The best live music venues in London

The Half Moon, photo by markheybo on Flickr

As the largest city in the UK, it is hardly a surprise that London is the uncontested capital of the kingdom’s live music scene. Manchester, Sheffield and other cities might have been the birthplace of bands that are now internationally acclaimed, but anyone who wants to be someone in the UK’s music scene eventually ends up in London. If you are on the lookout for some fresh and exciting new bands, then you will have best luck finding them in the UK capital, and if you want to see your favorite acts and musicians sing live, then London is again your best bet in the UK. So if you like your music raw and live, then here are some of the best live music venues in London.

Half Moon, Putney

Half Moon pub started out long decades ago, and since its inception it has been an amazing venue for live music by bands who would go on to become world famous. The Rolling Stones, U2, Kate Bush and Elvis Costello have left their mark on Half Moon, but there are many more famous acts features on the pub’s list of famous guests. Today, you can still see legendary acts at the Half Moon, as well as newcomers who will surely not be obscure for long.

Filthy McNasty’s Whiskey Café, Angel

Filthy McNasty's Whisky Cafe, photo by Steve Fareham

With a name like this, it’s only natural that Filthy McNasty’s Whiskey Café, an Irish pub in Angel District, has hosted some of the most controversial rock stars of the century. Although sometimes live Irish music can be heard in the smoky rooms of the bar, the usual guests run more along the lines of bands similar to the Pogues (who have in fact played here). Famous bands who had gigs in Filthy McNasty’s Whiskey Café include The Libertines, whose Pete Doherty actually worked at the bar.

The Windmill, Brixton

The Windmill is a bastion of Indie music and aesthetics in an area with more mainstream clubs and venues, and it manages to uphold the pride of the indie scene with shattering success. Bands like Bloc Party of the Guillemots have made their fame at the Windmill, and even today there are lots of famous rock and indie bands who play gigs at his bar.

New Cross Inn, New Cross

New Cross Inn, photo by Dr Neil Clifton

From a rather dingy Irish pub, the New Cross Inn rose to be one of the best venues for live music in London when it comes to DJ music, rave, and alternative tunes. The lineup is usually rather eclectic, and you can hear cabaret music as well as new rave. During the Rocklands festival, New Cross Inn always hosts concerts and gigs for all ages, and on weekends the atmosphere is simply incendiary.

The Dublin Castle, Camden

Every decade since the 70’s, the Dublin Castle has been the London center of a music scene. In the 70’s there was the pop ska reign of Brish band Madness, then followed the rockabilly years and finally the indie age. Today it is not unusual to see big names perform on the bar’s stage, but there are more than enough new bands breaking into the music scene at the Dublin Castle too.

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