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The student guide to live music in Leeds

The student guide to live music in Leeds

Leeds is a city absolutely thriving with live music – so much so that it can be quite overwhelming for students who are new to the city. Leeds has everything from state of the art pop venues, to DIY metal nights, to late night jazz jams. We’ve put together this guide to help you get the best out of your new city’s music scene.

The Brudenell Social Club

Widely regarded by everyone in Leeds as “the best music venue in the world”, the Brudenell social club opened its doors in 1913, and has hosted an enormous amount of high profile events, for bands like Kaiser Chiefs and The Cribs and, more recently, Jeremy Corbyn.

It’s a bit outside the city centre, located just off Hyde Park, but it’s well worth the trip – and you’ll quickly pay for your taxi there with the money saved on drinks! They’ve just opened a new room for music too – the community room – so there’s never been a better time to head down.

The Brudenell Social Club live music venue Leeds

Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen

Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen is in the Northern quarter of the city centre, and regularly hosts live music, club nights, art exhibitions, and even street food feasts. In recent years, they’ve hosted bands like Royal Blood and Jungle.

It’s a three storey venue, with a pizza and burger bar downstairs, the gig room and snug on the second floor, and a lovely rooftop terrace on the third. Superfriendz are the main promoters at Belgrave, and its sister venue, Headrow House, too.

It’s always a good idea to pop down to the Belgrave – you never know what you’ll get. It could be an indie band, a jazz band, or even a Brazilian carnival.

First Direct Arena

Of course, Leeds’ largest music venue can’t go unmentioned. The First Direct arena was opened in 2013, but has already seen the likes of Elton John, Prince and Fleetwood Mac grace the stage.

It’s a phenomenal space, with 13,500 capacity, and it’s bound to be filled with superstars for years to come. Don’t forget your wallet though – the prices aren’t exactly student friendly!

First Direct Arena Leeds live music venues

Key Club

The Key Club is the place for you if you like things loud. It’s an underground venue in the Merrion centre, and it’s the go-to place for pop punk and metal in the city centre.

It’s only a 300 capacity venue, but they’ve hosted the likes of Frank Carter and The Answer, as well as a whole heap more.

Seven Arts

Located in the leafy suburb of Chapel Allerton, Seven Arts is a cafe and events space, with a diverse program of jazz, comedy, and classical music – not to mention the tasty cakes and pastries.

Every Sunday, Seven arts hosts “Sunday Jazz”, featuring the best jazz artists from all over the country. There are events most nights, so keep an eye out if you’re after something a little more peaceful or sophisticated than a night in the city centre.

The Seven Arts live music venue in Leeds

Leeds O2 Academy

One of the largest music venues in Leeds, the 2300 capacity o2 academy has hosted all sorts of artists from Morrissey to Tenacious D. There’s nights on all the time, and it’s well worth a visit.

The O2 Academy has been one of Leeds’ main music venues for the last 10 years, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

Nation of Shopkeepers

Nation of Shopkeepers has been an indie student hotspot in Leeds for the last 8 years. They host regular live music nights, DJs, and a great pub quiz.

It’s recently been refurbished too, and despite only being small, it’s still seen the likes of The XX, Two Door Cinema Club and James Blake take to its stage.

Nation of Shopkeepers Leeds venue for live music

Headrow House

Headrow House only opened recently, and is the sister bar of Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen. It’s located right in the city centre, just off Briggate, and hosts a diverse range of music events, mainly through Leeds promoters Superfriendz.

It’s a sightly smaller gig room than the Belgrave, so mainly used for slightly more intimate gigs, but it’s also popular for club nights. Headrow House is a venue for people who like live music – but who also fancy a nice Gin & tonic.


Located on Call Lane in the city centre, Oporto is one of the most popular gig venues in Leeds. It’s made up of two rooms, a bar and a gig room, and it’s really tiny. They put on all types of music, but mainly indie and folk.

Every Monday they host their Gaslight Club, which is a great place to see and meet up and coming acoustic artists from all over the country.

Live music in Leeds - Oporto

About The Author

Red Dog Music

Dawsons Music is delighted to announce that the Red Dog Music brand is now part of the Dawsons family. This is an exciting opportunity to bring both communities together and create a stronger, wider network of people passionate about music gear. We both share a common heritage to support musicians throughout the UK and Dawsons want to support Red Dog Music customers in their continued musical journey.

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