From the most traditional Spanish flamenco, to the big names of pop through to the most obscure of experimental music, any music genre imaginable can be found in Barcelona, a city bursting with live music venues. Whether in concert halls offering enormous auditoriums, clubs with large stages, or bars with intimate spaces, follow our guide on where to enjoy quality performances in Barcelona’s top live music venues.
The year 1988 saw the birth of El Tablao de Carmen, a venue where flamencois celebrated for its passionand colors. Dedicated to Carmen Amaya, one of the world’s best flamenco dancers, El Tablao de Carmen hosts jaw-dropping performances: the singers, dancers and musicians join forces to keep tradition alive and strong.
The arts lie at the heart of Heliogàbal, a cultural association which began twenty years ago, providing the local artists of Gràcia with a venue where their creativity can be stimulated and shared, whether it is music, poetry or photography. When it comes to live concerts, however, Heliogàbal is one of the best venues in town for its intimate and charismatic space, buzzing with atmosphere. Enjoy a drink at the bar before watching some of the best bands in town in their element.
Razzmatazz, one of the most popular clubs and concert venues in Barcelona, is a massive building, offering five different floors, each one playing a different genre and with its own bar and facilities. The stages at Razzmatazz see many national and international bands, such as Arctic Monkeys, visit this famous club, whose mind-blowing size is matched by its atmosphere. Music genres generally played at this venue are indie and pop-rock, but it also ventures into techno and house. For a full-on night of live music, take a trip to Razzmatazz.
In the Gothic Quarter is Jamboree, a jazz cellar which has had a great influence on Barcelona’s ever-growing jazzscene. Many artists have stepped through its doors, including Chet Baker and Bill Coleman. Lovers of jazz frequently visit this venue, which guarantees live music of the highest standard in a relaxed environment, although other genres which can be heard here include swing, blues and flamenco – the latter can also be found in Tarantos, a venue attached to and combined with Jamboree to create one huge club. Look out for the much talked about WTF Jam Sessions on Monday nights.
The oldest concert hall in the city, the Harlem Jazz Club invites music lovers to enjoy the best of jazz, blues, funk, reggae, Latin and other styles of music. Whatever the genre, the music is constantly of impressive standard, performed in an intimate environment where the musicians truly connect with the audience. As well as live music, which is played most days of the week, look out for Contes i Cuentos – a local initiative of storytellers who invite adults to listen to narrations of gripping tales at Harlem Jazz Club. After an event, this venue becomes a lively club where visitors can dance the night away.
Luz de Gaz is a renovated old music-hall turned into a bar and renowned for its excellent live music scene. Performances here are given by international, national and local artists, some of which are even benefit concerts for local causes. From blues and jazz to disco and rock, a wide range of music genres can be heard at Luz de Gas. This friendly bar generally welcomes a more mature audience, inviting customers to indulge in a tasty cocktail or a satisfying meal while enjoying a great show.
Having opened its doors in 1847 and failing to be thwarted by two fires, bombings and a financial crisis, the Gran Teatre del Liceu continues to host incredible operas. Behind the beautiful façade lies an enormous horse-shoe auditorium, surrounding its 2292 spectators with luscious and elegant décor. Although also hosting small-format opera and contemporary performances, this theatre, which once was the largest theatre of its kind in Europe, more commonly welcomes full-length opera. It also boasts a large basement bar, where pre-performance talks, recitals and children’s shows occur.
L'Auditori's Coming Season | Courtesy of Luci Gutiérrez
Whatever the genre, you are bound to find it at L’Auditori, the first Spanish music venue to join the European Concert Hall Organization (ECHO), an association of the greatest auditoriums in Europe. Having invited many groups to their four impressive halls which combined can hold 3352 spectators, as well as being the home of the prestigious Orquesta Sinfónica de Barcelona y Nacional de Cataluña and Banda Municipal de Barcelona, L’Auditori welcomes back old friends while inviting new bands to join them in a mission to share great music. Don’t miss the Museo de Música, which offers a permanent exhibition and performances by local musicians.
Once, Barcelona’s music scene was lacking something. But in 1982, that something appeared in the form of Sidecar Factory Club, an electric venue where the rock, punk, experimental and alternative sounds could emerge from the darkness of the underground scene. 30 years and approximately 4000 concerts later, Sidecar still plays only that which is not mainstream. An ideal place for letting your hair loose and rocking out to the likes of Placebo and the much adored Nirvana after a fantastic local gig, don’t miss out on this individual venue when in Barcelona.