It’s been a good month for live music in London.
Last week beloved Islington nightclub Fabric announced it would reopen in January, proving to city councils everywhere that London’s music scene is important as ever. After a petition with more than 150,000 signatures, an outpouring of industry support, and a fierce council fight, the iconic club was given the greenlight to reopen following the sudden closure due to drug-related deaths.
Following suit, live music venue The Good Ship in Brent was granted the right to renew their 3am late license, while the folks behind Finsbury Park’s Silver Bullet, which closed down in June, are now holding monthly club nights at different pubs across the city.
At the core of these battles are music fans. Their support and passion have been instrumental in the fight to save London’s nightlife, showcasing just how strong the city’s live music scene is. After all, live music is synonymous with London: the music scene here is as vibrant and diverse as the city itself. It’s the city that launched The Sex Pistols and Adele into super-stardom, where the Beatles famously crossed Abbey Road, and home to Jimi Hendrix’s last gig. And it’s the location of some of the most exciting music venues in the world.
In celebration, five London-based industry experts have chatted to Westminster World about their favourite places to catch a gig. Featuring wine cellars and skyline views, it doesn’t matter if you’re a grime fan or prefer something more acoustic, there’s something to please any music lover’s ear.
“My favourite venue is The Roundhouse. It has a special place in my heart as I have seen some incredible artists like Elton John, Alicia Keys, The 1975, Feeder etc and it is such a beautifully intimate venue. Also love it because it supports young people, offers cheap rehearsal space and I attend their youth club’s poetry slam final every year!” – Hannah Beeching, Promotions Assistant at Hart Media (@hannybeeching)
Nearest tube station: Chalk Farm
Upcoming gigs: Adam Ant, Lisa Hannigan, Roundhouse Rising Festival
100 Room at Ace Hotel
A photo posted by Natasha Crosby (@tcrosbyxx) on
“I reckon my favourite has got to be 100 Room in Ace Hotel. The promoter has to set up the system, but the room has the most incredible views across London and faces the sunset. It’s just a crazy space and serves decent beers, too. It’s more of a place for launch nights rather than regular residencies, but it’s generally quite new UK artists that are hip hop, grime, or bass orientated.” – Ben Fairclough, Station manager at Radar Radio & Assistant Producer at BBC Radio 1 (@BFairclough)
Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street
Upcoming gigs: Nothing in the 100 Room, but The Lobby holds free gigs hosted by Tom Tom Magazine weekly! Next up is Anna Prior from Metronomy, then Savages.
“Mine is the Winemakers Club in Holborn. It’s in the underground vaults. You have to see it to really understand how amazing the venue is; it’s really well hidden and at the front there is a wine, whiskey and craft beer bar. When you go through the bar you end up in the vaults. The arches go so far back that you can’t see the end, and they light them up with fairy lights. The space means that the acoustics are absolutely insane. It is definitely a venue for the more low key, softer artists” – Georgia May-Parker, Voice of BBC Radio 1 & Production Coordinator at No Sheet Music (@Georgia_May)
Nearest tube station: St. Paul’s, Chancery Lane, or Farringdon
Upcoming gigs: Spiro, O’Hooley & Tidow
“It’s hard to pick a favourite venue in London – there’s so many to choose from, and the best offer their own distinct vibe, ethos, crowd and level of band. But my favourite has to be Scala, a well loved venue near King’s Cross station. Whenever a band plays the Scala it’s a stepping up point. There’s a sense of arrival and conviction in their music, they’re about to release an album, and you feel like they’ve really found their audience. It’s a big room, but bands don’t tend to make the leap unless they think they can sell it out. For that reason it’s my fave spot.” – Andy Backhouse, BBC Introducing (@andybackhouse)
Nearest tube station: Kings Cross
Upcoming gigs: Frank Hamilton, Beach Slang, Saint Motel
“I really like the Moth Club mainly because of the lineups. It’s a small space but the names they’ve had recently really make it a more intimate gig experience. I saw The Lemon Twigs there earlier this week and they were the best band I’ve seen in a while!” – Cerys Kenneally, Associate Editor at Best Fit Music (@Cerysimo)
Nearest tube station: Hackney Central
Upcoming gigs: Allo Darlin’, The Clientele, The Proper Ornaments
Now get out there and listen to some good music. Crowd-surfing optional.