In the 1980s, Birmingham was the place to be for DIY rock and garage band heavy metal. It was up there with Manchester in the 1990s for alternative music and produced the likes of Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Godflesh and Napalm Death.
Even if you weren’t from the city, you wanted to be there. Led Zeppelin was a Brummie band, and Pink Floyd, wanting the same kudos, recorded live sets for Ummagumma on stage at the since-departed Mothers club. On the other side of the spectrum, Electric Light Orchestra, UB40, The Move, The Moody Blues and Duran Duran all considered themselves Birmingham locals.
This history of rock and pop greats has ensured that Birmingham can still boast some of the largest arenas and most intimate clubs in the land. Let’s take a look at the venues you’ll be visiting the next time you drop by.
This big-little – or little-big – arena at the NEC has hosted the likes of Muse, Beyonce and the recently departed Prince. The sound quality is considered excellent for such a big place, and you’ll be able to enjoy a wide range of refreshments. It’s also got ample parking if you’re willing to pay for it.
As the name suggests, expect classical music and the likes of Ocean Colour Scene and First Aid Kit. The music quality is also second to none. Its city centre location means that if you’re staying somewhere like Birmingham Serviced Apartments, you won’t need to take public transportation.
This is more of an all-round venue, but it’s also very popular with musicians. Last year saw Simon Amstell, Squeeze and John Cooper Clarke all stopping by to do a set. It seats around 1,000, so you’ll feel right in the thick of it. It’s also in the heart of the city and good for those staying in Birmingham Apartments or rentals.
For a really intimate night, check out The Flapper. With local talent and names such as And So I Watch You From Afar and Johnny Foreigner on their books, you can’t go wrong. Cheap is this place’s middle name; admission can be as low as £3 on a band night, so grab your coat and head on up.