Barrowland Ballroom, photo by Euan Robertson
From legendary rock venues to classical concert halls, Glasgow’s live music scene is the envy of Europe. Here are five places that can’t be missed in this UNESCO City of Music.
To see the Barras in full-swing, with amplifiers blaring and floorboards bouncing, is to be reminded of how passionate and energetic a Glaswegian crowd can be. A 2,000-plus capacity venue in the gritty East End, its stage always represents a homecoming of sorts for Scottish bands. See it at its most raucous when the likes of local heroes Primal Scream, Belle and Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub or The Proclaimers play.
Europe’s premier folk, roots and world music festival, Celtic Connections, takes place every winter, and this restored period-era market hall in the Merchant City is a hub for much of it. The rest of the year, come for the roots or classical concerts—it is home to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, after all—but hold out for a traditional ceilidh, a night of Scottish folk dancing.
Tucked away from the city centre’s workday rush, this unobtrusive basement club hides underneath a stairwell as though it has been told off for making a racket. But don’t be fooled: King Tut’s has been in the business for nearly three decades and continues to be a staging post for up-and-coming acts. Over the years, the likes of Radiohead, Coldplay, Blur, Pulp, and Oasis have all played the 300-capacity venue.
Glasgow’s newest multi-purpose concert venue, the Hydro looks like it has landed from another planet on the banks of the River Clyde: it is a futuristic, architectural landmark reminiscent of a Star Trek spaceship. Holding up to 13,000 music fans, it’s as likely to host pop hair (Beyoncé) as it is hair metal (Black Sabbath).
If the walls of this famous nightclub on Sauchiehall Street could talk. This is where members of local favourites Snow Patrol, Mogwai and The Vaselines—once described as Kurt Cobain’s favourite songwriters in the world—still play and drink beer. It’s a scuzzy, punk venue, the kind that New York used to have in spades. Opened 25 years ago, its rock band antics are so adored that the waiting list to work here is years long.
Five Stunning Buildings in Glasgow That Celebrate Charles Rennie Mackintosh
2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, an architect whose buildings have become hallmarks of Glasgow. Here are five must-see landmarks to help understand his impact, including Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and The Mackintosh Church at Queen’s Cross.