Feel the Rhythm – Get to Know the Country

Feel the Rhythm – Belfast Music City

The Belfast Empire Music Hall – Belfast has a thriving music scene. Photo Courtesy: i.telegraph.co.uk


Want to get to know the place you’re travelling to faster than reading the obligatory guide or over-engineered book? Listen the country’s heartbeat.


Don’t Overlook the Local Passion


Many countries and cities have unique elements to them that get stereotyped / used as an image of that place and it’s people. However, the local passion for music is often overlooked. Take Belfast for example. It has a thriving music scene and no matter what type of music you enjoy, you are sure to find a venue in the city that features it.  Everything from traditional Irish music to rock and roll can be enjoyed and there are some fantastic live music venues to boot.


Places of Cultural Expression – Belfast

Below are five of the most renowned live music venues in the city where live, well known musicians and bands can be seen throughout the year.


The Belfast Empire Music Hall


Located on Botanic Avenue, the Belfast Empire Music Hall (picture on top) is widely believed to be the best live music venue in the city.  Originally a church, the hall is now home to regular live gigs by some of the best bands and musicians around as well as regular comedy shows.  The hall opened its doors way back in 1987 and since then has had many a famous foot pass through it.  Some of the most renowned bands to have played here include Snow Patrol, Lambchop, REM and Ash and the hall is also a popular hotspot with many local bands that play regular gigs to loyal fans.  Salsa nights, pub quizzes and live football can also be enjoyed during the week.


Black Box


Feel the Rhythm – Black Box

Photo Courtesy: Steve Graham


Black Box is located in the Cathedral Quarter of the city and has the capacity to host everything from a small poetry recital to a large music gig.  Although not your standard live music venue, Black Box is a popular venue especially with the locals mainly due to its laid back atmosphere and non-pretentious setting which is hard to find in a live music venue these days.  Events here change regularly so be sure to check out their official website for information about what is on during the time of your visit.


Ulster Hall


 Feel the Rhythm – Ulster Hall

Photo Courtesy: William Murphy


Located in the heart of Belfast on Bedford Street, Ulster Hall is a true treasure in Northern Ireland.  Originally built in 1862, this is one of the oldest live music venues in the city and one of the most popular.  A variety of top acts have performed here over the years including Kasabian, Elton John and the Rolling Stones.  Machine Head and the Lost Prophets are set two be two of the major gigs this year.  The Hall also plays home to a number of comedy and literary nights so you are sure to find a performance that interests you.


Belfast Waterfront


Feel the Rhythm – Belfast Waterfront

Photo Courtesy: William Murphy


Belfast Waterfront is, yep you’ve guessed it, situated on the waterfront.  It is a short walk away from Belfast Central train station and makes a great venue for a night out with friends.  The venue is home to a number of different acts including music gigs, psychic nights and comedy shows and has been host to many a popular band.  Some of the most well-known artists to have played here include Tori Amos, Van Morrison, Tom Jones and Ronan Keating.  Established in 1997, Belfast Waterfront has also welcomed many famous visitors including the Dalai Lama, Bill Clinton and the Prince of Wales.


The Limelight


The Limelight is a popular live music venue located on the corner of Ormeau Avenue in the city.  This is the place to go if you like rock and indie music and the venue has been host to a number of bands over the years including Oasis, The Arctic Monkeys, Primal Scream, The Scissor Sisters, Franz Ferdinand, Blur and the Manic Street Preachers.  A variety of popular bands are playing at the venue in 2012, amongst them Katatonia and Machine Head – tickets are still available for most events.  The venue also plays host to a number of club nights throughout the week.


You’ve Got to Love the Locals


If (for some reason) you can’t get to any of these magnificent venues, take in a street performance or two. No – not some guy sprayed silver, standing still for ages but, a genuine member of the public knocking out a traditional tune. These are not the usual type of alfresco musicians – people actually want to stand round, listen – join in with the tune being distributed to shoppers, tourists and passers-by. You can’t deny the feel-good-factor you will have after taking in this pleasure.

If you are planning on visiting one of the music venues above you might want to book your Belfast accommodation close-by.  This will enable you to have fun on your night out and leave you free from the stress of navigating the city streets after dark.

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