Discover some of London's best live music venues
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There is something about London that just screams Music, wherever you go you are followed by the sweet sound of music, swiftly dragging you into the nearest venue in sight. It is said to house some ‘the best places to see live music, whatever genre you go for.’
Know what kind of music you’d like to listen to in London, yet are unsure of exactly where to hear it? Being a music student myself, let me give you an insight into some of London’s best musical venues by genre.
The capital’s best places to catch some improv Jazz would have to be; Cafe Oto (18-22 Ashwin St, E8 3DL) this venue opened in 2008, with its large open space, it is well known for its large selection of experimental Jazz sounds. Tucked away down a side street, the venue feels welcoming and homely, making it perfect for a relaxed Jazz filled evening.
Another amazing place to catch some Improv Jazz has to be Bar & Co (Temple Pier, Victoria Embankment, WC2R 2PN or jump off London Tour Yellow and Red Routes) the venue hosts a improv Jazz night ever first and third Monday of every month with the 150 capacity, shadowed of Big Ben and the London Eye. Since 2002 this venue has been famous for its talent and new material. Definitely a hit for those who are intrigued by Improv Jazz.
Rock Music is another popular genre to be found in London. London is said to be one of the world’s greatest rock music cities. From The Rolling Stones to The Libertines, many have classed London as ‘home’ referring to the fact that they believe London is where Rock n Roll belongs. Whether you’re looking for some indie fun or a hard core rock scene, here’s where you can rock, London style.
The Cavern Freehouse (100 Coombe Lane, London SW20 0AY) is said to be one of the most popular venues for a night filled with Rock music. The pub supports musicians with an excellent venue for live music, its somewhere you can go to enjoy great music mid week and weekends. It’s has been said by many music lovers that the venue has been an essential part of their visit.
The Forum (9 - 17 Highgate RD, Kentish Town, NW5, London) is another popular venue for hosting insane live rock music due to its location being only a short stroll from Kentish Town underground station. The Forum has been described as a great venue or known as a ‘proper venue’ with great sound. It is well known for its brilliant view of the large stage wherever you stand, making the entertainment just that little bit better. There is downstairs standing and upstairs unreserved seating, where you get a good view too and the music is still as loud as ever. Another great classic venue for some Rock n Roll fun!
One quirky way to explore London’s rock history is to jump on the Swinging 60s Music Tour. Operating from Easter until October [exact 2017 dates yet to be confirmed], this nostalgic bus tour aboard an authentic London Routemaster double deck bus, takes in many of the famous rock spots west of the City Centre. Aboard the bus you will be able to listen to an excellent commentary featuring everything from The Beatles and the Small Faces to the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Genesis plus David Bowie. Tickets for this quirky tour can be booked online here.
Craving some hip hop? Or perhaps searching for that perfect Soul, R&B, Grime, Dubstep or Bassline music venue. Maybe you don’t want to take the chance with an amateur promoter at some cramped, overpriced club where the DJ places the same songs over and over again. You are in luck, here’s a few of London's most reliable urban music venues:
Plan B (418 Brixton Road, SW9 7AY) hosts an electronic music programme, that showcases the very best from the Urban music scene, this consists of Garage and Bass to Hip Hop and Soul. The award-winning, spacious venue is well known for its contribution to London’s nightlife. The venue welcomes not only popular well known artists but also upcoming artists with fresh unheard material.
Another popular Urban music venue is Rhythm Factory (16-18 Whitechapel Rd, E1 1EW near to the London Tour Yellow and Red Routes) This unusual yet edgy London venue is hidden just off of Brick Lane. Rhythm Factory is well known for its varied music as it hosts something different every night. The weekend are described as ‘kicking it till dawn’ every weekend. Due to its diverse music scene that covers all the cutting-edge sounds of London’s underground, where it shifts from the hardcore beats of drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep to then the smooth, classic hip hop. The huge sound-system setup and dark lighting of its various rooms proves that this venue has no time for selfies and is evidently all about the music.
Perhaps it's fiddle-driven traditional folk music that tickles your fancy, some of London's most reliable folk venues that will help you shape and plan your perfect night out with the greatest of Folk. The Slaughtered Lamb (34-35 Great Sutton Street London EC1V 0DX , located near the Farringdon Tube and near the London Tour Yellow and Red Routes) is a well known for its pub and restaurant however downstairs hosts a secret underground, somewhat menacing, red neon pentangle backdrop for gigs. Described as a ‘fantastic venue with a great atmosphere’, the venue is extremely popular for its broad range of Folk music.
Kings Place (90 York Way, London,N1 9AG; located very near King’s Cross tube or on the London Tour Orange Route) is another favourite where you can enjoy typical and classic Folk music. A large space that houses, among others, the Guardian and Observer newspapers, Kings Place's main 420-seat auditorium has been around since 2008, it hosts a wide series of different musicians and genres of music. Although the Kings Place will be the permanent home of both the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, there's also regular Jazz and Folk bands that perform. Sometimes performances can be located in the flexible, subsidiary 220-seater room located next to the main auditorium.
Niamh is a first year music student at Manchester's BIMM. Being only a few hours away by train, Niamh makes sure she visits London often to catch some of the best live music the City can offer.