Any Swedish music fan worth their salt has heard of Debaser Medis in central Södermalm. It’s actually part of a larger group of venues also including Debaser Slussen and Debaser Strand, but Medis has a rock slant the other two lack, putting on shows by groups such as post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor or American rock band Imagine Dragons. There are also smaller, local bands performing, and most of their gigs are free before nine or 10:00 p.m. — a great way to discover new music. The venue itself is quite big, with several stages and bars spread over two floors; there’s even a small cinema on the second floor.
Address: Debaser Medis, Medborgarplatsen 8, Stockholm, Sweden, +46 8 694 79 00
Built in 1985, Annexet has welcomed some critically-acclaimed performers in recent years: New Order, D’Angelo, Steven Wilson…the list goes on. It’s located in Stockholm Globe City, an event district containing four venues for sports and concerts, including Sweden’s indoors arena, the Ericsson Globe. Annexet is the smallest venue there — its capacity is 3,950 people — allowing it to retain a wonderful intimacy between the artist and the audience. Shows there, like at Debaser Medis, tend to be more rock than pop, but there’s also the occasional electronic music group like Major Lazer in October 2015.
Pet Sounds Bar
This bar, owned by the legendary Stockholm record store of the same name, is the best venue in Stockholm to discover new local bands, DJs, and participate in open mic nights. Its cellar was a legendary venue for indie rock in the 1980s and 1990s — it was the first Stockholm venue to book New Order — but now visitors can expect any genre, from folk to punk and Britpop, with lesser-known groups like Me & Mark, Poplöst, and The Specifics.
Address: Pet Sounds Bar, Skånegatan 80, Stockholm, Sweden, +46 8 643 82 25
Not really into rock or pop? For high-quality live jazz, soul, and world music there isn’t a better place than Fasching, near the Central Station. Opened in 1977, Fasching has been bringing local and international talents to central Stockholm, amazing jazz enthusiasts with artists like bassist Christian McBride and American jazzman Gregory Porter. There are also many up-and-coming artists performing there, making for a great exploration of the local jazz scene in a relaxed and cozy atmosphere.
Address: Fasching, Kungsgatan 63, Stockholm, Sweden, +46 8 20 00 66
Located, as the name suggests, in hip Södermalm, Södra Teatern is the oldest theater in Stockholm, but it now focuses on music. In this unique setting dating back to 1850, concerts are held on the main stage, a beautiful lounge adorned with gold and green, or on one of the six smaller stages. There are also bars, restaurants, three outdoor terraces in the summer, and a beautiful view of the city. Renowned music groups and performers have put on gigs there, like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nick Cave, Coldplay, and James Blake.
Address: Södra Teatern, Mosebacke Torg 1, Stockholm, Sweden, +46 8 531 994 90
Classical music is live music too! While the Main Concert Hall is the obvious place to look for good classical music in Stockholm, the Berwaldhallen is actually home to the Swedish Radio National Orchestra, one of Europe’s foremost orchestras. The venue is also notable for its design and excellent acoustics: it has won a Europe Nostra architecture award for being an “admirably sensibly designed concert hall.” Here, too, there is an admirable range of genres: classics like Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, but also Ukrainian orthodox music and even the occassional Björk appearance.
Address: Berwalrdhallen, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 3, Stockholm, Sweden, +46 8 784 18 00