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GO Live Music in London

Live Music in Greater 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 goth talent.

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 [map], 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 operatic music.

Putney, SW15, is home to the Wandsworth Symphony Orchestra [map], 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 Academy [map], 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.

If you want to comment on our choices or recommend somewhere, why not use our What You Recommend form to let us know.

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