Glasgow has one of the busiest gig calendars in the country with most bands’ UK tours taking in one of Glasgow’s many live music venues.
One of Glasgow's oldest, and certainly its most-loved, live music venues is the Barrowlands Ballroom. It’s brilliantly retro, acoustically superb and attracts the greats of indie, metal, hip-hop and beyond. It’s also Glasgow’s most iconic gig venue thanks to its trademark flashing neon sign, so you’ll never have trouble finding it.
Another Glasgow live music institution is Nice 'n' Sleazy. The favourite hangout of many of Glasgow’s indie bands, Sleazy's offers such a wide variety of gig nights that anyone should be able to have a good time here. Upstairs there’s a spacious bar; downstairs you'll find an intimate live music space where you’ll find gigs by local bands, underground legends, and touring bands on the cusp of glory.
King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut has long dined out on the fact that it’s the place where Alan McGee discovered Oasis, but it should be famed more for its diverse gig lineups than this anecdote. With a capacity of 300 at a push, it’s cramped, sweaty and very, very loud, with a new lineup, mostly made up of up-and-coming bands, almost every night of the week.
Glasgow's music scene has been through the wars in recent years, with the loss of a pair of key venues in the city centre following the Glasgow School of Art fires. The O2 ABC, which occupied a distinctive art deco building that once housed Scotland's first cinema, and The Art School will be sorely missed, but the city still has a wide range of venues to choose from.
The sprawling SWG3complex on the edge of Finnieston has gone through a major facelift in recent times, and now houses four gig spaces from the intimate Poetry Club to the 1000-plus capacity of Galvanisers, with the occasional outdoor gig in the Yard as well. Nearby, but on a slightly smaller scale, The Hug & Pint showcases new bands from across the greater indie-electronic spectrum in its basement room.
Stereo is another Glasgow bar and live music venue with a good mixed bill of indie, funk, rock and everything in-between, from intimate acoustic nights to full-blown Balkanarama raves. For a more relaxed arena for live music, there’s Stereo’s sister venue, Mono, where you can browse for records at its in-house record store before your gig.
In the heart of Glasgow’s south side you’ll find The Glad Cafe, which has become a bit of a hangout for the area’s diverse mix of musicians, artists, writers and performers. The gigs here tend to be lower-key: think Casiotone dreampop, stripped-back acoustic sets and jazz nights.
Glasgow’s most picturesque live music venue is easily the newly refurbished Kelvingrove Bandstand, situated in Kelvingrove Park. Having lain derelict for decades, it was restored in 2014 for the Commonwealth Games, where it opened with free gigs from some of Glasgow’s favourite bands like Belle and Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub.
The O2 Academy acts as a middle ground between intimate gig and stadium tour. Situated in an old art deco cinema just south of the city centre, it's the last stop for many bands before heading to the arenas, and has hosted the likes of Stormzy, Lizzo, Anderson .Paak and Lewis Capaldi in recent years. Glasgow’s biggest live music venue is The SSE Hydro, which has a capacity of up to 13,000. With its oval shape, inspired by ancient amphitheatres, you’re guaranteed decent sight lines, comfortable seating and good acoustics, even in the cheap seats.
Then there's The Old Hairdressers, 13th Note... In fact, bugger it, we’ve pulled together the best guide to Glasgow live music listings, including local one-off gigs and bands and artists who are currently on tour. If you’re organising an live music event or spot any information which needs listing or updating, let us know by contacting listing email@example.com with the event and venue details.