Top 5 Music Venues

O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Names on the band list here include the likes of Europe, Dragonforce, Trivium, Newton Faulkner, The XX and Grandaddy. Shepherd’s Bush is renowned for its rock/metal/alt. artists and is a real power-house on the London gigging scene. Expect moshing and crowd-surfing, a massive TV screen during the show, and a lot of sweaty kids and young adults throwing themselves around. The crowds, however aggressively excited, are harmless. Access to the Shepherd’s Bush is easy with Shepherd’s Bush Market or Goldhawk Road Tube stations about 200m away from the venue.

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From the outside, the building looks fantastic. Hardly a thing has been changed leaving the pillars, arches, and mint-green dome on top to entice giggers night after night. The inside is equally impressive with abundant red walls and furniture to match. It’s like a maze apart from the main auditorium where a range of artists have played and continue to do so. Expect pop, dance, rock and indie artists among others to twist the soundwaves in Koko. Prepare your wallets because beers cost nearly a fiver here. Otherwise, Koko remains one of London’s solid music venues for blistering nights out.

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O2 Academy Brixton

To put its popularity into context, the O2 Academy Brixton has won the NME ‘Best Venue’ award not once, not twice, but twelve times over the past few years. For touring bands it’s a real treat to play in, and for the 5,000 capacity crowd that can form here, waiting for and witnessing acts on Europe’s largest fixed stage is nothing short of an honourable experience. Hugely popular international bands like Feeder, Slash, Stone Sour and the UK’s Kaiser Chiefs are on the guest list at the Brixton Academy, easily making it one of the most popular music joints in London.

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Camden Roundhouse

Hear the sounds of rock, jazz, pop, indie and folk at the Camden Roundhouse. It’s another of London’s top gig venues right in the middle of one of the capital’s biggest musically-driven areas. Scissor Sisters, Billy Talent, Enter Shikari, even the genius Japanese guitarist, Tomoyasu Hotei, whose recognisable solo for the theme of Kill Bill have played the Roundhouse. Apart from the bands, though, the place itself is an awesome Grade II listed building from the 1840s, one that will keep attracting the predominant crowd of 11-25 year olds that is always has.

Image credit: Rob Dunlop

Hammersmith Apollo

Established in the thirties, the Hammersmith Apollo is an age-old haunt of many a teen-to-twenty-something and beyond. From rock to acoustic singer/songwriter, indie and R&B, the Hammersmith never fails to entertain. The stage is huge and the fan-shaped standing area beneath is equally spacious, but the area as a whole is comfortably intimate. Overseeing all is an upper balcony where there are seats. A bar and toilets are up there too. Well within reach of the venue are a host of pubs, restaurants, and local transport.