City comes alive as the lights go down

27 February 2018

From Dave Stewart to Emilie Sande, from Lauren Laverne to The Toy Dolls – no matter what your taste in music, Sunderland has impeccable credentials. It’s not just the fact that the Stadium of Light has played host to some of the biggest acts on the planet – think One Direction, Rihanna and Coldplay to name but a few – that makes the city a musical Mecca.

Hardly a week goes by when there isn’t some opportunity to enjoy live entertainment in the city centre and, while it may not always be provided by chart topping acts, there are still plenty of options for a great night out – and to even catch a possible star of the future.

A case in point is The Independent at Holmeside. It’s one of the city’s leading live music venues and has played host to some huge names, including Kasabian, the Kaiser Chiefs and The Maccabees. With an obvious eye for up and-coming talent, it’s a great place to pop in and see a huge variety of music styles. And think of the dining out story you’ll have when you can boast of who you’ve seen on their rise to stardom.

For the past 30 years Sunderland has also been the home of The Bunker, where would-be musicians have learned their craft and has become a breeding ground for talent. And not too faraway, in the former ABC Cinema, is The Point, which has also become a venue for everything from funk performances to leading tribute acts. One of the newest kids on the block is The Peacock, which uses its upstairs room as the perfect backdrop for live music and comedy nights.

In fact The Peacock is one of a whole host of city centre pubs which offers live entertainment. Its sister venue, The Dun Cow along with The Lambton Worm, Green and Chaplins all play host to music evenings, some of which also offer an opportunity for would-be performers to earn their stripes.

One of the new kids on the block, the recently opened Bonded Warehouse at Wylam Wharf, is also planning live music sessions on a regular basis. And of course not all performance spaces are the obvious, conventional choices. Sunderland’s Minster also holds concerts and offers a chance to listen to music in unique surroundings.

Sharon Appleby, Head of BusinessOperationsatSunderland BID, believes the city’s music scene is going from strength to strength.“It’s goof news that we've got so much home grown talent and a range of platforms that would-be performers can appear at," she said.

“Sunderland has a long legacy of being linked with theperforming arts through places like the Empire Theatre but now there's also a huge number of other otpions places like the Empire Theatre but now there’s also a
huge number of other options for people to enjoy live entertainment.”

She added, “over the last few years we’ve had events like Sunniside Live – which the BID supports – and also serves the purpose of bringing music fans into the city from outside of the area, giving us the opportunity to showcase what we have to offer.”