Music | The Best Of Live Music In Leeds

Where will your stomping ground be?

If live music is a big part of your life, or even something you’re yet to delve into, the city of Leeds caters for it all. We’ve put together a little guide to get you started and can assure that you will have some of the most memorable nights of your university life at these venues!

Leeds Uni Union

Stylus, the most active gig venue within the union, attracts some of the biggest names in the music industry. SBTRKT, James Blake and Bastille have played recently and there’s plenty visiting in the coming months. The Refectory – where The Who’s Live at Leeds was famously recorded – also plays an important role for live music within the union when festivals such as Live at Leeds, Slam Dunk, Damnation and Constellations take over the building. For slightly more intimate musical experiences, Mine is the answer. Buried underneath the union building and with a capacity of only 450, it’s the one to get sweaty at.

Who to look out for this term: Mount Kimbie, Kodaline, and Deerhunter. Information and tickets for all upcoming events can be found online at



O2 Academy

The O2 Academy in Leeds is housed within a Grade I listed building on Cookridge Street, just a short walk towards town from the university. Having developed a reputation for providing quality acts at reasonable prices – in the past they’ve played host to the likes of The Killers, The XX, and Biffy Clyro (not to mention Peter Andre!) – and as the largest venue in Leeds, aside from the Arena, this is where the core of the most popular gigs occur. Whether Peter Andre can be considered a quality act, though, is open to discussion!

Who to look out for this term: Rudimental, Beady Eye, Disclosure, and Basement Jaxx. Information and tickets for all upcoming events can be found online at

o2 academy
O2 Academy                                                                                  photo: Nick Pickles

The Cockpit

Cockpit is tucked away under the railway aqueducts just south of the City Centre. If you’re into energetic live shows, this is the one guaranteed to have something on its bill to get your juices flowing. Whether it’s getting sweaty to the latest US pop-punk export, forming mosh pits against the backdrop of some heavy metal, or witnessing the up and coming before they hit the big time, there’s a splash of something for everyone. Three rooms make up the venue – all astonishingly intimate – with the main room having welcomed the likes of Amy Winehouse, The White Stripes and Fall Out Boy in years past.

Who to look out for this term: AlunaGeorge, Clean Bandit, London Grammar and John Newman. Information and tickets for all upcoming events can be found online at

The Cockpit                                                                               photo: Carl Fleischer

Brudenell Social Club

Probably the most lovable and legendary venue in Leeds, the intimacy and local feel of the Brudenell is what attracts so many visitors and artists to fall in love with the place. If you follow Pitchfork, Brudenell will most probably be your stomping ground. For its size, the quality of acts the Brudenell attracts is top class. Very reasonable ticket and drinks prices are what to expect from this homely establishment.

Who to look out for this term: Temples, Waxahatchee, Gold Panda and Kurt Vile. Information and tickets for all upcoming events can be found online at

brudenell social club

Brudenell Social Club

Nation of Shopkeepers

Arguably the coolest venue on the list is the affectionately nicknamed ‘Nation’. Not only do the staff serve up wonderful food in the daytime but they put on excellent gigs in the evening. Peace and AlunaGeorge both visited last year along with many more up and coming acts. Be sure to not to miss the legendary “Free Music Wednesdays” to find out about the next big thing.

Do be sure to check the website regularly as listings can come very last minute!

nation of shopkeepersNation of Shopkeepers                                                                                     photo: Ross McCon

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