Nothing beats a live concert. Music pumping through your veins, making your heart race faster, emotions as strong as fireworks. Lucky us: London offers the most vibrant night scene all year round. Here are some of the coolest place in the capital to get you started.
Bars with live music
There is something for every mood and every taste, music-wise, in London.
Jazz lover? Start with world-famous Ronnie Scott who saw the likes Miles Davies, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald perform. The Jazz Café, equally iconic, guarantees concerts every night and occasionally edges onto Soul and Hip-hop. Another favourite is The Candlelight Club: think prohibition-era speakeasy in a secret London venue completely lit by candles. Includes dancing to live jazz bands, retro-DJs and cabaret performances. And yes, dressing up for the occasion is highly encouraged.
More of a blues fan? Try The Spiritual Club, Camden’s finest Independent Record Label. Nightjar, Shoreditch’s very own slice of old school glamour, also has an amazing Programmation, let alone exquisite cocktails. For a touch of American Nostalgia, head straight for The Blues Kitchen (3 branches in London), order yourself some New Orleans food, a glass of Bourbon and enjoy the bands playing each evening.
Those with a more eclectic taste will absolutely adore Venn Street Records. This vinyl-clad, rock ‘n’ roll drinkers den welcomes bands, DJs, open mike nights and is sure to entertain you until the small hours. Old Street Records also is famous live music scene, featuring a cutting-edge mix of EP launches, new bands and established acts.
Off the beaten path evenings
Fun can be found in the most surprising places in London! The Nest Collective organises fantastic musical evenings around campfires between May and September. A great way to relax, meet likeminded spirits, roast a few marshmallows and rediscover the city’s green havens. Secret Adventures regularly organises candlelit acoustic gig at the beautiful Asylum Chapel. Sofar also is brilliant for those looking for more intimate gigs (Garage, Grime, Jazz, Trip-hop and Brit-pop) in secret locations.
London music festivals
Every summer London is awash with music festivals and they usually come with good food trucks too. British Summer Times takes over Hyde Park in July with exciting lines up. Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Barbara Streisand, Florence and the Machine, The National, Robbie Williams, Black Eyed Peas are some of the big stars joining this year. Lovebox, the same month, may only last 2 days but is a great competitor and super filled with fun concerts: its line up always is stellar!
Come August, you’re spoilt for choice: 51st state celebrates all branches of House music, Eastern Electric is a fab platform for electro, South West Four hosts Ibiza-worthy superstar DJs… to name only a few. September is still party time, mind you, with Defected showcasing the best of dance music while Hospitality in the Park is considered the UK’s best drum & bass festival.
Big venues for big stars
The O2 Brixton, which started in 1929 as a cinema and theatre, has since been transformed into one of London’s most famous music venues. The site, now renamed the Brixton Academy, has hosted celebs like Madonna, The Smiths, Sex Pistols over the years. Legendary, to say the least. So is the Eventim Apollo. Its glittering history includes 38 Beatles gigs from 1964-1965, David Bowie’s last gig as Ziggy Stardust in 1973 and several concerts by Queen in the late 1970s… It’s seen all kind of standing ovations through the years.
There are a few amazing buildings. The Roundhouse, in Camden, is a former railway storage facility beautifully redeveloped into a gig venue in north London. Its circular shape gives it a gives it great acoustics and a unique atmosphere. The Royal Albert Hall is another: built as a memorial to Queen Victoria’s husband in 1871, its vast rotunda complete with domed stained-glass skylight simply is grandiose. Last but not least is The O2: London’s biggest arena for pop concerts.
If you want a superb experience, have a look at music hospitality packages. Think free parking on site, best seats in the house, private box even, private bar, steward or hostess to take your order… Now that is one in a lifetime way to see your favourite stars perform.
One of their amazing offers is for Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons. The band, which has churned out countless hit numbers since making a humble beginning in 1960, will be playing in London on December 6. Seeing such a legendary group is worth indulging in a VIP package – let corporate hospitality make your evening even more relaxed and memorable!
The city that never sleeps: clubbing till dawn.
Even truer now that the Night Tube makes going from one side to London to the other so easy between midnight and the morning lights! Among the most famous clubs is Fabric, which even has a bodysonic dancefloor. Perfect for electro, techno, disco, drum N bass and grime. Cargo, nestled under railway arches in Shoreditch, offers a wide range of music genre and club nights. From there, you can easily hop off to the Queen of Hoxton: bar, nightclub, roof terrace, performance space and art gallery. Yep, all in one.
Want more? Ministry of Sound, boasts four bars, four dancefloors and five distinctive rooms – so many atmospheres and vibes to enjoy there… Do book your ticket well in advance, the queues to get to it reflect its success. A last one to wow you: Printworks London found its home in a former printing hall, mixing industrial atmosphere to drum N bass, hip hop and dance beats. Fit for 5,000 it offers a surreal experience
Yep, you got it: London is a fascinating, utterly addictive playground when it comes to music. And these are just some of the stages to enjoy there! We’ve listed them on the map below to make it a little easier for you to plan your night out: