Live Music in London
When evening draws in, London comes alive with a range
of fantastic music venues so whatever kind of live music
act you enjoy there’s sure to be something appealing
to get your toes tapping.
From funk and jazz to the very latest new music, there’s
a range of great places to visit for all music tastes.
The Macadam Building [map],
Kings College, Surrey Street, WC2, has a wide programme
of indie and pop music from some of the best up-and-coming
bands in the UK. This is the place to enjoy a cheap pint
and do a bit of talent spotting.
For those who like their music more intense The Royal
Opera House [map],
Bow Street, Covent Garden, is the perfect place to
catch a touring production from world-renowned companies.
Alternatively, take the scenic tour of this splendid building
during the day and see where the real sopranos perform.
Barbican Hall [map],
The Barbican Centre, is London’s finest acoustic
theatre and is home to the London Symphony Orchestra,
as well as offering a temporary abode to a wide range
of touring orchestras and bands.
One of West London’s most famous green spaces comes
alive every few weeks with some of the best music events
in the world. Hyde Park [map],
Park Lane, W2, plays host to a number of festivals including
BBC Proms In The Park, Party In The Park, and The Pride
Festival. There are also gigs from popular bands, with
the likes of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Thrills,
and Groove Armada all having played there in the past.
Why not head out to Kingston Upon Thames for a programme
of punk-a-thon’s that will immediately have you
reminiscing or rediscovering the 1980s? The Peel [map],
Hampden Road, KT1, hosts regular 'Household Name Records'
nights, which are packed with the latest punk, rock and
The Forum is one of the top live music venues in
the capital and you’ll find it in North West London.
The building was once an art deco style cinema but has
more recently played host to popular touring artists like
The Libertines, Basement Jaxx and the Sisters of Mercy.
The other top venue in the area is Underworld [map],
where you’ll mainly find rock acts strutting their
stuff on stage.
New bands making their way in North West London’s
music world will probably end up in the sticky-carpeted
back room of the Bull & Gate [map].
The décor maybe dire but here the music is the
attraction with multiple guitar wielding bands covering
a range of genres practically every night.
One of the newest and probably the biggest venue in the
north area of London is the Carling Academy Islington
[map] . Opened in 1993, this 800-seater concert venue attracts
some of the bigger names in live music to North London.
Acoustic and unplugged music can be heard at Lark in
the Park [map].
Located at Barnard Park in Islington, this independent
bar is open to all sorts of music genres from acoustic
indie folk to quirky rock/pop and even has an open mike
night for any melody makers or spirited songstresses to
grab a little limelight.
For a venue with all the rock & roll hallmarks –
dark and dank – head to East London and On the
Rocks. Weekends are when this Shoreditch haunt comes
to life with plenty of gigs and clubbing. Rock chicks
and metal heads can also get their kicks at The Standard
Music Venue [map] in Walthamstow E17.
Also vying for a piece of the ‘trendy’ action
in Shoreditch is the newly opened Montunos [map].
Jazz is the order of the day in this 1930s speakeasy style
venue. While the venue attracts the likes of the James
Taylor Quartet, and Jools Holland, Tuesday is open mike
night where you can unleash your inner voice at this moody,
laid-back hangout. Meanwhile, across town the East
Side Jazz Club convenes every Tuesday to honour the
music form at Leytonstone’s Lord Rookwood pub.
Hackney’s live music venue offering comes in the
form of the London’s only large-scale independent
music hall – Ocean. Located opposite Hackney
Town Hall, you’ll find this a state-of-the-art and
dynamic venue, which allows you to visually and acoustically
make the most of the diverse range of musical attractions.
Over in South East London, the Royal Festival Hall
Belvedere Road, hosts a wide selection of orchestral and
big band events. This is also the place where the BBC
Symphony Orchestra does much of its live recording.
South West London boasts The Royal Albert Hall [map],
Kensington Gore, SW7, which has a large programme of exciting
music events including hosting the BBC Proms during July.
The London Symphony Orchestra also perform here regularly,
and there are three restaurants so that you can enjoy
a meal before listening to some excellent classical and
Putney, SW15, is home to the Wandsworth Symphony Orchestra
which was founded in 1973 and continues to bring sweet
music to the ears of locals.
Alternative gig-goers should head to the Carling Brixton
Stockwell Road, SW9. Here you can enjoy a mixed programme
of indie and rock bands like The Whitestripes, Massive
Attack and The Streets. This venue has also won a large
number of awards including the NME venue of the year
award eight consecutive times.
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