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Best Live Music in Leeds

Tuesday 12 September 2023

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Believe it or not, Leeds is a hotbed of musical talent. Though nearby Sheffield and Manchester may be better known for their famous bands, there are plenty of world-changing acts to have come straight out of Leeds. This Yorkshire city has been gaining a reputation for producing some of the UK's most exciting music recently, and we are glad to see it! 

Whether you're looking for a local live music venue in Leeds or researching up-and-coming bands, discover live music in Leeds with CrossCountry.

Musical History of Leeds

Music in Leeds has taken many forms over the years, from rock and pop to electronic and punk bands - Leeds has seen it all.

In the 1980s, Chapeltown was home to a big Afro-Caribbean community, which is where Leeds' famous dub scene began. Later on, the underground house scene of the 1990s saw Back to Basics and Vague titled 'best club in Britain' at various points of the decade.

On the more rebellious edge, Leeds had a prominent punk scene in the late 1970s, with groups like the Mekons and Gang of Four leading the charge. When the Sex Pistols performed at Leeds Polytechnic in 1976, it was clear that Leeds' punk scene was something special.

Of course, we have to mention Leeds Festival - the Northern sister to Reading Festival. Since 1999, thousands of rock and alternative music lovers have flocked to Leeds to enjoy the best rock music around - long may it continue!

Leeds Live Music Venues

Whatever music you’re into - Leeds is a wonderful destination to visit to indulge your love of music. The city is bustling with live music venues and is home to bars and clubs to suit all budgets and tastes. To help you find the best places to enjoy some live beats, we’ve put together a handy list, so you know exactly where to head on your night out.

Popular Venues in Leeds

One of the most famous venues to head to if you want to catch a live concert is the huge First Direct Arena. It holds an impressive 13,500 fans and has attracted huge names to grace its stage, including Prince, Pearl Jam, Fleetwood Mac, Dolly Parton and even ‘The Boss’ himself: Bruce Springsteen.

While smaller than the First Direct Arena, the O2 Academy Leeds still draws crowdpleasers to its venue. With a capacity of 2,300, everyone from Ellie Goulding to Morrissey has played to cheering crowds here.

Let’s not forget the 100-year-old Brudenell Social Club, which is another firm favourite, as are The Wardrobe and the Belgrave Music Hall.

Intimate Venues in Leeds

While the large arenas are great for taking in impressive shows put on by music industry giants, there are also plenty of more intimate venues to listen to music in Leeds.

Hirst’s Yard not only delivers sounds from niche bands, but it also serves a vast selection of craft beer, which, as we all know, goes down rather nicely with live music.

The Duck and Drake is another great venue that regularly puts on gigs which span all music genres including folk, rock and blues.

If it’s more of an old-fashioned pub atmosphere you’re after, The Fox and Newt is an awesome place to head to, especially if you love real ale.

Famous Artists from Leeds

Leeds has produced some famous bands over the years and many smaller musicians still searching for their big break. If you have an ear for unique bands, it’s likely you will have heard of many of the well-known names, and those you don’t know are well worth checking out.

Below are some of the most recognised names in the world of music who originate from Leeds:

  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • Soft Cell
  • Cud
  • Black Wire
  • The Mekons
  • The Sisters of Mercy
  • Gang of Four
  • I Like Trains
  • Hope & Social
  • The Herman’s Hermits

While the city has indeed produced famous artists such as the chart-topping Kaiser Chiefs, it has also made a name for itself through its lesser-known talent. Many small local bands draw large crowds in venues all over Leeds and these notable musicians form much of the resident music scene.

Whether rock, Indie or pop gets your feet tapping to the sound of music, the musical talent in Leeds is undoubtedly making a lasting impression.

If you’re planning to enjoy Leeds' music scene, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

Direct CrossCountry routes to Leeds

Get live information on direct CrossCountry routes to Leeds

Written by Julia

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