When it comes to live music in Leeds, at the forefront of all the action is the O2 Academy, which is a regular host for many of the worlds most revered music acts as well as being a popular spot for weekend clubbers.
Located on Cookridge Street, The O2 Academy Leeds is slap bang in the city centre next to Millennium Square, boosting its likeability before we even get inside. The building that houses all the goings on is in fact a former Town and Country Club, boasting a church-like aesthetic and being treasured in the city as a listed building. The O2 Academy opened at the site in 2008 and since then a huge number of both world-renowned and local up and coming acts have played in the spacious main room. Acting as the primary space for the majority of its events, the main room holds a hefty 4000 people and features a large stage, surrounded by an abundance of metal rigging that holds the lighting used for the shows. The dance floor is very spacious, stretching to the rear bar and can accommodate a sea of swaying hands or more than a few mosh pits, depending on what you’re there for. There is also a second balcony tier for seated guests who would prefer to take a back seat but still enjoy the show.
There are three bars in the main room at various points, with corridors down either side, both leading to either end of the room, allowing you to get from one point to another with ease. The PA that towers above the dance floor in the main room is a state of the art system, which mirrors that of the lights and control systems that lie towards the rear of the room. Downstairs and the live music venue feel is replaced with an underground club. Columns dotted around the room meet a disco panel on the roof of the space that changes colour in time with the music. Glossy surfaces and backlit bars give the room a contemporary look, which suits the sounds that are usually heard here very well.
The O2 Academy in Leeds holds a variety of events through the year, most of which involve big name artists and groups coming to play special one off dates in the city. Recently, the likes of Public Enemy, Katy B, New Found Glory, Buzzcocks, Steven Segal’s Blues Band, Jimmy Cliff and Saxon have all been announced to be playing headline gigs at the O2 Leeds before Christmas, adding to a number of already impressive dates. Tickets for these events can be bought by clicking here.
As well as shows dedicated to one or two performers, the O2 are also involved in the annual festival Live At Leeds, where a number of venues host several reputable and up and coming bands who play throughout the day over the space of a weekend. Past acts that have played at Live at Leeds include the likes of James Blake, Mumford & Sons, Ed Sheeran, London Grammar, Kodaline and Jake Bugg.
When the live shows come to an end, that doesn’t mean the O2 Academy Leeds is done for the evening as the venue also host a number of popular club nights. During the weekend, events such as Pet Sounds and Digital Society take place on a regular basis. Pet Sounds is the weekly rock and indie night that attracts thousands of clubbers all year round. With anthems on in the main room and electronic beats radiating from downstairs it attracts an array of people who are all there to unite and dance the night away. Weekly Pet Sounds Tickets are also available from Ticket Arena. In a similar fashion, Digital Society is one of the leading trance brands in the UK, and occasional events at The O2 Academy invite acts such as Gareth Emery, Paul Van Dyk, John O’Callaghan, Ørjan Nilsen, Cosmic Gate and Aly & Fila to name a few. Looking towards drum & bass, Hospitality is another world-renowned brand that regularly hosts events at the O2, past seeing guests such as High Contrast, Andy C and Logistics.
O2 Academy Leeds Tickets can be bought from Ticket Arena. To purchase O2 Academy Leeds Tickets click here.
Words by Josh Plews
Images courtesy of Ed Fielding, O2 Academy Leesd