I love live music. I love seeing my favourite songs performed the way they were intended to be heard. I love the intimacy of a small club venue, I love the connection between the crowd and the artist. The reality of it, the energy and emotion.
I am fascinated by human moments captured on film and at gigs these moments can only truly occur in places designed to let them occur.
It is for this reason that the following venues are my favourite in London. All three are located in Camden. They are all tiny – 500 people max – and none of them have a barrier between the stage and the crowd. Intimate and personal, perfect for a real connection between the band and their audience, perfect too for amateur gig photography.
- The Barfly – closest station Chalk Farm
The barfly is a great venue. I’ve witnessed some amazing bands on stage here and it’s perfect for intimate acoustic shows or energetic punk shows.
The barfly is number 3 on my list for a couple of reasons. Despite being a great venue, of the top 3 it is the least interesting/versatile. It is all on one level, the stage is quite small and it is pretty narrow.
- The Purple Turtle – closest station Mornington Crescent
The Purple Turtle put on consistently amazing gigs. The drinks are cheap and there is often a cheesy club night you can party at after the show. The venue is built on many levels with a couple of raised platforms so that you can either go crazy at the front or get a better view from the back.
- The Underworld – closest station Camden Town
By far my favourite venue in London, The Underworld consistently draws amazing international bands and often plays host to bigger bands for ‘secret’ intimate shows. The venue’s design isn’t necessarily as good as the Purple Turtle, but it makes up for it with a bigger stage and better sound. Plus it’s perfect for stage diving – which is always good.
In short, if you’re visiting London and love live music, check out the listings for one of these venues… you may just get to hang out with a band you love.