Gigs in East London
East London, like other parts of the capital, can be rightly proud of its vibrant music scene. Okay so there is no one particular hot spot for live music venues where gig-goers get a wide variety of choice in the course of a few streets - somewhere like Camden in North London, Soho in the West End or Brixton in the South, for instance. Nonetheless, East London has some great one-off music venues where you can enjoy a great deal of different sounds from up-and-coming acts as well as established bands and even international tours.
The East End
Much of East London's music scene is centred on the East End, which is the part of London which is closest to the City of London. Whitechapel is a something of a trendy area nowadays for bars and late night clubs, but there are also a number of venues which also cater for live music fans, too. Brick Lane, which is a street that has become synonymous with Indian and Pakistani cuisine, is also a great place to find live music.
93 Feet East occupies the site of the former Truman Brewery on Brick Lane and is a typical example of the sort of high-quality but relatively small live music venue you can find in the East End of London. Here, you will find DJs who play all of the latest sounds as well as live music shows. Indeed, at times the two forms of music -live and vinyl-led - will be going on at the same time and you can move around freely between the two. The style of music on offer is varied with anything from reggae acts, to dubstep to indie rock.
Not far from this venue is the Rhythm Factory which has regular live music performances. Like 93 Feet East, it operates as a night club as well as hosting gigs. Most of the promoters that use the venue put on a mixture of DJs and bands.
The George Tavern is another popular pub venue in the East End that bears a mention, being a regular provider of up-and-coming acts. In the past, Kodaline, Plan B and the Magic Numbers have all played the George Tavern, which still boasts a diverse array of performances in its intimate surroundings.
The Shacklewell Arms is a fantastically scruffy live music venue. The pub venue has a relaxed atmosphere and it continues to book excellent bands to perform on its modest stage. Acts like the Horrors have played there and there is an annual two day mini-festival to enjoy.
The Victoria, which is in Dalston, is a gig venue well worth checking out if you enjoy the pub setting and music acts that punch well above their weight in entertainment and choice. You can expect diverse musical tastes to be catered for with anything from garage rock to afrobeat to heavy rock. This place is a regular for small bands which are just breaking through and perhaps conducting their first UK tour.
Tucked away in an alley in Bethnal Green, the Sebright Arms was due to be demolished in 2009. However it was saved by a recent refurbishing, including smart wooden paneling upstairs, ensuring it is still going strong as a live music venue. This hangout has a capacity of just 150, making for some intense shows.
If you are looking for jazz in East London, then you could do much worse than head to the Vortex which lies in the south side of Dalston. It is run as a not-for-profit and has been doing very successfully, with a track record of three decades of music behind them.
It's easy to swing past any of these venues if you spend your day in an office in Stratford, Tower Hamlets or some other nearby area.