Originally posted on Mamba Online on February 7 2017
By Katlego Disemelo
There is something quite refreshing about change and dynamism. And if you are prone to curiosity like I am, you will be drawn towards most things that are new or different. For almost fifteen years Simply Blue has prided itself on providing its patrons with all things distinct to Joburg nightlife and its edgy culture.
And this is precisely why I was excited to attend the Simply Blue Relaunch event late last month. Although I’m quite familiar with Rogers Street in Selby Village, and the various nightclubs that have mushroomed thereabout – Lemon8, V2 and MiHouse – I was both curious and anxious to see what our familiar favourite had in store for us.
After climbing out of my Uber taxi, I skipped up the steps and I was surprised to be greeted by a smiling hostess. I paid the cover charge, complemented her Afro hairstyle, and walked along the red carpet into the main venue. I was then greeted by yet another smiling hostess before I walked into the main area. I had flashbacks from my younger and wilder days as I recognised the comic-strips covering the wall behind her.
I found it intriguing to see illustrations of Wonder Woman complementing the beautiful Miss Simply Blue who was handing out welcome shots to the guests. I then walked in to see the venue as I hadn’t seen it before: high ceilings, clean, white and silver minimalist décor complemented by a pool table, two well-stocked bars, and (the most important features, of course), two disco mirror balls overlooking the wide dancefloor.
By 22:00 the crowd filled up the enormous space. And it was an interesting crowd at that. I met different people from different walks of life who were there to have a good time, and to celebrate Simply Blue’s relaunch. It was great to see the people laughing and chatting on the white sofas or on the silver stools while they looked onto some amazing dance moves.
The welcoming and jovial atmosphere was also kept apace by the eclectic music selection. Few things are as boring as a playlist chiming out the same predictable genre all night. But this wasn’t the case. From the lovers of gqom, pop and RnB, to hip-hop and house music, everyone seemed to have their tastes catered to. They were also treated to entertainment and sat captivated by the live performances from the S.A.T. Divas and the inimitable Dame Zsa Zsa Whitney Gabor Houston.
Having moved from three venues in its previous incarnations, there is something commendable about Simply Blue’s staying power and its ability to draw supportive patronage. In a supposedly “world-class” city like Johannesburg, even a lay person is well aware of just how difficult it is to keep the doors open at any entertainment venue. But Simply has done more than that. It has provided a space for any and every person to feel free to be themselves, and dance until the early hours of the morning. And there is something equally amazing to be have a (much-needed) venue in which a wide variety of gender identities and sexual orientations are accepted and celebrated.
Diversity, fun and acceptance seem to be the name of the game at Simply Blue, and I can safely say I look forward to a many more years of dancing at its new stunning venue.