O2 Academy Brixton

Music, Music venues Stockwell
4 out of 5 stars
(33user reviews)
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© Nick Pickles Brixton Academy

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Built in the 1920s as a cinema at a cost of £250,000, Brixton Academy is London's most credible major rock venue. Although it's echoey when half-full, the 5,000-capacity space is popular because the raked standing area gives good sightlines. Pop acts such as Goldfrapp occasionally feature, but programming favours metal, indie and alt-rock. As one of the capital's largest non-stadium venues, Brixton Academy played its part in rock history – it hosted the Sex Pistols reunion gigs in September 2007, Leftfield broke the venue's decibel record in 1996 bringing showers of dust and plaster down around them, and The Smiths played their last ever gig here in December 1986.

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Posted:

Venue name: O2 Academy Brixton
Contact:
Address: 211
Stockwell Road
London
SW9 9SL
Transport: Rail/Tube: Brixton
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  • Pop Thursday November 22 2018 - Friday November 23 2018
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  • Pop Friday November 30 2018
  • Rap, hip hop and R&B Tuesday December 11 2018
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Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:13
  • 4 star:18
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|33
1 person listening
tastemaker

I spent most of my teenage years at Brixton academy watching loads of very teen angsty grunge bands of the time. I love this venue.

It used to be a theatre and so style wise it’s quite ornate and dramatic with an amazing looking stage surround that looks as if it was taken from a picture postcard of Italy or Spain.

It’s odd in that respect as it’s fancy yet looks worn and obviously has bands rockin out in those theatrical surroundings.

One reason I love it as a venue is because it’s got a really steep slope down to the stage so even someone seriously short like me can get a view of the band even from the very back.

Loads of bars dotted around also mean you never have to wait too long to get served. They have a food kiosk too so you’re sorted.

It looks like it needs a bit of a clean but the vibe is ace!

tastemaker

Such an awesome night seeing Rag'n'Bone Man at the academy. We had standing tickets which meant that we could get right into the thick of it and absorb the buzz and atmosphere around us. I would recommend getting to the venue early if you want to get up front as if you're too close to the back bar it can be distracting from what's going on on the stage. The venue is big enough to feel impressive but small enough to feel intimate. This wasn't my first time here and certainly won't be my last - I'd definitely recommend going to see a gig here. Plus there are great food options around Brixton so well worth making a proper night of it.     

Tastemaker

This is the little brother of the O2 Arena in Greenwich. Lovely space for gigs and performances down in Brixton.

tastemaker

This is a theatre adapted as a concert hall, by maintaining some of the scenographies. When you enter inside, you can see Roman style decoration all around the stage. It makes a great visual impact while making it stand out from other concert halls. The acoustics was satisfying.

tastemaker

This is a cool venue in the heart of Brixton! I saw Neyo on Wednesday night and he was awesome! It's a nice size, for a more intimate feeling for all you gig goers. Plus! The sloped floor also helps if you are short! I thought it was the perfect venue for the gig!

tastemaker

So I came here to watch Neyo in concert last night and my oh my was it spectacular!!! The stage technicalities were on point and well executed..

The venue itself was very large and even though thousands were there I never felt cramped or stressed! There were at least 4 bars within the venue from what I could see and the toilets were actually very Clean!!!!

Tastemaker

Right in the heart of Brixton, this venue is somewhat of a national treasure. The floor is slopped which allows you to stand pretty much wherever you like and still have a great view of the stage. I've never been in the unreserved seating area upstairs, but it seems good enough for a lot of people! I'll agree with some of the other reviews that the sound quality is very hit and miss. I've been on occasion and it's spot on, whereas other times the drums/bass have been sound deafening I've had to leave early!

tastemaker

The sound quality in the venue isn't the best. It's also not the cleanest or most maintained music venue I've visited. One of the security staff was also quite rude and patronising when I was being screened.

Tastemaker

If you’ve never been to a gig here, you should. There are many things to admire about Brixton Academy: it’s a London institution for starters, you’ll find some epic bands playing; the sloping floor that will allow you to see even when crammed in the back; the atmosphere which is intimate and spirited. I’ve got to admit the acoustics aren’t always bang on, it can be deafening with bass. It’s one of those places I like because of the history of it and for that reason I’m prepared to cover over the cracks.

Tastemaker

This is a great venue in the heart of Brixton which has been home to many wonderful concerts over the years. I've been here to see some of my favourite acts such as Mavado, a dancehall artist from Jamaica. Unfortunately, there was a large disturbance with a concert recently which ended with the event cancelled and people ejected from the venue. But hopefully, it was more of an anomaly rather than a common issue. Long live O2 Brixton Academy!

Tastemaker

Great venue for gigs. I love an excuse to come down to Brixton, and the o2 in brixton host some great artists. Most recently I saw the XX and they were just incredible. The venue is well laid out, it's easy to get a good spot, and the sound is good. They don't have a great range of drinks, but that's probably the only let down. It's always pretty easy to get out of here and on the tube at the end of the night, too.

Tastemaker

Been in this venue numerous times. As a gig photographer, I go to quite a few music venues around town so I have quite a firm opinion on most.

What I like about this venue is how it's built. It's a different inside than most, with a cool looking structure. The floor is leaning towards front, so everybody can see the stage, I find it very clever.

On the down side, having a floor like this meaning a lot of things that get spilled (and it happens ALL the time) somehow end up at your feet. Fair play, no need to wear your fanciest attire.

The location is good for people living in south, but I must say I don't enjoy going there, and prefer more central venues. So I'll only go to what I most likely want to see.


tastemakerTastemaker

I read Simon Parkes' book about this venue and being such a music geek, I knew I had to pay it a visit at some point. The place is iconic as the artists that have played there... The Clash, The Smiths (who played their last show there), the list goes on... so when I got the chance to see The Pixies there a few weeks ago, I knew I wouldn't be refusing!


The building itself is beautiful - that entrance alone is worth a look! The main foyer/lobby area is lovely - a staircase with some of the original frescoes around the ceiling. I know the place has been repurposed over time, but it was really neat to feel like you were stepping into a bit of history. The concert space is pretty standard, though I wasn't expecting the random decor in the top corners (a few fake statues, some weird ivy) - I suppose it gave it a kind of quickly character. My friend and I had standing tickets and were lucky enough to prostrate ourselves behind a metal barrier about halfway down the sloped floor (another outstanding feature). I liked that - when the place packed out (obviously the gig was sold out) I wasn't squished or in anyone's armpit. It also provided a place for my jacket and bag, which is a massive win as I hate using coatcheck at gigs.


The sound was great - not overwhelming and just enough of a mix that I was deaf afterwards but could still hear every note clearly ;)


Worth a visit if an act you like pops in!

moderatorStaff Writer

Historical venue which has an intimate feel compared to many other London venues. Definitely worth a visit if one of your favourite acts is in town!

Tastemakertastemaker

I love the intimate feel that comes with a gig here - you feel part of a crowd but at the same time small enough to still feel like you're listening to something not many people are getting to hear.  It's stands are sloped, which is great as everyone gets a view and unless you're right at the front, nobody tends to be pushing to get ahead of you - this also means wear comfortable shoes!

From rock to techno, comedy and more - the venue manages to hold it's own.  The bathrooms/floors aren't the cleanest, but let's be honest, you're not going there for an opera!  If you get a chance, head down to see some up-and-coming acts.

tastemaker

Loved the place. The graded stand guaranteed a good view from anywhere and the sound system was good. The venue is tacky and smells like an old pub, which brings some character! 


Best gig place in London - I love the graded standing so you are guaranteed a great view, the atmosphere outside the venue and the friendly staff inside!

Tastemaker

I have a special relationship with the Brixton academy. I have seen some incredible artists and bands over the years at this place. A short stroll from Brixton academy makes it so easy to get to with Brixton's nightlife on its doorstep which is always vibrant with plenty choice of eateries and options to continue the rest of the party afterwards should you wish to. This personally remains a firm favourite london music venue of mine. I love the fact that it's not so big compared to the vast London arenas where I sometimes feel you can lose that intimacy of watching live music.There is always a great atmosphere plus there are amazing acoustics and even a sloping floor which is brilliant for the vertically challenged like me. More venues should have these!!! The bar is conveniently located at the back so should you wish to top up on more drinks you don't feel you're losing out on the music and atmosphere. There is even an upstairs area too if you wish to stay away from the crowds on the main floor.

tastemaker

Great gig venue. It's on a slope (so ladies.... avoid heels!) meaning you get a good view throughout the venue. Unless you get a 7' tall brick lump stood in front of you, of course. Really annoying rules won't let you take your drink outside when you go out for a cigarette, and the 'smoking area' (if you can call it that) fills up very quickly. Bar is well priced though and staff work hard to serve everyone quickly. 

Tastemaker

Brixton Academy is one of the best places to attend a concert because of the size of the place (not too big and not too small) and the acoustics are great as well. Many a great act has performed here, like Pentatonix, and Imagine dragons, and James Bay and even Alesso (he had fireworks INSIDE the venue!!!) The atmosphere is always electrifying and the crowd always fully into the music. the only downside is the bar which takes forever to get a drink. But then again, which concert venue doesnt take forever? 

Tastemaker

I love having Brixton Academy so close to my home - 30 mins door to door. They have a good selection of acts. Its a great concert venue if you get to know where to stand (i'm v short)! Its pretty grotty in terms of its cleanliness and feel but that makes me love it all the more,


The entry and exit experience could be improved - it took us over 5 mins to get in even when there was absolutely no queue and coming out was such a crush.



I've seen a lot of acts here now, and always manage to get standing tickets for downstairs, but for the most recent show I wasn't so lucky - if I wanted to see Grimes performing live, I was going to have to do so from the circle. I really, really wasn't sure about that - I saw FKA Twigs at Hackney Empire from the nosebleeds and spent most of the event jealous of the people on the ground. Luckily, it was still a really cool experience at Brixton Academy.


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.  

Tastemaker

It was my first time in this O2 Academy (and I live minutes away) and having visited other great venues in London this is definitely one of the best in terms of sound.


I'm already coming back in December to see the great Lianne La Havas and looking forward for it.

Tastemaker

For a venue of its size, it's okay, given the sloping floor that is helpful for short gig-goers. And the no-crowdsurfing sign and some weird neoclassical sculpture are amusing. However, it's not a particularly atmospheric or interesting place to see a band. 

Staff Writer

Went there to watch a standup comedian. The show was sold out. I was sat upstairs and had a nice view of the stage.  It was a great night out. Laughed a lot. 


i moved here from aus mid 98 and my first gig was the beastie boys here. 16 years later it's still my favourite venue. every band should play here (and invite me) imo. 


Ive seen many bands here over the years! A friend of mine also hired the foyer/front for her club house parties in the early 90s! Always find/see people i know here too. Probably the best largest venue before it gets less intimate! I first came here when it was the stockwell odeon for Trex in 70s..good views due to floor slopes down toward stage/front.


Nice atmosphere, good size venue and incredible views from the sloped floor, never missed a second! looks cool from outside, where I had a nice chat with a homeless guy and then gave him some spare change to help him out with his various addictions.

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