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Top venues in the Midlands and Shropshire

By Rebecca Stanley | Entertainment | Published:

Here in the Midlands and Shropshire we are spoiled with a range of excellent venues - all hosting a variety of shows.

O2 Academy Birmingham

From comedy clubs to live music pubs, historic halls to gigantic arenas - the region has it all.

How many people can it hold? Where can I get something to eat? Will there be parking? These are just some of the questions we ask of our favourite haunts.

In no particular order, we take a look at the top venues in the Midlands and Shropshire:

Wolverhampton Civic Hall

Wolverhampton Civic Halls

Capacity: 3000

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Who's played there?: Alice Cooper, Motorhead, The Specials, The Who, Black Sabbath, Queen, Elton John, Bob Marley & The Wailers, AC/DC, Eric Clapton, Busted

Cloakroom: Yes

Food and bars: The Civic hall has one bar on each balcony, two corridor bars and one large main bar to the back of the venue. Each bar is fully equipped with a number of ciders, lagers, ales and spirits as well as snacks. The venue is in walking distance of local bars, restaurants and fast food outlets.

Parking: The Civic Centre car park is located opposite the venue and open until midnight on weekends and 8.00pm on weekdays. Parking after 5.00pm is at a fixed rate of £2 with parking before this time ranging from £3 to £12.50. The car park has 330 spaces, is attended at all times and is made safe with CCTV.

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Fun fact: If you look at the white stone on the front of the halls, you can see lots of little fossils.

Shows coming up: Placebo, Goldie, Fleet Foxes, Rag'n'Bone Man, Thunder, Marilyn Manson, Mastodon, Sarah Millican, Russel Brand

O2 Institute Birmingham

O2 Institute

Capacity: 2000(O2 Institute); 600 (O2 Institute2); 250 (O2 Institute3)

Who's played there?: Adele, Twenty One Pilots, Say Anything, Don Broco, Bastille, The 1975, Tom Odell, Chase & Status, Bruno Mars, Panic! At The Disco, Taking Back Sunday, Alkaline Trio

Cloakroom: Yes

Food and bars: Each room has one or more bars fully stocked with a range of drinks. The venue is within walking distance of various fast food outlets and Birmingham city centre filled with different bars and restaurants.

Parking: The O2 Institute does not have a designated car park but is surrounded by free on-street parking. The Bullring car park, with entrances on Smallbrook Queensway and Park Street has dedicated accessible parking bays on level 2 for Blue Badge holders.

Fun fact: The exterior of the venue boasts six hugely impressive figures, which either hold a book, musical instrument or a purse and are all a mighty 1.65 metres tall. The figures were designed by John Evans of Gibbs & Canning, a company that made every statue at the Natural History Museum.

Shows coming up: Bush, Gary Numan, Lethal Bizzle, The Horrors, Sleaford Mobs, Cradle of Filth, Newton Faulkner, Insane Clown Posse, Happy Mondays

Barclaycard Arena - Birmingham

Barclaycard Arena

Capacity: 15,800

Who's played there?: Kiss, The Who, Lionel Richie, Korn, Slipknot, Morrissey, Paul McCartney, Olly Murs, Ariana Grande, One Direction, Fall Out Boy, The Prodigy

Cloakroom: No

Food and bars: The venue has a number of fully-stocked bars as well as quality eateries such as the new Classic Burger Kitchen and Great British Fish & Chips stands. Vending machines are located around the arena for snacks and bottled drinks.

Parking: Parking is available at the Barclaycard Arena and can be pre-booked to avoid waiting. Other nearby options are available, the closest being in Brindley place, which you can access via Sheepcote Street or Cambridge Street, just a quick walk from the Barclaycard Arena. Modern payment kiosks are currently being installed so that patrons can pay using card.

Fun fact: As well as hosting music events, the Barclaycard Arena has hosted over 30 different sports in its time.

Shows coming up: Blondie, John Legend, Lady Gaga, Jamiroquai, Depeche Mode, Bananarama, Enter Shikari, Queen + Adam Lambert, Gorillaz, Steps, Katy Perry

Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall

Wulfrun Hall

Capacity: 1134

Who's played there?: Nirvana, Hole, Radiohead, Blur, Killing Joke, Green Day, Oasis, Muse, Blink 182, Biffy Clyro, Brand New, Billy Bragg, Nickelback, My Chemical Romance

Cloakroom: Yes

Food and bars: The Wulfrun Hall has one bar located to the side of the venue full-stocked with various drinks and snacks. The venue is in walking distance of local bars, restaurants and fast food outlets.

Parking: The Civic Centre car park is located opposite the venue and open until midnight on weekends and 8.00pm on weekdays. Parking after 5.00pm is at a fixed rate of £2 with parking before this time ranging from £3 to £12.50. The car park has 330 spaces, is attended at all times and is made safe with CCTV.

Fun fact: Mark Blackstock, Head of Visitor Economy says: "The Wulfrun was built on the site of the old mortuary."

Shows coming up: Hugh Cornwell, Tom Stade, Rich Hall, Lee Nelson, Sean Kelly and the Stars of Storage Hunters, Sir Ken Dodd, Mr Big, David Baddiel, Dave Spikey

The Buttermarket - Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury Buttermarket

Capacity: 1500

Who's played there?: Kasabian, The Damned, Seth Lakeman, The Wedding Present, From The Jam

Cloakroom: Yes

Food and bars: The Buttermarket has a variety of fully-stocked bars. It is also within walking of Shrewsbury town centre with an array of pubs, bars and restaurants.

Parking: There is limited free on street parking situated outside The Buttermarket.

Fun fact: The Buttermarket holds a rare 12-foot Wurlitzer Organ as well as neo-classical columns and it's original arched cellars from 1835.

Shows coming up: T'Pau, Thai Boxing 2017, An Evening with Bryan Robson OBE

The Robin 2 - Bilston

Robin 2

Capacity: 700

Who's played there?: Dr. Feelgood, Blue Oyster Cult, Half Man Half Biscuit, Slade, Midge Ure, Roy Wood, Magnum, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Terrorvision, Stiff Little Fingers, Reef, Pop Will Eat Itself

Cloakroom: Yes

Food and bars: The Robin 2 has a fully stocked bar that also serves real ale. Hot food is available to eat in or take away including pizza, hot wraps and burgers.

Parking: There is a large car park at rear of venue with lockable height barrier.

Fun fact: At the tender age of 13, Black Country blues sensation Joanne Shaw Taylor played her first-ever show at The Robin

Shows coming up: The Superskas, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Richard Digance, Nik Kershaw, Les McKeown Bay City Rollers, Raymond Froggatt & his band, Boney M

The Slade Rooms - Wolverhampton

The Slade Rooms

Capacity: 550

Who's played there?: Reel Big Fish, Four Year Strong, Gallows, Frank Turner, Charlie Simpson, Hadouken!, Architects, The Fratellis, Miles Hunt, Hatebreed, While She Sleeps, Cadillac Three

Cloakroom: No

Food and bars: The Slade Rooms has a fully-stocked bar complete with drinks and snacks. The venue is also within walking distance of Wolverhampton city centre and a number of bars, pubs and restaurants.

Parking: There are two large car parks to the back of the Slade Rooms both with a fixed-rate payment past 6.00pm. Broad Street car park is opposite the venue complete with CCTV and a fixed evening charge.

Fun fact: The Slade Rooms is named after the Wolverhampton band of the same name - Slade!

Shows coming up: The Dickies, Newton Faulkner, The Quireboys, Jaret Reddick, Cabbage, Daliso Chaponda, Peter Hook & The Light

Birmingham Symphony Hall

Birmingham Symphony Hall

Capacity: 2262

Who's played there?: Tony Bennett, Van Morrison, Chris Rea, Amy Macdonald, LeAnn Rimes, Cyndi Lauper, Chris Cornell, Will Young, Level 42, Steve Harley, Elvis Costello

Cloakroom: Yes

Food and bars: The Symphony Hall has a variety of fully-stocked bars complete with drinks and snacks. The Cafe Bar also offers a range of sandwiches. The venue is within walking distance of various fast food outlets and Birmingham City Centre filled with different bars and restaurants.

Parking: The most convenient car park is the Q-Park Brindleyplace which is free for THSH members. Additional spaces are available in the main pay and display car park underneath the Barclaycard Arena, the Paradise Circus multi-storey car park, and the Cambridge Street car parks. Parking for Blue Badge holders can be arranged in advance.

Fun fact: It is built on rubber pads in the foundations that absorb the vibrations from the trains leaving New Street as they head towards Wolverhampton.

Shows coming up: Keith Emerson, Regina Spektor, Paul Chowdhry, Suzanne Vega, Rob Brydon, Texas, Marc Almond, Stephen Fry, Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra

The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) - Birmingham

The NEC

Capacity: 186,000 square metres, 20 halls

Who's played there?: Def Leppard, Avril Lavigne, McFly, Wet Wet Wet, Stereophonics, Beyonce, Deep Purple, Westlife, The Killers, Tenacious D, Bruce Springsteen, Duran Duran, Rod Stewart

Cloakroom: Dependant on event

Food and bars: Various eating establishments are on hand in the venue such as Starbucks, Subway, J.D Wetherspoon, The Cornish Barkey and many more. Vending machines are available throughout the venue for bottled drinks and snacks.

Parking: The venue has over 16,500 car parking spaces available as well as designated parking areas available for blue badge holders. Parking can be pre-booked before events to avoid queues as well as upgraded to be closer to the venue.

Fun fact: 75% of the UK's population live within a three-hour drive time of the venue.

Shows coming up: Dinosaurs in the Wild, The National Wedding Show, Horse of the Year Show, Grand Designs Live, MCM Birmingham Comic Con, BBC Good Food Show Winter

Genting Arena - Birmingham

Genting Arena

Capacity: 15,683

Who's played there?: Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Elton John, Take That, The Specials, Ariana Grande, Olly Murs, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Kings of Leon, Black Sabbath, Donny Osmond

Cloakroom: No

Food and bars: There's plenty of great food to choose from at the Food Express outlets. From sustainably caught fish and British chips to delicious burgers, and from zesty Old El Paso fajitas to confectionery.l

Parking: The venue has over 16,500 car parking spaces available as well as designated parking areas available for blue badge holders. Parking can be pre-booked before events to avoid queues as well as upgraded to be closer to the venue.

Fun fact: The Genting Arena hosted Black Sabbath’s final ever gig in February.

Shows coming up: G-Dragon, Little Mix, Lady Gaga, Neil Diamond, The Killers, Emeli Sande, James Arthur, Paul Weller, UB40, Steps, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Styles

O2 Academy Birmingham

O2 Academy

Capacity: 3,009 (O2 Academy), 600 (O2 Academy 2), 250 (O2 Academy 3)

Who's played there?: Amy Winehouse, Duran Duran, The Pogues, James, Madness, Kaiser Chiefs, Elbow, Wolfmother, You Me At Six, Paramore, NOFX, Bring Me The Horizon, Fightstar, Sum 41

Cloakroom: Yes

Food and bars: The O2 Academy has a range of fully-stocked bars throughout the venue. It is also within walking distance of Birmingham city centre full of restaurants, pubs, bars and take-away shops.

Parking: There is a variety of free on-street parking surrounding the venue if you manage to get there early. If not, NCP Car Park Birmingham Horsefair is behind the venue and offers the option to pre-book your parking, and even pay by card.

Fun fact: Two Door Cinema Club and Bombay Bicycle Club have both made their way through all the three rooms AND sold out all their shows. Impressive!

Shows coming up: Ne-Yo, New Found Glory, Dizzee Rascal, Bars and Melody, Weezer, Kaleo, Good Charlotte, The Darkness, The Twang, Erasure

The Sunflower Lounge - Birmingham

The Sunflower Lounge

Capacity: 120

Who's played there?: Royal Blood, Dua Lipa, Cabbage, The Front Bottoms, Lemuria, Peace, Wolf Alice, PUP, Paul Beaumont, The Amazons, God Damn, VANT, Allusondrugs

Cloakroom: No

Food and bars: The Sunflower Lounge has an extensive bar as well as a food menu serving an array of tasty treats. The Sunflower Lounge is also within walking distance of Birmingham city centre and all of its restaurants, pubs and take away shops.

Parking: Limited street parking can be found on nearby side streets. Secure parking is available at Birmingham New Street NCP which can be found on St Jude’s Passage.

Fun fact: In January, The Sunflower Lounge played a part of Independent Venue Week's five-day celebration tour.

Shows coming up: Sugarthief, The Borgias, Grumble Bee, Baby Strange, Big Ginger Kid, Together Pangea

The Actress & Bishop - Birmingham

Actress & Bishop

Capacity: 120

Who's played there?: The Wonder Years, Paul Beaumont, Open to Fire, Matt Henshaw, The Cuban Heels, Crimson Star

Cloakroom: No

Food and bars: The Actress & Bishop serves a wide array of spirits and world brews. The venue is within walking distance of the Jewellery Quarter and its amenities.

Parking: Livery Street car park is within five minutes of the venue and offers two hours parking for free.

Fun fact: The Actress & Bishop hosts it's very own regular quiz evenings, as well as live shows.

Shows coming up: The Seagulls, Semantics, And Yet It Moves, Trailer Trash Tracys, Juanita Stein, Sløtface, Little Barrie, Howie Payne, Dan Owen, Sam Hollis & The Glow In The Dark Lizards

The Hive - Shrewsbury

The Hive

Capacity: 105

Who's played there?: Hunter and the Bear, Darwin Detectives, Up Tempo, Martin Simpson, Lady Maisery, Chris Wood

Cloakroom: No

Food and bars: The Hive has its very own cafe with an outdoor area, perfect for summer months. It is also within walking distance of Shrewsbury town centre and it's amenities.

Parking: Restricted on-street car parking is available directly alongside the venue. There are numerous car parks in Shrewsbury, providing in excess of 3000 spaces. Several of these public car parks are located just a short walk and a couple of minutes away from the Hive itself.

Fun fact: The Hive organise funded arts programmes to work with children and young people – some of whom are vulnerable or at risk.

Shows coming up: The Forgotten Tales by Parable Arts, Quartet Montparnasse, Megson, Bella Hardy, Cardboard Fox, Calan

Newhampton Arts Centre - Wolverhampton

Newhampton Arts Centre

Capacity: 250

Who's played there?: Blur, Akala, Ferocious Dog, Martin Simpson, Son Of Dave, Bez, Scott Matthews, Tom McConville, The Skirr

Cloakroom: No

Food and bars: the Newhampton Arts Centre has its own cafe as well as being within walking distance of Wolverhampton centre and its amenities.

Parking: Free parking is available on site and local roads, apart from on match days. Pay and display bays are available at the Molineux Stadium on Waterloo Road.

Fun fact: Britpop icons Blur played an intimate show at the Newhampton Arts Centre in 2015.

Shows coming up: Lucy Spraggan, Flyte, Yak, Clean Cut Kid, The Temperance Movement

The Flapper - Birmingham

The Flapper. Picture by: Robin Hayward

Capacity: 180

Who's played there?: Travis, Editors, Porcupine Tree, A, Crime In Stereo, Pulled Apart By Horses, God Damn, Turbowolf, Peace, Johnny Foreigner, Dinosaur Pile-Up, As It Is

Cloakroom: No

Food and bars: The Flapper has an extensive bar and cocktail menu, as well as being within walking distance to Brindleyplace and Birmingham city centre. The bar also serves an array of pizzas and snacks.

Parking: Limited street parking is available by the venue.

Fun fact: The Flapper was once dubbed "the epicentre of Birmingham's Indie scene" by NME magazine.

Shows coming up: Milk Teeth, Listener, Defeater, A Promise To Forget, Grove Street Families, The Xcerts, Still Remains, Cud

Scruffy Murphy's - Birmingham

Scruffy Murphy's

Capacity: 600

Who's played there?: Frank Turner, Valous, Inca Hoots, Geurilla Monsoon, Mixtape Saints, Adamantium, Toby Michaels Rolling Damned

Cloakroom: No

Food and bars: Scruffy Murphy's serves a variety of food and drinks. The venue is also within walking distance of Birmingham city centre and it's ameneties.

Parking: Free street parking can be found on Digbeth High Street near the venue. There is a NCP car park directly above Scruffy Murphy’s which is accessible via Dalton Street. Also nearby is NCP Birmingham High Street car park. Parking costs £1 per hour.

Fun fact: Scruffy Murphy's are proud to have served a variety of rock legends over the years such as Lemmy, Lamb Of God, members of Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as having regular visits from the members of Naplam Death, Benediction and GBH.

Shows coming up: Selfmachine UK Tour with Evyltyde,

Katie Fitzgerald's - Stourbridge

Katie Fitzgerald's

Capacity: 130

Who's played there?: Danni G, Jonny Cole, Mark Watson, Joe Lycett, Daliso Chaponda, Tanyalee Davis and the Rob Deering

Cloakroom: No

Food and bars: Katie Fitzgerald's serves a range of local brews as well as all popular bar drinks. The venue is within walking distance of Stourbridge centre and all pubs, bars and restaurants.

Parking: Free on-site parking is available at Katie Fitzgerald's

Fun fact: Originally a private house, the building is over 200 years old and has been a pub since the 1830 Beer Act.

Shows coming up: Jonny Cole, Abi Kelsey Band, Teddy Mathews Band, Sally Haines and The Sunshine Band

Glee Club - Birmingham

Oldbury based comedian Andy Robinson in the Glee Club

Capacity: 420 (main auditorium), 150 (studio theatre)

Who's played there?: Lee Evans, Michael McIntyre, Jack Dee, Mumford and Sons, Adele, Boy George, Gary Delaney, Beth Rowley, Robert Webb, Darlingside, Lucy Porter, Jack Whitehall

Cloakroom: Yes

Food and bars: Food and drink are available at the Glee Club, and can be pre-ordered ahead of your visit as well as on the night. The Glee Club is also within walking distance of Birmingham city centre.

Parking: The Arcadian Car Park is located near to the venue and also includes disabled parking access to street level.

Fun fact: When the Glee Club was opened by Mark Tughan in Birmingham in 1994, it was the first dedicated comedy club to open in the UK outside of London.

Shows coming up: Patrick Monahan, Barbara Nice, White Yardie, Tom Stade, Nathan Caton, Luisa Omielan, Lee Nelson, Paul Chowdhry, Joe Lycett

Hare & Hounds - Birmingham

The Hare & Hounds

Capacity: 250 (main room), 150 (seperate room)

Who's played there?: UB40, Darwin Deez, Dr Feelgood, Manchester Orchestra, Twin Atlantic, Band of Skulls, Alt-J, The Front Bottoms, The Menzingers, Jaws

Cloakroom: No

Food and bars: The venue has a fully-stocked bar as well as a diner downstairs that serves food. The venue is located down the road from Moseley and Kings Heath High street and it's amenities.

Parking: Parking is available at the venue but is limited. Free street parking is available in Kings Heath on evenings, with pay and display parking available on Silver Street.

Fun fact: UB40 played their first ever gig at the Hare & Hounds in 1979.

Shows coming up: Terry Hall, Beach Fossils, Misfires, Rationale, Big Thief, Bad Sounds

Mama Roux's - Birmingham

Mama Roux's

Capacity: 300

Who's played there?: Madball, Slaves, Pulled Apart By Horses, Malevolence, The Bad Flowers, InMe, MC Lars, Natives, Astroid Boys, Comeback Kid, Deez Nuts, The Hotelier

Cloakroom: Yes

Food and bars: Mama Roux's is home to Digbeth Dining Club, and thus offers a wide array of delicious street food. The venue also has a fully stocked bar and is in the heart of Digbeth, within walking distance of Birmingham centre.

Parking: There are multiple spaces for free street parking surrounding the venue. Green Parking Ltd. Digbeth Public Car Park is located nearby boasting low rates and late opening.

Fun fact: The venue was born from a love of New Orleans and Deep South American culture.

Shows coming up: The Flaming Lips, Stray From The Path, Coasts, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Agnostic Front, Nasty

Birmingham Town Hall

Birmingham Town Hall

Capacity: 1100

Who's played there?: David Bowie, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Little Walter, Deep Purple, Chuck Berry, T. Rex, Jethro Tull, Procol Harum, The Kinks, Little Richard, Johnny Cash

Cloakroom: Yes

Food and bars: The Coffee Bar in the main foyer opens two hours before a concert. Enjoy free Wi-Fi at Town Hall with any purchase. The Circle and Lower Bars open one hour before a concert. For selected concerts, the Lower Bar remains open post-concert.

Parking: Town Hall multi-storey car park and Holliday Street are both within walking distance of the venue. They both offer disabled access and CCTV coverage.

Fun fact: David Lloyd George was smuggled out of a fire exit in disguise as a policeman after a controversial speech about the Boer War.

Shows coming up: UFO, Heather Small, Justin Hayward, Jason Donovan, Henning Wehn, Matt Lucas, Simon Amstell, Sean Kelly and the Stars of Storage Hunters, Midge Ure

The Asylum Venue - Birmingham

The Asylum Venue. Photo from: www.theasylumvenue.co.uk

Capacity: 600

Who's played there?: Kaiser Chiefs, The Automatic, Of Mice & Men, Pierce The Veil, Motionless in White, Kids in Glass Houses, Trivum, Funeral For A Friend, TRC, Tonight Alive

Cloakroom: Yes

Food and bars: The Asylum has a variety of bars with their very own house blends. The venue is located within St Pauls and it's various amenities.

Parking: There is plenty of lit on street parking directly outside the building and a lit car park located directly opposite the venue.

Fun fact: The venue is home to award-winning club night Total Uprawr and Uprawr studios.

Shows coming up: Young Guns, In Hearts Wake, Blank Parody, Shellac, Mamoriam, Wolfsbane

Nightingales - Birmingham

Nightingales

Capacity: 2000

Who's played there?: Katie Price, Lucy Spraggan, Alexandra Burke, Alaska 5000, Kim Chi, Katya, Trixie Mattel, Naomi Smalls, Thorgy Thor

Cloakroom: Yes

Food and bars: The venue has a variety of fully-stocked bars, as well as being situated near Chinatown and Birmingham city centre

Parking: Hurst Street Car Park is close to the venue and offers safe, well-lit parking bays.

Fun fact: The venue was one of the first in Birmingham Gay Village, along with the Windmill bar. This expanded in the 1970s.

Shows coming up: Pearl, Sasha Velour, Nadia Rose, Gemma Collins

Wolverhampton Racecourse

Wolverhampton Racecourse

Capacity: 25,000 (outdoors), 600 (indoors)

Who's played there?: Madness, Busted, Slade, UB40, Scouting for Girls, The Searchers

Cloakroom: No, though a recently refurbished Holiday Inn Hotel is on hand for the option to stay at the venue.

Food and bars: Wolverhampton Racecourse offer a choice of menus, from simple finger buffets to formal dining options. Various bars are located around the venue to cater to all tastes.

Parking: The venue has 1500 free parking spaces .

Fun fact: In 1994, HRH Queen Elizabeth II re-opened the new Wolverhampton Racecourse

Shows coming up: The Human League, The Renault Wolverhampton Family Fun Day, Caribbean Party Raceday, Qatar Airways Ladies Day

Rebecca Stanley

By Rebecca Stanley
@becci_native

Entertainment journalist for Native Monster, Express & Star & Shropshire Star. Contact me: rebecca.stanley@nativemonster.co.uk

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