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Cargo, Old Street

East End hip pervades this classy venue, which even has a restaurant for those who like the roll to go with their rock. ‘Too cool for the mainstream’ and ‘fervant cult following’ typifies the bands that stop here, and it’s a regular for record release bashes, too. Scot-rockers The Twilight Sad (Feb 14) and the energetic pop-punk-whatever Will And People (Feb 11) are up soon.

83 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY
Tube: Old Street

Dublin Castle, Camden

A live music legend; the birthplace of Madness and Blur and countless others; a fave haunt of the late Amy Winehouse; an indie rock institution; epicentre of May’s Camden Crawl – Dublin Castle is all of these. With four bands a night, there is always someone to check out, with wall-adorning posters of the venue’s biggest names reminding you of its prestigious history. A must-return-to for rising or established acts. The band here tonight could be the superstar of tomorrow.

94 Parkway, NW1 7AN
Tube: Camden Town


Brixton Academy, Brixton

One of the capital’s largest non-arena venues, the just shy of 5000-capacity Brixton Academy is steeped in history (and hosted numerous live albums) since it opened its doors as a live music venue in the early Eighties (first act 
– UB40, it’s moved on since then). Post-rockers Explosions in the Sky play Jan 27, bro-core upstart Skrillex drops in Feb 17 & 18, Justice (above) headlines Feb 10, with Two Door Cinema Club and Azealia Banks on Feb 25.

Tube: Brixton Academy

100 Club, Oxford Street

The oldest live music venue in the city, saved from closure by Paul McCartney, and key player in the Seventies punk scene, the 100 club has seen it all (Oasis, Sex Pistols) and lived to tell the tale. Guitar solo rock gods DragonForce (Feb 16); and indie new boys Spector (Mar 1 & 7) are set to keep the spirit alive.

100 Oxford Street, W1D 1LL
Tube: Tottenham Court Road

Jazz Cafe, Camden

Camden outpost, with indie songsters Two Wounded Birds, Lucy Rose, soulful singer Jay James Picton, and The Boxettes among the NBT talent heading its way.

7 Parkway, NW1 7PJ
Tube: Camden Town

Scala, King's Cross

A small club with impressive pedigree, the Scala is the musical jewel in King’s Cross’s crown, a regular for upcoming bands about 
to smash, and ‘secret’ gigs. Upcoming shows include The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (Mar 8); soul star and woman of the moment Lianne LaHavas (Mar 13); 
and US new-wave dancers Future Islands (Mar 6).

275-277 Pentonville Rd, N1 9NL
Tube: King’s Cross

The Forum, Kentish Town

Formerly the Kentish Town Forum, 
now shorn of its localising precursor, the Forum is one of London’s longstanding live music homes and has been in operation for donkey’s years, or, more specificaly, since 1993. It’s seen its share of class – from straight-edge activisits Fugazi, Coldplay, and Deftones to current indie poster boys The Vaccines, and ‘Weird’ Al Yankovic. Up next in the pantheon of history is a returning – and maybe no longer lump-ridden – The Presidents Of The United States Of America (Mar 16); Portland acoustic indie stars and Zach Braff faves The Shins (above right, Mar 22); hip hop’s Talib Kweli (Mar 20); and Irish proto-punks Stiff Little Fingers (Mar 30).

9-17 Highgate Road, NW5 1JY
Tube: Kentish Town

The Presidents Of The United States Of America

Koko, Camden

Deep breath: alt-rockers Feeder (Jan 31); alt-stars Nada Surf (Feb 8); Mercury ‘11 nominee Ghostpoet (left, Feb 15); Australia’s own The Jezabels (Feb 22); unfeasibily cool and eclectic The Duke Spirit (Mar 7); and dubstep debaser SBTRKT (Mar 1), whose self-titled debut was one of last year’s finest, and that’s just the next few weeks. No shortage of quality here.

Tube: Mornington Crescent

Windmill, Brixton

This local venue’s laidback attitude, praised by DJs and critics, has won it many admirers. The cheap (or free) entrance doesn’t hurt. 

22 Blenheim Gdns, SW2 5BZ
Tube: Brixton


London's top live music venues
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