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18 May 2024
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Despite all the predictions that pop will eat itself, it hasn't, and the gig scene in London is still going b. The country that brought you the Beatles, The Stones and Oasis is still turning out the talent. Ticket prices are reasonable (unless it's stadium rock at Wembley or the Docklands Arena). There good music of all sorts to be had all over town, especially in pubs. The venues are dominated by the Forum in Kentish Town, The Shepherd's Bush Empire (formerly a BBC Studio), Brixton's Academy, and the Astoria, which are all small enough to be intimate. Full listings in the magazines (and they go on for pages). Recent consolidation has seen the Mean Fiddler group taking over the Astoria and expanding into all sorts of music, a long step from its humble origins as an acoustic venue in horrible Harlesden, near Wormwood Scrubs. There are far too many venues to list them all here! Try HERE for an up to date gig guide You can book tickets and consult dates here (this is the one we use ourselves.) The excellent NME Music Paper is in the process of eating itself - trying to find a pitch that satisfies the fans of Oasis and Miss Teeq - good for Zeitgeist but not the classic it was.

One of our favourite music venues is the Kashmir Klub near Baker St tube station, which has bands on 6 nights a week. It focuses on songwriting and has a state-of-the-art sound system so you can actually hear the lyrics. They do live webcasts and the full details are on their website. It's a small cosy cellar with intimate side rooms, serving drinks coffee and food. Acts are up-and-coming or foreign ones trying to break into the English market. Good behaviour and attention to the live music is the code of conduct - go to listen rather than to talk.If you're in the centre the pub 'Bourbon Street' on Oxendon Street, one block west of Leicester Square has bands most nights, and the atmosphere is great - mostly towards blues/rock

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