The best music venue in your University town

Get ready for your first gig in your new postcode

So you’re first term at University is almost over. You’ve bonded with your new housemates and awkwardly laughed about how all of you brought a kettle so you now have six. The nerves have started to subside, and now your new University town is starting to feel like home.

So what’s next? It’s time to really get to grips with your new postcode.

Sometimes it can take time to properly suss out your local music scene, but we all like to get a head start. So whether you’re staying in your hometown, or have moved halfway across the country to a brand new city, here’s the music venue you should definitely be checking out in your new home.

The Joiners, Southampton

Tucked away in the heart of Southampton is the iconic Joiners arms. Winner of NME’s best small venue in 2013, they’ve been putting on iconic gigs in their 200 capacity venue for almost half a century, and have welcomed the likes of Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines and Oasis.

The Jericho Tavern, Oxford

Oxford’s not short on fantastic venues to catch live music, with The Cellar and The Bullingdon putting on killer shows, but due to it’s rich musical history – it’s The Jericho Tav you need to check out first. This was where Radiohead played their first gig (back in 1986 under the name On A Friday), and Supergrass for a record deal after a gig there.

Motion, Bristol

This 2500 capacity warehouse on the banks of the Avon is the jewel of Bristol’s music scene. Its legendary In:Motion series brings in big names like Kurupt FM, Bicep, and Shy FX. Its massive line-ups, huge sound system and next level production have rightfully earned it the title of DJ mag’s 20th best club in the world. But it’s not just a venue for ravers, the likes of Joey Bada$$, Pussy Riot, and King Krule are all playing there this year. There’s even a cheese fest in December. If grooving into the early hours isn’t your thing though – check out Thekla, a former cargo ship that now runs as a concert venue and night club.

@feelmybicep return on the 17th November with their roof-raising live show.

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The Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth

One of the oldest landmarks in Southsea, The Wedgewood Rooms is a fantastic venue 500 capacity venue. Having hosted the likes of Gorillaz and Kasabian, The Wedge has hosted Jeff Buckley, The Strokes, and was the venue for Gerard Way’s first ever solo show.

Norwich Arts Centre, UEA

Another winner of NME’s Britain’s Best Small Venue (this time in 2014), the Norwich Arts Centre is the jewel of Norwich’s music scene. Holding 260 punters in the redeveloped church, there have been appearances from Nirvana, The Stone Roses and Oasis. The venue is also noted amongst music fans – as it was where Richey Edwards carved “4 Real” into his arm with a razor blade in 1991.

Old Fire Station, Bournemouth

The Grade 2 listed ex-fire station is not only home to some cheesy SU nights, but has hosted some massive acts in the past, including Bloc Party, Dizzee Rascal and even David Guetta.

The Bodega, Nottingham

The 250 capacity venue in Nottingham is well worth a visit. The Strokes and White Stripes both played there, so it’s a great place to catch your next favourite band.

Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

If you want to catch live music in Leeds, look no further than the Brude. Located in student-y Hyde Park, it’s split into two spaces and boasts a 400 capacity gig venue, as well as a games room. It also has one of the best logos about – which features Charlie the King Charles Spaniel – who is owned by The Clark family who hold the club’s license. Some of the highest profile gigs there have been secret shows for Franz Ferdinand and the Kaiser Chiefs.

The Leadmill, Sheffield

The former flour mill in Sheffield has hosted tonnes of massive gigs – including Arctic Monkeys selling out the venue faster than ever before (in 2005), and Coldplay. It’s also where The Housemartins decided to queue for their own gig in 1984 (but they weren’t let in and were turned away by bouncers).

The Hare and Hounds, Birmingham

The Hare and Hounds holds a regular pub, with two gig rooms upstairs (holding 250 and 150 people). The Grade II-listed building also boasts the claim to fame that it was the site of the first ever UB40 gig in 1979.

King Tut’s Wah-Wah Hut, Glasgow

Opening its doors in 1990, by 1993 it had a huge reputation for putting on wicked live bands – who often ended up as household names. Indeed, in 93 there was a fortnight where The Verve, Radiohead and Oasis all played the venue. It’s also a favourite amongst bands, with The Manic Street Preachers commenting that King Tut’s was “the first venue to treat us properly and give us hot food on tour” before dedicating a song to the venue during their 1999 set at T in the Park. Nowadays you’ll be able to catch the hottest new acts in the iconic 300 capacity venue.

The Arts Club, Liverpool

Having hosted Johnny Marr and Wolf Alice, The Arts Club is a vibrant local venue where you’ll be able to catch some wicked bands.

Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The nightclub, venue and welsh-language club is an essential visit if you’re studying in Cardiff. It’s previously hosted Foals and Friendly Fires, but is a key place to visit to catch the latest buzz acts.

The Sebright Arms, London

Having previously welcomed Charli XCX and Ezra Furman, the 150 capacity Sebright Arms in Bethnal Green is where you can go in the capital to catch the next big indie band (and chow down on a delicious Lucky Chip burger beforehand).

Ramsgate Music Hall, Kent

Even though it’s only been around since 2013, the Ramsgate Music Hall has established itself as a thriving local venue (even winning ME’s Britain’s Best Small Venue 2016). Before it was a venue co-owner Julian Bigg described it as “Derelict for four years, a grim gangster boozer and a very dodgy lapdancing club” but now it hosts wicked acts that include Mystery Jets and Sleaford Mods.

The Buttertones are playing the last UK show of their tour tonight at Ramsgate Music Hall 🇬🇧

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The Engine Shed, Lincoln

Over the past decade The Engine Shed has welcomed a host of acts including Gorillaz, Kings of Leon and Kasabian. The largest music and entertainment venue in Lincoln also welcomes top comedians like Russell Howard and Jason Manford, and it’s at the University of Lincoln – so dead easy to get to!

The Deaf Institute, Manchester

Housed in the Grade II-listed building, the Deaf Institute used to be the ‘Adult Deaf and Dumb Institute’. Nowadays it’s a trendy 300-capacity venue that boasts a stellar line-up of up and coming acts, including Drenge and Peace.

Think Tank?, Newcastle

In Times Square in Newcastle is Think Tank?, a 300-capacity venue that’s boasted the likes of Wolf Alice, The 1975 and Jake Bugg. Want to catch the next rising stars? Here’s your best bet.

Additional words: Daniel Bradshaw