I Want a New Drug: Where to see up-and-coming artists in London

London, being the thriving metropolis it is, plays host to some, if not all, of the biggest acts to ever grace this earth. It was London that saw Ed Sheeran’s three night sold out Wembley show, and it was London that hosted the legendary Live Aid concert that still sends shivers down the spines of all Queen fans to this day. What often goes under the radar though, is that London is also the place where so many musicians and bands start out but, as these musicians are currently unknown, how do you find these acts? How do you see these live shows and find the acts that are soon to be headlining festivals? There are too many venues in London for just one list but here are just some of them that promise fantastic music and promote the best new artists.

Paper Dress Vintage, Hackney

The 100 Club

A club known for pioneering some of the biggest acts in music history are The 100 Club. It was here that London’s Punk movement started in 1976 with London’s first look at bands like The Sex Pistols and The Clash who, at the time of playing, were unsigned and unknown. The club moves with the times and, at the start of the 1990s, were at the forefront of the brit pop movement where artists like Oasis and Suede played at the club. They continue to showcase new bands to this day, Jake Bugg and Joey Bada$$ to name a few, as well as holding secret shows for such established acts as Paul McCartney and Blur.

​Tickets range from £10-20.

Address: Century House, 100 Oxford St, London W1D 1L

The Camden Assembly

Located in the heart of Camden, The Camden Assembly has helped kickstart the careers of too many well-known acts to count. If names like Coldplay, Adele and The Killers ring any bells for you then this will be definitely be a name to remember. A unique venue in itself, there are two floors to this establishment with the top being where they hold their shows. Tickets are cheap and it sells out quickly so be sure to arrive early for any shows as they do pack out!

Tickets range from £5-15

Address: 49 Chalk Farm Rd, Chalk Farm, London NW1 8AN

The Slaughtered Lamb

Don’t let the name fool you, this is no heavy metal, mosh pit orientated venue (well, not always). Some of the biggest names in indie and acoustic music have played here on their journey to stardom such as Tom Grennan and James Bay. This is a very special venue with an intimate low-down basement stage ensuring a memorable show every time and almost always a chance to meet with the performers afterwards for a pint and a chat.

Tickets: £10-20

Address: 34-35, Great Sutton Street, EC1V 0DX

The Underworld

Often referred to as the heart of the independent scene in the UK, The Underworld in Camden has a long history of promoting some of the biggest names in independent music’s history. This is a massive stepping-stone to the mainstream for any band in London and around the world. Such names to have graced the stage here are The Cranberries, Foo Fighters and Fall Out Boy and you know it’s only a matter of time until we see yet another Glastonbury headliner come through the ranks of this great establishment.

Tickets: £7 – 25

Address: 174 Camden High St, Camden Town, London NW1 0NE

Paper Dress Vintage

A standout entry on this list, Paper Dress Vintage in Hackney are a venue unlike any other. By day, a vintage boutique selling items from around the world; by night, a music venue and club showcasing some of the best up-and-coming artists London has to offer. It is far too easy to spend a whole day (and night) here getting lost in all they have to offer. Such acts to have played here are Tom Odell and Juanita Stein of Howling Bells.

Tickets: Free (most of the time)

Address: 352a Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 1HR

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