This is a sponsored article on behalf of Sounds Like London.
Think you know the London music scene? Think again. There's a month-long music extravaganza hitting the city that might just put a new spin on the scene you know. Explore the city's best music venues with Sounds Like London, a new venture taking place throughout June to support grassroots music across the capital.
Launched by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Sounds Like London is working with the Music Venue Trust to promote Fightback London, giving grassroots venues across the city a much-deserved big up. The Sounds Like London line-up covers everything from jazz to rap, rock to soul, in venues that may already be on your radar, as well as some you may not have heard of.
It's set to be one crazy month of music — check out our top venues for the Sounds Like London season.
1. 100 Club
This legendary club, which started out in 1942, is smack bang in the middle of Oxford Street and has just been nominated as one of England's most historic places. Past performers include acts as diverse as Siouxsie and the Banshees to BB King and The Who. The venue was originally just a series of American Blues gigs at Mack Restaurant in the midst of the second world war, but has grown to see significant movements like Punk and Reggae. Throughout its history, The 100 Club has not been afraid to let the women take to the stage. Head to the famous club on 22 June to celebrate some serious female talent, featuring DJ Wendy May, and Sister Suzie.
Spread over three floors just behind Angel station, this Islington institution is pretty special, not least because it has half a tube train outside. Also known as The Islington Metal Works, its vast size means you can hear a range of genres in just one night and its industrial setting can makes for an incredible — if slightly bizarre — night out. Head there for a Sounds Like London performance from The Ex on 21 June.
3. The Bedford
A huge converted Victorian theatre, an exciting array of historical moments has taken place within the walls of The Bedford. In 1876, an inquest into the murder of Charles Bravo, attended by Charles Dickens, was held here. For the past few decades, however, it has been a beacon of live music performances, playing a pivotal role in the careers of KT Tunstall and Ed Sheeran, as well as U2 and The Clash. On 7 June, there'll be a diverse night of music in the former theatre, showcasing new talent in R&B, blues, soul and techno — sibling trio EMMAY, performing on the night, are a band to keep on your radar.
4. Dublin Castle
No, it's not in Dublin, and no, it's not a castle, but that doesn't make this Camden venue any less special. Dubbed the birthplace of Madness, a key venue for Billy Bragg and Coldplay, and even where Amy Winehouse pulled pints behind the bar, the Camden pub is more than just that — it's a piece of living music history. Fans of The Clash, The Sex Pistols and those with a soft spot for punk and rock and roll should head to Dublin Castle for Pussycat & the Dirty Johnsons on 29 June.
Tucked away by London Bridge, newbie Omeara has a mission to showcase rising stars and emerging talent, as well as put on some epic club nights to remember. The venue, which opened in 2016, is owned by member of Mumford & Sons Ben Lovett, and sits right by new hipster hangout Flat Iron Square. Arctic Lake will be taking to Omeara's stage this month, so book for 21 June if you fancy a night of ethereal vocals and atmospheric electronics.
6. Ain't Nothin But The Blues Bar
This is a place that does exactly what it says on the tin. Blues, blues and more blues is the order of the day at this Soho stalwart. Free before 8.30pm, this is the perfect place to get your fix of feel-good tunes, and being just off Carnaby Street, is a bit of a music oasis in central. Take your pick from all sorts of blues-based artists and judge for yourself whether this small but perfectly formed venue really is the best blues bar this side of the Atlantic.
7. The Lexington
Head down Pentonville Road, and you'll come across an award-winning live music venue which describes itself as a 'classic London boozer with a hint of Kentucky charm'. Past stars to hit the Lexington's stage include Charlotte Church and Billy Bragg, Vanessa Carlton and Camera Obscura. Their selection of American beers is rather impressive, as is the range of genres on offer — expect anything from 1920s jazz to noughties indie. On 16 June, enjoy rock and roll from The Fuzillis, all-girl Monks tribute band Ye Nuns, and the high energy, fully-female band The Dagger Debs.