Your definitive guide to Sheffield’s best gig venues
Rock on Sheff
There are a number of small music venues dotted around Sheffield, so there’s really no excuse to not go to at least one gig whilst you’re living here. If Tramlines was the only time you’ve seen bands play in the city then you’re missing out.
Although bands often skip Sheffield in favour of Manchester and Leeds, there are still a plethora of venues spread out across the Steel City. With most tickets costing less than a tenner and some offering live music for free, it won’t break the bank.
These are places to go to catch up-and-coming bands before they get famous, giving you instant “I saw them before they got big” bragging rights. You might even discover your new favourite band there.
Bungalows and Bears
Before becoming a bar and restaurant, Bungalows and Bears was a fire station making it a spacious venue perfect for hosting live music. Bungalows and Bears’ free gigs have showcased some of the country’s best up-and-coming talent. Wolf Alice, Daughter, and Drenge all played there before they were famous and in the past year rising stars on the indie music scene such as The Japanese House and The Magic Gang have also headlined.
The venue is part of Tramlines Fringe, so they have live music for free all weekend. Though all of their gigs are free, tickets are on sale for Bungalows’ 10th anniversary show next month. There is always a great atmosphere at Bungalows and Bears. The only downside is the height of the stage. Push to the front if you want to actually be able to see the band.
Upcoming gigs: Happyness (23rd October), Gengahr (16th November)
Picturehouse Social is situated out in Abbeydale. It used to be a cinema, but the main space has been turned into an airy and spacious gig venue. There is always room to dance here, though drinks are expensive so it’s probably worth pre-drinking before you go.
The main perk of Picturehouse as a venue is their pizza. If you are waiting in the gap between the support and the headline band, pop over to the bar and order a pizza. You are given a tomato shaped timer that will ring in your hand when it’s time to go back to the bar to collect your food. There is a also a games room with ping pong tables and board games. The smoking area is cute and decorated with fairy lights and plants.
Upcoming gigs: YAK (24th October), The Big Moon (30th October)
Queens Social Club
An old working men’s club, Queens Social Club is an intimate venue near to the station, opposite Skate Central. Queens Social Club gigs are quite sporadic but, run by the same group that run gigs at The Harley, they seem to be becoming a bit more regular this year. It has a quaint, DIY feel, but the toilets are a bit gross. Host to performances by Oscar and Shura at last year’s Outlines festival, this venue is one to watch as it expands to putting on more shows.
Upcoming gigs: Super Hans DJ Set (13th October), Nai Harvest (15th October)
This is the largest venue on this list and probably the most well-known. Leadmill does not only do great club nights, but it has been influential in shaping Sheffield’s music history. Britpop band Pulp played their first ever gig here in 1980, as the plaque outside the venue states.
The list of Leadmill’s past acts is impressive and it ranges from Coldplay to The Stone Roses. Of course Arctic Monkeys have also played there several times, though not since 2007. Leadmill is the perfect place to see decently famous acts in a venue with more character than some of Sheffield’s larger night clubs.
Upcoming gigs: Drowners (15th October), Hooton Tennis Club (1st November)
The Harley is mostly known for its fantastic club nights, and even better burgers, but on top of this it has put on a range of memorable gigs. Arctic Monkeys have played here in the past as well. Slaves played there last month ahead of their O2 date later this month. The Harley can get very hot and crowded, but that’s part of its charm. However, if you go there to see a smaller band, it has the perfect chilled atmosphere for just standing around with a pint.
Upcoming gigs: Palace Winter (24th and 25th October), Syd Arthur (30th October)
The Rocking Chair
The Rocking Chair stage is downstairs from street level and the small dark venue feels a bit like you’re in a bunker or a cave. The Amazons and Drenge have recently played there, but it also hosts a number of local and up-and-coming bands.
Upcoming gigs: Raglans (18th October), EKKAH (4th November)