Europe brings to mind pining poets, romantic composers, and wine-flushed lovers. But the birthplace of Western music is anything but calm and quiet. From authentic punk dives to church halls converted to the cause of music, the live venues in Europe have featured some of the biggest names in music from secret sets by Radiohead to the time of all-around tortured genius and the first international superstar, Mozart.
House icons spin new beats while pushing the edge of electronic music as rock gods reunite on legendary stages. Meanwhile, pop divas mesmerize crowds of thousands and notorious rap crews unleash fresh rhymes with fury at packed out places all across the Continent. So book your tickets before they sell out and gear up for a show to remember at some of our favorite live music venues in Europe.
Le Grand Rex – Paris
Doubling as an Art Deco style cinema from 1932, Le Grand Rex is also one of the best music venues in the city, as well as its largest. Crowds pack out the floor for the best concerts in Paris, under a ceiling made to look like a starry night sky. Past performers at Le Grand Rex include musical giants like Wilco, Tori Amos, Smashing Pumpkins, Tom Waits, and Radiohead.
Sala Apolo – Barcelona
Angsty youth and those who appreciate some live punk music have found a punk paradise in Sala Apolo, a lively club with two separate areas to give patrons options for how they want to spend the night. The main floor is meant for intense, elbow-to-elbow dancing and the upstairs is intended as a place to grab a casual drink. The venue features various musical acts from an assortment of genres every night of the week.
Columbia Halle – Berlin
While Berlin is crowded with nightclubs and music venues, Columbia Halle stands out from the rest. With ultra-modern designs and second story balconies to hide away in, this venue brings out thousands of fans for Berlin events and concerts ranging from Gotye to M83 to Snoop Dogg (or Lion, or whatever it is he goes by today). Columbia Halle boasts some of the best acoustics in Europe and its dazzling lightshows make for a multisensory musical experience.
Circolo Degli Artisti – Rome
For a little slice of earthly paradise, spend your night at Circolo Degli Artisti. The club promises an experience that is alternative both in its atmosphere and location, with ancient Roman walls enclosing the club’s two dance floors and a sprawling series of green gardens, gazebos, and even a swimming pool. Artsy patrons flock to this veritable oasis to see bands from all over Europe play on the main stage, while house/electronica fans can find DJs spinning sets on the nearby smaller performance level.
Paradiso – Amsterdam
One of the best places to catch Amsterdam events and concerts is at a beautiful 19th-century church that has been converted into a massive venue and nightclub. Paradiso attracts some of the biggest pop, rock, and electronic artists in the world, and the acts that have graced the stage here read like the history of the Grammy Hall of Fame. Past performances have included rock legends like The Rolling Stones, U2, Pink Floyd, and Metallica, as well as international pop stars like Adele and Lady Gaga.