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A black and white photograph of Louis Armstrong playing a trumpet
Photograph: Wikipedia

Where to listen to soul music in Melbourne

The best places to get your groove on, both on and off the dancefloor

Written by
Time Out editors
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Melbourne's got some serious soul. Here are some of the best places to shake your tailfeather and ride the soul train into the wee hours of the morn'. If you've still got the need to get your groove on, check out our guides to Melbourne's best nightclubs and bars for dancing.

Cherry Bar
  • Clubs
  • Melbourne
  • price 1 of 4

Cherry Bar is reliably rock’n’roll, but on a Thursday night it dips a calloused toe into a pool of ’60s soul. Depending on the time you turn up there may be a line to get in, so either go early and sip on a Jack Daniels or two while you wait for your mojo to strike, or be prepared to make new friends hanging about in AC/DC Lane.

The Night Cat
  • Music
  • Collingwood

The vibe is electric in this darkly red-lit boudoir of a band venue and it's not hard to fathom why. The Night Cat has become a bit of a Fitzroy institution, with live jazz, funk, soul and reggae among its diverse line-up.

Entry is usually free, unless time is money and you can't afford to wait in the queue that snakes down Johnston St. It's worth it once you're inside, though, with a stage slap bang in the centre, so you can see your favourite jazz band from every angle.

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The Workers Club
  • Restaurants
  • Fitzroy

Shake off the winter chills with a night of soul-stomping action spread over two stages at the Workers Club. The first Saturday of every month, with Melbourne’s premier soul and R&B DJs at the helm, Soul-a-Go-Go is sure to satisfy your funk-groove cravings. "You can wear a fake afro and still look cool," insists our resident Soul-a-Go-Go groupie. "The DJs are the best in Melbourne – no one sits down for long, even crew who believe that three tequilas are a pre-requisite of any fine line dancing."

 

Greville Records
  • Shopping
  • Prahran

Greville is a trove for rare finds. Owner Warwick Brown also stocks an enviable array of books, tour posters, and hard-to-come-by paraphernalia. Given they’ve been running for 30 years, is it any wonder they’ve got it down? A Melbourne institution in earnest.

Northside Records
  • Shopping
  • Fitzroy

The best of new and second-hand, Northside Records is all about the vinyl. For both collectors and people wanting to dabble, there's a serious collection of funk, hip hop, soul, dubstep, dancehall, disco, rare releases and 45s. The staff will help you find what you are looking for as they have their finger in the pie with distributors all over the world.

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Rathdowne Records
  • Shopping
  • Northcote

Located on High Street, these guys are black wax specialists. Jazz, funk, soul, hip hop and rock vinyl reign supreme here.

Thornbury Records
  • Shopping
  • Northcote

There's nothing not to love about Thornbury Records (affectionately known as TRecs). The driver for the shop was always to supply a broad range of tunes and musical formats and these dudes have delivered on their promise – the selection's massive.

These Melbourne funk and soul veterans are a great export of Australian music, attracting crowds globally with their soundtrack of '60s and '70s raw funk and soul. They're all about interesting collaborations, teaming up with You Am I's Tim Rogers, Daniel Merriweather and Aloe Blacc to name a few, and even acting as the house band on Aussie music show STUDIO at the MEMO.

Instrumental funk/soul youngsters, the Cactus Channel, lay down soul grooves beyond their years, drawing on influences such as the Meters and James Brown. It’s raw and rambling and bound to make you sweat!

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Sassy, sexy soul delved in '60s R&B, Clairy Browne and her Bangin’ Rackettes take us back to the golden age of soul and doo-wop. Browne will break your heart with slow burners and then have you shuffling your feet shortly after. Seductive soul at its finest.

At the forefront of Melbourne’s funk and soul scene, Deep Street Soul have been dropping gritty soul tunes since 2006. Critically acclaimed across the globe, these guys inject some serious funk into their late-'60s inspired soul.

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Making waves in the US, Hiatus Kayote's 'future soul' is musically and technically above and beyond many of their contemporaries in the local circuit. A fusion of soul, jazz, funk and hip hop, their debut album, Tawk Tomahawk received praise from the likes of Erykah Badu and The Roots' Questlove.

The nine-piece Melbourne soul outfit have wowed audiences in their hometown with their energetic take on soul and R&B. Known for their very popular residencies at Cherry Bar’s Soul in the Basement night.

The longest running radio show in the world, Vince Peach has been spinning soul tunes across the airwaves since September 1984. Tune in on Wednesday’s from 3pm to 5pm at 106.7 to catch a mix of funk, soul and R&B from the sixties to the present day.

Get up and get down for RRR’s Get Down. Northside Records’ own Chris Gill spins his favourite collection of everything funk and soul, from hip hop to salsa, every Thursday from 12pm till 2pm.

Where to go dancing in Melbourne

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