europe? Hmm…..

    • Haha! I’m not qualified to be a jazz reviewer, but I do probably know enough about the Blues to do decent reviews.

      And if someone wants to hire me to review Blues clubs and Blues festivals across Europe – please contact me immediately! LOL

  3. That would be a happy day indeed. I mean, why the Ef can’t this be done? You would be perfect for it.

    • It’s funny to say this, but I really agree with you. I never even thought about it, because it seems so … carefree (and we both know I lean more towards “intense” haha.)

      I often think about alternative ways of living my life… and then I cuff myself to the gristmill of a well-paid corporate life, workin’ for the man every Monday morning. LOL

  4. Have you ever thought about getting connected with Lonely Planet?

    • That’s a particular style of writing, travel writing, but I’m sure I could do it. No, I hadn’t thought about Lonely Planet… but I often watch Globe Trekker and drool at the far flung places they go. They are really fearless in their travels.

  5. Bourbon Street Music club as it is called , is the best place to go to . They have never had a fight in the 26 years they are open …. That says something ….

  6. The Best place to hear live music in town . Always a great vibe and never any kind off aggression …

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