Is there anything better than seeing your favourite artist live? Add an iconic music venue as the setting and it just makes the show a little more magic.
As I write this, it has been exactly six months since I’ve seen a band live, and have been making do watching some of my faves online via streams (not quite the same). Whilst all music venues are currently closed in the UK, I am looking forward to the day we can return to music venues, get into a mosh pit, crowd surf, raise our voices to our fave songs, and have a little dance (not quite yet though).
This is the first in a series of posts detailing the most iconic music venues around the world you need to catch a show, at least once in your life. First cab off the rank, my adopted home: The United Kingdom.
1. ROYAL ALBERT HALL, LONDON
Let’s begin with the super obvious. Synonymous with classical music, the Royal Albert hall also hosts more contemporary music (I had had tickets to Incubus for this past June, unfortunately the show was cancelled). This is one of the most beautiful venues in the United Kingdom and certainly the most epic in London. If you can try to catch the last night of the Proms, or any other show that you fancy.
Where to find Royal Albert Hall: Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP
Gig listings and more info: royalalberthall.com/
2. THE NEW ADELPHI CLUB, HULL
One of my personal favourite rooms in the UK (and it’s just up the road from me 🤘), The Adelphi feels like your living room, It’s small, it’s sweaty, and it has hosted some of the most well-known bands in the world (Pulp, The Housemartins, Oasis, Fat Boy Slim, Green Day, Radiohead). The New Adelphi Club is tiny and intimate, which is why it’s so special. Do yourself a favour and make sure you see a show here if you find yourself in East Yorkshire.
Where to find the New Adelphi Club: 89 De Grey Street, Beverley Road, Kingston Upon Hull HU5 2RU
Gig listings and more info: theadelphi.com/
3. KING TUT’S WAH-WAH HUT, GLASGOW
King Tut’s is LEGENDARY! Quite literally EVERYONE has played here. It opened in 1990, and ever since has been a champion for Scottish music and has always hosted some of the largest bands in the world (quite often before they ‘broke’). The stairs up to the band room feature a timeline of the bans that have played here over the years, some of the names are truly astonishing. No trip to Glasgow is complete without seeing a show here.
Where to find King Tut’s: 272A St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5RL
Gig listings and more info: kingtuts.co.uk/
4. BRIXTON ACADEMY, LONDON
Brixton Academy holds a special place in my heart, it is the first place I saw a live act after moving to the UK all the way back in 2009. A quick aside: I spent my teens, and early twenties pouring over import copies of Q and NME magazines, The academy was always where “all” the bands played back in the ’90s / early 2000’s or at least so I thought, which is why it was my first port of call.
Where to find Brixton Academy: 211 Stockwell Road, London SW9 9SL Gig listings and more info: o2academybrixton
5. THE CAVERN CLUB, LIVERPOOL
The Cavern Club needs no introduction, famously hosting some of the Beatles earliest shows. A visit to this Liverpool gem is practically a pilgrimage site to Beatles fans.
Where to find The Cavern Club: 10 Mathew Street, Liverpool
Gig listings and more info: cavernclub.com
6. 100 CLUB, LONDON
Just the mere mention of the 100 Club, the immediate reaction is that this is the home of punk, which is true but it is so much more. This small London venue packs a lot of history into its walls, championing both the UK punk scene (artists that have graced the stage included the Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Buzzcocks, and the Clash just to name a few)and the UK blues scenes in their early days. You can catch a bit of what you fancy here: The 100 club now showcases jazz, blues, rock and, punk several nights a week.
Where to find the 100 Club: 100 Oxford Street, London, W1D 1LL
Gig listings and more info: https://www.the100club.co.uk/
7. BARROWLANDS, GLASGOW
The Barrowland Ballroom, a venue of myth and legend in Glasgow for over 60 years. A place very close to my heart. My dad has stories about this place that are hilarious one of the tamer examples is that we fell down the same set of stairs 40 years apart HA! Barrowlands is an exquisite venue to see a show, the energy in the room is second to none, not that it’s important, but Barrowlands is also one of the prettiest rooms in the UK. On the way to the venue, cut through the wee park and you’ll see a pathway that lists all of the bands that have graced the stage over the years.
Where to find the Barrowlands: 244 Gallowgate, Glasgow, G4 0TT
Gig listings and more info: barrowland-ballroom.co.uk/
8. THE APOLLO, LONDON
This is a venue perfect for all the short people out there – the floor is raked so you can actually see the stage from anywhere you’re standing (from the bar for example),
Where to find The Apollo: 45 Queen Caroline Street London, W6 9QH
Gig listings and more info: eventimapollo.com/
9. RONNIE SCOTT’S, LONDON
It would be remiss of me (and my extremely eclectic music taste) not include a jazz venue in here. Ronnie Scott’s is THE place for Jazz in London, named after the legendary saxophonist. Ronnie Scott’s attracts both new artist and jazz legends from around the world – Often many stop by here on their way to Montreaux / North Sea Jazz Festival / London Jazz Festival and play warm shows here.
If jazz is your thing, do make a stop here, especially on an improv/ open mic night as you’ll never know who’ll stop by to play.
Where to find Ronnie Scott’s: 47 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 4HT
Gig listings and more info: ronniescotts.co.uk
10. THE ROUNDHOUSE, LONDON
Once an old train shed, the Roundhouse was transformed into a venue 50 years ago and has been hosting everything from music to circus ever since. It remains to this day one of Londons most well-loved venues.
Where to find The Roundhouse: Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8EH
Gig listings and more info: roundhouse.org.uk
BONUS ICONIC VENUE: THE EDEN PROJECT, CORNWALL
Nestled into a large crater, the Eden Project is technically not a full-time music venue, but they do the occasional show in this epic location. The Eden Project is easily recognisable for its massive bio-domes (housing the world’s largest rainforest in ‘captivity’)
I saw Queens of the Stoneage here back in 2018 (Bjork also played the same year), it was nothing short of amazing. There is something enchanting about this venue that you can’t quite put into words, If you get a chance to see a show here….GO. The Eden Project is also fab for a day trip too
Where to find The Eden Project: Bodleva, Cornwall, PL24 2SG
Gig listings and more info: edenproject.com