Around the UK in 80 Venues: O2 Academy Brixton
Location: 211 Stockwell Road, London, SW9 9SL
Come to see: Bands on the last rung before they fly into fully-fledged arena territory. The venerable Academy is the biggest non-arena venue in London, so it's often the last chance to see a band in a reasonably intimate environment before you're reduced to squinting at the bass player from your perch in Row Z. In the past the Academy has seen everyone from Radiohead to the Smiths, Foo Fighters to Franz Ferdinand, Marilyn Manson to Manic Street Preachers, Pavement to Madonna.
The atmosphere: Grand. Originally a cinema, the Academy has a full proscenium arch and grand facades – they really don't make them like this anymore. The sloping floor means there's good sightlines everywhere in the stalls.
You saw them here first: The Academy isn't the place you go to to see an up-and-coming band fresh from their first single. From here, the jump is to Wembley Arena, Earl's Court or the 02 Arena.
Claim to fame: Madonna played here in 2000 here to launch her album 'Music.' What made it so special was Madge wasn't actually on tour at the time -- the gig was a one-off. Since Madge had long since been playing stadiums, this was an all-too rare opportunity to see her in a venue with roof.
The Smiths bowed out with a show here in December 1986. Pavement also played their lost show here in 1999; until, that is, their reformation was announced this year. In 2010, the band have been booked to play four nights in May on their reunion tour.
A few dozen