The music scene in London has always been a spring board for young emerging artists to distribute their music to a wider audience whatever genre of music. Like Liverpool’s Cavern where the Beatles began to make a name for the group, London is breeding a number of venues that are gaining credibility and writing the history books at the same time.
The Barfly in Camden
The Barfly in Camden is a venue that is drenched in character. It is a venue that gives the opportunity for bands that are new to the industry and have been creating a buzz to play to decent sized audiences for a headline show. The size of audience can range dramatically depending on who is playing and on what night. The shows at the weekend generally pull in bigger crowds but if the band has been able to do their promotion, they can still get an audience of up to two hundred people into the Barfly on a weekday.
Turn left out of Camden’s notoriously busy tube station and you will be facing one of London’s most credible underground music venues – The Underworld. The Underworld is a venue where the best in punk/metal/alternative music from around the world come to take their career to the next level. One look at the up-coming gigs section of their site and you can see some established acts within the scene playing with acts beginning to gain some momentum in their home country.
There is no seating option at The Underground which I personally really like. There is a small tiered option for the audience to stand and watch the show from a slightly higher view point but nothing that would take the focus off the band. The no seating option is great because the nature of the bands that play this venue means that they thrive off the energy from the audience.
The bar where both audience and band tend to gather after the show and in-between acts is in a relatively large room just before the main hall where the bands perform. This is a good idea primarily for two reasons. The first reason is that it adds a sense of occasion to the event. Like the cinema, you purchase your food and drink before you go into the auditorium to enjoy your film. Here, you buy your drink before going in to enjoy the show and it works.
The second is that there is a strong chance that not all of the audience are going to enjoy every act that plays. Bearing this in mind, it’s good to have a break out space that doesn’t kill the vibe for the band. A smaller audience it may be but it is an audience that are there to listen and that’s the main point of it all.
The Roundhouse, based on the outskirts of Chalk Farm and Camden Town, is fast becoming a household name in the music industry and being recognised in the theatre industry. Last year in 2011, the Royal Shakespeare Company used the space while their regular venue was being refurbished to great success.
The Roundhouse was also the home of the annual Kerrang music tour which has some of the world’s biggest names in the rock industry attached to it. Itunes decided to use the venue to hold their Itunes Festival which is a month long festival having credible names playing each night. The festival included some iconic performances from Adele, Foo Fighters and Linkin Park.
O2 Arena and Wembley Stadium
Once an act has achieved a phenomenal level of success, managed and promotion companies have to find a venue that will be able to handle the ticket demands from fans. This is where giant venues like the O2 Arena and Wembley Stadium become available. It’s at these venues that acts will play to audiences in their thousands. Acts ranging from the reformed Take That and the rock band, My Chemical Romance have headlined Wembley Stadium. This year alone, massive acts like Barry Manilow, Jay-Z, Guns N’ Roses and Lionel Richie will be headlining this huge venue.
London shows are usually saved to be the last date on a tour in the UK. This is because this is where the largest fan base will be for the size of venue as well as critics and contacts from management. Considering that the act is likely to invest all of their energy into this special date for reviews, it’s worth making the trip to the capital to see the act of your choice.