Sunday, 4 March 2012



Leeds has a powerful reputation for live music, attracting major touring bands as well as showcasing some formidable homegrown talent. Leeds has a thriving musical scene and is home to popular music events like the Leeds Festival and Live at Leeds. Here are some of the best venues to catch everything from old favourites to hot up-and-comers.
O2 Academy
Situated just off Millennium Square, the 2, 300 capacity O2 Academy is currently the largest venue in Leeds. It boasts a live music schedule crammed with household names and more established touring acts, as well as regular club nights. Has some of the most professional and friendly staff around.
The Cockpit
Tucked beneath the railway arches, the Cockpit plays host to mid-sized touring bands and is a great place to catch up and coming acts. Their scuzzy rock nights are the stuff of legend – if you live in Leeds and you’ve ever looked at a guitar you won’t have escaped without night out here.
The Brudenell Social
It’s well worth making the 10-minute bus journey out of the city centre to visit this gem of a club. Recently voted best small venue in Yorkshire and the North-East by NME magazine, the Brude regularly put on up and coming touring bands, as well as old favourites and quality local acts.
The faded glamour of its huge mirrored columns and plush seating is all part of the quirky charm – upon entering the main room, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped on board a cruise ship circa 1970. Good selection of beers and a games room too.
The Nation Of Shopkeepers
A relative newcomer to the scene, Nation Of Shopkeepers holds eclectic club nights (everything from hip-hop to left-field US indie, electro to raggae and more), as well as serving decent pub food through the day till late. Live bands every now and then – mostly-cutting edge touring acts. Monthly residency from Vice magazine – and if you know what that is, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting here. Hipster paradise.
The Wardrobe
All your jazz, funk and soul needs catered for at this consistently excellent venue. Saturday nights see live music both upstairs and downstairs club (where the serious dancing happens). Weeknights are for more intimate gigs from quality touring musicians. Monthly burlesque night The Wet Spot is always a sell-out.
The Faversham
Restaurant by day, bar by night and club in the early hours, the Faversham has something to suit all types. It has amazing list artists that have played there and is the place to go to find up and coming Leeds bands. There is a huge range of music on offer from pop, dance, indie, hip-hop, electro, new wave and rock. This place has a really laid-back attitude and great atmosphere day or night.
The Verve
One of the smallest of Leeds venues, the Verve has an extremely intimate and relaxed ambience. The music played comes mostly in the form of acoustic acts, as the stage is simply not big enough to hold a full band. The bands that do perform however are handpicked and breathtakingly good.
The New Roscoe
With a solid reputation as a stop-off for tribute acts and reformed rock dinosaurs, the Roscoe also hosts blues and country bands, as well as some local up-and-comers. A lively night out helped along by some excellent offers on beer. Friday and Saturday night gigs tend to be free admission.
City Varieties
Recently reopened after a major refurbishment, this impressive and much-loved Victorian music hall host’s comedy, pantomime and variety shows as well as live performances from veteran and much loved bands. The auditorium is all seated, so there won’t be a mosh pit, but there is an impressive glazed lift to transport you to the upper levels.
Empire Bar
New rock and indie bar with a 250 capacity music venue downstairs. Currently hosting regular club nights and showcasing local bands. Proximity to extremely popular local haunt the Adelphi can only work in its favour – one to watch!
Both Leeds Met and Leeds University Unions also host regular gigs and club nights. 

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