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The kickstart London gig guide

by 1st Contact | Sep 16, 2015
  • There’s nothing quite like a London gig. Whether you’re in the mood for rock, smooth jazz, pop, indie-hipster-folk or doom metal, the Big Smoke’s numerous concert halls and music lounges have you covered. Here we take a look at some of the best venues in the capital.

    Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club

    Ronnie Scott’s is one of the most famous jazz bars in the world, and for good reason. Countless jazz legends have played on its stage. If it’s jazz you’re after, Ronnie Scott’s the place to go.

    Bush Hall

    Open since the roaring ‘20s, Bush Hall has been everything from a soup kitchen to a bingo hall. Since its 2001 renovation, it has been a world-class concert venue. The pressed ceilings and vintage chandeliers add an air of charm and old worldliness.

    Rock venues


    Established in 2010, this new kid on the block has quickly made a name for itself as one of the must-play venues for bands on the up. The venue books an incredible range of artists, from polished pop to dirty rock. Check it out on Thursday nights for their resident DJ nights.

    The Roundhouse

    Throughout the 1960s and 1970s performers like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the Doors put this venue on the map. Originally a turntable shed for the London Birmingham railway line, Roundhouse’s interior was revamped again in 2004. The high ceilings help keep the sound clear and the incredible architecture makes it a truly unique venue.

    The Forum

    Housed in a beautiful art deco building in North London, the Forum has hosted, and continues to host, some of Britain’s and the world’s brightest stars. The stage is well recognised and has been used as a backdrop in numerous commercials and feature films.

    The O2 Brixton Academy

    Possibly one of the most well-known rock and roll venues in the world, the Brixton Academy continues to present up-and-coming bands on stage with some of the world’s most successful groups. It was originally built as a theatre in the 1920s and its sloped floor affords everyone clear views of the performers.


    Since the 1970s, Koko has arguably been at the epicentre of London’s incredible pop and rock scenes. Home to a legendary four night residency by the Clash in 1978, it also hosted Madonna’s debut London gig in 1983. Since its revamp in 2004, it has continued to play to a wide spectrum of tastes and its events page is always worth checking out.

    A venue for the brave

    The Underworld

    A venue situated in the heart of Camden, the Underworld can be found in the basement of the World’s End pub. Most of the artists who play in this dark and broody place are of the metal/hardcore punk variety, so don’t expect to find Mumford and Sons faux-folking it up there any time soon.

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