Living in Leicester and loving music go hand in hand, thanks to the many fantastic venues, old and not so old, that have been luring some of the biggest names in the business to the city for decades. We’ve also produced a fair few of those big names right here, and from legendary crooner Engelbert Humperdinck to alternative R & B band Easy Life, there’s plenty for music fans to look forward to over the coming months and beyond.

Engelbert will be appearing on home turf on November 20 when he brings his ‘Reflections Tour’ to Leicester’s De Montfort Hall, itself something of a legend, entertaining city audiences since 1913. Leicester rockers Kasabian are coming home to perform on October 27, and the hall will welcome other artists including Billy Ocean, Scouting For Girls, Jason Donovan, Elbow and Gabrielle during its autumn/winter season.


Orchestras in a class of their own

Classical music-lovers should mark November 3 on their calendars. London’s world-famous Philharmonia Orchestra has had a residency at De Montfort Hall for more than 20 years, and returns to perform Dvoƙák’s New World Symphony. Leicester Symphony Orchestra, which calls the hall home, is busy tuning up too, in readiness to mark its 100th season. ‘Celebrating Music of the Past 100 Years’ features Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana and Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No 2.


From R & B to Bollywood

Usually home to the Leicester Riders Basketball team, the Morningside Arena is dishing up an eclectic weekend of music starting on Friday, November 5, when Easy Life light up the stage as part of their ‘Life’s A Beach’ UK and European headline tour. On Saturday, Bollywood pop sensation Neha Kakkar brings her ‘Live in Concert 2021’ tour to the 3,000 capacity arena.

University of Leicester-based venue the O2 Academy can pack in up to 1,400 music-lovers, and capacity crowds are expected when bands including Blossoms, British Sea Power, Shed Seven and The Libertines play.


See them here first…

If you’re after a more intimate gig experience and the chance to listen to up-and-coming artists, the city has tons of smaller venues making a big noise on the music scene.

Playing host to a diverse range of performers, The Shed is starting a new chapter post-pandemic, initially throwing its doors open on Friday and Saturday evenings over the summer. You can chill with a drink in The Vault before heading to the Main Room, where new-wave outfit Phantom Isle, Bowie tribute with a twist Miss Bowie and alternative rock band Chapter and Verse are part of the line-up over the coming months.


Where Mahalia took the mic

Based in the city’s St George’s Cultural Quarter, The Soundhouse is famed for its open mic nights, with a young Mahalia just one past performer to impress at the 250-capacity venue. Every Saturday afternoon over the Summer, local acts entertain at their Summer Sessions shows. The team pride themselves on giving artists the best live experience possible, and blues rock band Delta Fuse and folk singer Beans on Toast will test their hospitality either side of the ‘Summer Sessions Bank Holiday All Dayer’ on August 28.

Billing itself as a small venue with a big reputation, The Donkey has hosted plenty of big-name acts as well as local artists. See what the fuss is about in October when Goan Dogs show off their psych infused rock-pop sound, and Mojohand get into full party mode.


Christmas in September

Another venue where a party is always going on is The Musician. Tucked into a quiet back street just a few minutes from the Clock Tower it may be, but it is not the place for a quiet night. When it’s in full swing, expect live music at least six nights a week. Anyone who has been to London’s Borderline will recognise The Musician’s commitment to grass roots Americana and blues, but the venue also features everything from rock, ska and punk to metal, soul and indie. September kicks off with singer/songwriter/guitarist Keith Christmas, who played on David Bowie’s Space Oddity album, and ends with an evening of ‘feelgood funk and sunshine soul’ from Leicester’s own 7Storeysoul.


Bars that don’t miss a beat

Late-night bar Firebug is also well placed in the city centre, in Millstone Lane to be exact, and hosts club nights, comedy, quizzes, and of course, many gigs. Run by stalwarts of the Leicester music scene and celebrating its 17th birthday this year, there are sure to be a few surprises in store.

Go west – to the city’s West End that is – and one surprise comes in the shape of the Metal Monocle. No ordinary bar, this is Leicester’s first steampunk rock bar, and plays punk, alternative metal and everything in between, plus regular live music.


2Funky nights with rock royalty

Just around the corner is 2Funky Café, where you could be fooled into thinking your all-time-favourite artists are performing. Its tribute nights are legendary, and crowd-pleasers coming soon include everyone from Bob Marley and George Michael to Pink Floyd and UB40, although Queen fans will have to wait until February 2022 to enjoy Flash: A Tribute to Queen. Smash hits ‘You’re My Best Friend’, ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ and ‘I Want to Break Free’ could feature on the set list, and were penned by the iconic band’s bass guitarist John Deacon, who was born and grew up right here in Leicester.


All performances are subject to change, and booking may be required, so always check with individual venues.

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