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The best music venues in London: O2 Brixton Academy

The city's 20 best places to see live music, as voted by you – get the latest gig listings and buy tickets

O2 Brixton Academy

The Academy’s famous raked dancefloor splits opinion – it allows the petit(e) attendee to see something of what’s happening on stage, which is good, but isn’t exactly ideal if you fancy a boogie. 

What’s not in contention is the Academy’s importance to London’s nightlife, The 5,000-capacity art deco gem straddles the chasm between the pomp and volume of a stadium show and the intimate (read: sweaty) atmosphere of a club.

Since becoming a full-time music venue in 1983, it’s served names from James Brown and the Stones to Springsteen, Dylan, Prince and Madonna, via the Chili Peppers. It’s also a major figure in dance music history, having been the seat of the Megadog all-nighters (at which Orbital were regular fixtures), plus rave-ups from Fatboy Slim v Armand van Helden, right up to The Streets’ and Plastikman’s recent super-futuristic (although not that good) augmented-reality beano.

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Next venue: The Lexington


The Man on the Street
The Man on the Street

Cor ! they really poshed this place up last night for the NME Awards. Always a strange venue its never going to feel anything other than a gig in an old but grand cinema. As property prices in the area rocket , one also has to ask how long new residents will tolerate live music audiences. Leaving all that aside, it was an interesting place to have dinner in the company of a few Rock and Roll giants. Yoko Ono and Coldplay were in the house. However, the band that absolutely owned the night was Bring Me The Horizon. They smashed it on stage and smashed up Coldplay's table too - proving that rules and tables are there to be broken. Great night in a strange venue - but one I hope survives gentrification.  


I agree it's the best venue in London - as where ever you are you can see the stage - the standing area floor slopes downwards towards the stage and the circle velvet seats give you comfort as well as great visibility!