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The HMV Next Big Thing festival from Feb. 2-12 showcases the bands most likely to make a splash in 2012. Here's a list of the top venues in London for live music.

Roundhouse, Chalk Farm

Throughout the late Sixties and Seventies, Camden’s Roundhouse was synonymous with underground music. Then it fell on hard times, disappeared, and was reborn in the Noughties as a performing arts centre with comedy, dance, theatre, cabaret and all. The iTunes fest takes up residency in the summer, with Boston Irish bruisers Dropkick Murphys (below, Feb 10), Brooklyn pretty boys The Drums (Feb 27) and Band Of Skulls (Mar 6) playing in the meantime.

Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8EH
Tube: Chalk Farm

Barfly Camden, Camden

The Killers, The Strokes and Muse took the stage here, so you never know – you could be seeing the arena stars of tomorrow. At one of six venues hosting the Next Big Thing tour, the eclectically weird Francois and The Atlas Mountains (Feb 3), sugar-bomb pop punk metallers Sonic Boom Six (below, Feb 9) and Brighton noisesmiths Eagulls all take to the stage this month.

49 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AN
Tube: Chalk Farm

Sonic Boom Six

Electric Ballroom, Camden

Camden’s hard rock home is a refuge for those shaggy of hair and leather of jacket. Leeds 
alt-rockers Pulled Apart by Horses (Feb 23); indie-surprises LOS CAMPESINOS! (Mar 22); party-rock knucklehead Andrew 
WK (Apr 12); and sonic asssaulters Sleigh Bells 
(Mar 1) take a bow here.

184 Camden High Street, NW1 8QP
Tube: Camden Town

XOYO, Old Street

Brooklyn’s Friends (Feb 8); Glasgow’s post-rock unconventionalists  Errors (Feb 16); and hardcore purveyors Ceremony (Mar 20) hit this East End art and culture hub.

32-37 Cowper St, EC2A 4AW
Tube: Old Street

Azealia Banks

Heaven, Charing Cross

A club that now moonlights as a 
live music venue, Heaven attracts only the very top, hippest acts. Azealia Banks headlines (above, Feb 27); the fantastically named Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs rock out (Feb 16); and the ace emo-indie outfit WU LYF bring their not- discernible bag of aural tricks to the club under 
the arches during the forthcoming eight weeks.

Villiers Street, WC2N 6NG
Tube: Embankment

The Dome, Greenwich

The millenium abomination that became one of the world’s finest venues. Snow Patrol (Feb 10-12) and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds take the stage soon.

SE10 0DX
Tube: North Greenwich

Snow Patrol

Shepherd's Bush Empire, Shepherd's Bush

A music hall since 1903 and live venue since 1991, the Empire plays host to established acts and fast-rising stars. Case in point: the next month has the likes of ozone-breaking ascender M83; emo-pop-punk front-combers Angels and Airwaves; and Britpop survivors Lightning Seeds.

Shep Bush Green, W12 8TT
Tube: Shepherd’s Bush

Borderline, Charing Cross

In the heart of London, just off Charing Cross Road, The Borderline is dripping with the sort of history that oozes from every brick of its build: from gobbing punks, through post-punk invention, and latterly the rise of Britpop, indie and beyond. Today, it is a shelter for up-and-coming acts keen to make a name for themselves and is a perfect roadstop for NBT. 2012 alumnis include Sweet 
Billy Pilgrim (Feb 6); DIY-infused precision of El Khatib (Feb 4); Lianne La Havas (she’s everywhere, you can’t help miss her 
– Feb 8); Emile Sando 
(Feb 9); hard rockers, with a hint of emo Young Guns (Feb 10); and Reading’s metalcore five-piece Exit Ten (Feb 11).

Orange Yard, W1D 4JB
Tube: Tottenham Court Road

The Garage, Highbury

This north London indie and rock home has seen but the very finest bands of today – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, Moby – grace its stage 
over its 20-odd year career. Electro-indie Hadouken! bring their latest hit, Oxygen, to the NBT tour (Feb 3), with synth-rocker and Stateside stars AWOLNATION (Feb 10) and garage rockers The Virginmarys tearing it up, too. Songstress Delilah takes things down a notch before the The Big Pink unload their catchy-chorus-laden latest long player, Future This, later in the month (Feb 20).

20-22 Highbury Corner, N5 1RD
Tube: Highbury and Islington

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London's top live music venues
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