Live music Glasgow

The beating heart of music: The 5 best places to see live music in Glasgow

Music pumps through the veins of Glasgow with gigs from bands both big and small on every night of the week. Who do you want to see?

Awarded as a UNESCO City of Music, it goes without saying that Glasgow’s music scene is one of the best, not only in Scotland, but also the UK and Europe! Any day of the week, you’re guaranteed to find some gigs in Glasgow, with even the top bands in the world queuing up to play in iconic places like the O2 Academy, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and the Barrowland Ballroom. Here’s our pick of the best Glasgow music venues you won’t want to miss.
The SSE Hydro
The Hydro Glasgow is one of the city’s newest venues – an impressive space age-looking building right on the banks of the River Hyde. The 13,000 capacity stadium has welcomed the likes of Prince, Beyonce and even the MTV Europe Music Awards since opening in 2013, and is said to be the third busiest music venue in the whole world, after New York’s Madison Square Garden and London’s O2 Arena. For big name concerts across all music genres (this year there will be Andre Rieu, Justin Bieber, The Who and Barry Manilow for example), head straight to the Hydro’s website to find tickets. There are also other non-musical events, such as Disney on Ice, WWE Smackdown and stand-up comedians.
O2 Academy Glasgow
If you manage to get tickets to a gig at the O2 Academy Glasgow, consider yourself lucky. The Killers famously sold out a show at the Academy in a record three minutes and most of its other events are packed out months in advance. However, once you’ve got your tickets, it’s worth the hassle: the venue itself is outstanding – a beautifully refurbished art deco cinema with antique wrap around balconies that can hold up to 2,500 people. This year, The Offspring, Earth Wind and Fire, and the Cinematic Orchestra will all play at this Eglinton Street institution.
O2 ABC
Not to be confused with O2 Academy, but there is a second venue called the O2 ABC Glasgow, located closer to the centre of town. Similar to the O2 Academy, the ABC is also housed in an old cinema but is actually two venues combined – ABC1 with a capacity of 1,300 and the smaller ABC2, as well as a few bars and food stands. It doesn’t pull in the big names like its sister, but the ABC is your go-to destination for smaller and independent acts. On weekends, it also turns into a nightclub, with regular parties featuring pop, R&B and electro DJs.
King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
True rock ‘n’ roll fans will already be familiar with the King Tut’s – it’s the venue where music exec Alan McGee accidentally discovered a new band called Oasis. Since that fateful day, aspiring rock bands have dreamed of performing at the legendary venue. If you’re looking to unearth some new British talent, come to this two-story small music venue any night of the week to catch either an up-and-coming group or else a few old favourites (like Radiohead, Coldplay or the Verve) who have returned to say thank you to the King!
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Just next to the O2 ABC is the Glasgow Concert Hall, home to the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Celtic Connections Festival in January. It’s one of the city’s most recognisable buildings and sits in the middle of Glasgow’s two shopping streets, Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street. Rather than rock bands, you can expect to classical, jazz and musical theatre groups, as well as the occasional ballet or opera, and even the All Scotland Irish Dancing Championships!
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