After an exciting day discovering from the most important monuments to the charming little corners of the city, a great way to end the day is to enjoy it with good music. Barcelona is internationally renowned as a vibrant city with some of the best nightlife in Europe. The major names in music make a stop in their tours and there is also a wide offer of fresh local talent.
If you get a chance, plan ahead and check whether there are any of your favourite bands or artists playing in one of the hundreds of venues in town during your visit. It could be a night to remember.
From all the concerts in Barcelona, here is a list of my favourite places. With a touch of all kinds of styles, you are sure to find your plan!
Gran Teatre del Liceu
Gran Teatre del Liceu –or simply ‘Liceu’-, is Barcelona’s opera House. Since it was opened in 1847 it has staged some of the finest international productions featuring some of the world’s most renowned singers and conductors. Its spectacular Auditorium and other spaces have made it one of Barcelona’s landmarks and an essential place to visit.
A terrible fire on January 31st, 1994 destroyed almost the stage and Auditorium. It took more than five years to rebuild the Liceu. The project was inspired on the basis of a pre-existing Refurbishment and Enlargement Project, drawn up in 1986 by Ignasi de Solà-Morales with later input (1986) from Xavier Fabré and Lluís Dilmé. The new theatre looked very much like its predecessor but was endowed with state-of-the-art technical equipment and enlarged by taking over adjoining lots on the Rambla. It opened its doors on 7 October 1999.
Apart from the most known opera’s in history, in the last years Liceu offers a wide choice of music styles. It is not strange to see that on a Monday you can see ‘La Traviata’ and then on Friday vanguard artist Björk is scheduled.
Palau de la Música Catalana
Palau de la Música Catalana is one of the most important buildings of Catalan Art Noveau. It was designed by Lluís Domenèch i Montaner (Gaudí wasn’t the only genius in this style) and built between 1905 and 1908 as a home for the Orfeó Català chorus, and financed by popular subscription.
From all the concerts in Barcelona, the Palau de la Musica will give you a double privilege: a setting with excellent acoustics and a wide variety of artist, groups and orchestras and to be inside of an architectural jewel. A magic music box which brings together all the decorative arts: sculpture, mosaic, stained glass and ironwork.
This gorgeous building is the only concert hall to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (since December 1997), and represents an essential landmark in the cultural and social life in Barcelona and Catalonia. It is also a symbolic emotional heritage for a whole people who identify with its history. A perfect example is the Cant de la Senyera, the hymn of Orfeó Català, and the anual concert of Sant Esteve (Boxing Day) at the Palau, as you can see in the following video.
- Must See: Barcelona Guide Bureau offers a special guided tour inside Palau de la Música during daytime, when the sun light floods into the hall and the colours and reflections give an outstanding view for incredible pictures. This tour it is also the only way to go out to the famous balcony with flowered columns. You will even have the chance to a short demonstration of the Palau’s organ.
Jamboree Jazz Club
Jamboree, which means ‘tribal reunion’ in Zulu language, is one of the city’s jazz landmarks, largely responsible for bringing famed jazz musicians to Barcelona. Next to Las Ramblas, and as one of the city’s most culturally active spots, the club is also an essential element of Plaça Reial nightlife. Every night, the cave-like Jamboree hosts jazz, Latin or blues gigs by mainly Spanish groups – on Mondays, in particular, the outrageously popular WTF jazz jam sessions is crammed with a young local crowd. Its location alone makes this music club a must-visit for Barcelona night owls! Upstairs, you can find ‘Los Tarantos’ which stages flamenco performances and then becomes a club with pop, rock and indie music till it closes.
Opened in 1973 under the name of Zeleste and located in the heart of the ‘industrial and cool’ district of Poblenou, Razzmatazz is the flagship of the area, packed with bars and clubs. From 2000, Razzmatazz (named as a tribute to a song of the British indie band Pulp) focusses its offer on electronic, indie and underground music, but is always flexible to include other styles. The club is divided in five spaces: you can hear indie rock in ‘Razz Club’, tech-house in ‘The Loft’, techno pop in ‘Lolita’, electro pop in the ‘Pop Bar’ and electro rock in the ‘Rex Room’. In addition to DJ sessions, the club stages live concerts on a regular basis.
In fact, almost everyone has played there, from Arctic Monkeys to Bananarama. The price of admission will usually get you into all five rooms (no matter what’s on in each) and, for sure, you will find your favourite corner there. The gigs are normally ticketed separately, but afterwards you can stay and enjoy the night.
An historic venue for over 25 years, this club has been a staple of Barcelona’s music scene. Apolo has actually two spaces: Sala Apolo –also called Nitsa Club on weekends-, a beautiful old 1940’s dancehall with red lights, crushed velvet and old banquettes around the edge of the dance floor. An incredible scenario which can hold from rock n’roll to electro-dance shows.
Then you have Apolo 2, a more modern space but smaller that Sala Apolo, great to enjoy DJ’s and live acts and a great chance to discover new talents.
- Check!: The shedule that Sala Apolo has dedicated to a style of music depending of the day of the week. You have from ‘Nasty Mondays’, with a wide mix of styles and genres as diverse as Rock, Pop, Indie, Garage, Electro Rock to ‘Cupcake’, on Thursdays, with and unforgettable review of the most memorable dance singles from the 70’s, 80s, 90s to 2000’s. Epic!
Opened on 22 March 1999, L’Auditori is a modern building of 42,000 square metres designed by the architect Rafael Moneo. It has three different spaces. The biggest hall is named ‘Pau Casals’, after the prestigious cellist and conductor. The hall has 2,200 seats and is usually used for symphony orchestras performances. With a capacity of 600, Hall numer 2, ‘Oriol Martorell’, is normally used for performances of chamber music ensembles. There’s a third space, ‘Tete Montoliu’ to honor the worldwide know pianist jazzman considered a multipurpose hall with capacity for 400 people . Last but not least, ‘Alicia de Larrocha’ hall , has 150 seats and a 80 square metre stage, and it was contrived to hold small concerts , closer to experimentation and new creation.
In the same musical complex, there are the centres of the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona (OBC), the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC) and the Museu de la Música. This fact makes the Auditori a focus of musical life in the city in the different fields of divulgation, teaching and research.
Visit ‘L’Auditori’ is also a fantastic chance to pamper your sense of hearing. The acoustics of the halls has been carefully studied within the project by the specialised engineer Higini Arau, so it’s really worth to join a concert there to live the experience.
Experts say that Catalan Rumba is the only music style created in Europe on the Twentyeth century. The gipsy community located in the district of Gràcia, in Barcelona, originated this rythmical music, with a base defined by two different percussions: the “ventilador” (fan) and the “martell” (hammer). No drums involved: The “ventilador” consists on a peculiar way of playing the Spanish guitar, clapping wthe hand against the box of the instrument while playing the chords at the same time. The “martell”, on the other is the basic rhythm of Caribbean bongo playing. Therefore, Catalan Rumba, which started as an improvisation in gipsy parties, evolved to a style of music itself.
After hard-times from the 60’s to 80’s, which included a confusion with Spanish- Flamenco style, the revival arrived during the nineties. Great success of Southern-french band Gypsy Kings and the Barcelona Olympic Games of 1992 marked the rumba resurgence with an important presence at the closing ceremony. The band Los Manolos played its song ‘Amics per sempre’ (originally ‘Friends for Life’, written by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Donald Black) together with its rumba version of the Beatles song ‘All my loving’. Peret, considered one of the fathers or La Rumba also came back to the stage, with a song dedicated to Barcelona ‘Gitana Hechicera’ (“Gypsy Sorceress”).
Find the essence of this style is one of the main goals of La Rumbeta, a club which offers concerts and a really good time!
Did you find your plan?
There is so much going on in Barcelona it is sometimes a challenge to find your best plan. Checkout here for the top concerts in Barcelona.