O2-academy-crowd From the gigantic glory of The O2 in London to more intimate spaces like the O2 Academy Glasgow, O2 venues have an absolute banquet of brilliant bands and artists on offer during 2011. We’ve picked out 10 unmissable gigs to get your year off with a bang.

To help you fill in your gig-going schedule, we’ve selected 10 great gigs from all over the country. What’s more, they’re all happening before the summer. From the unalloyed pop of Glee to the solid rock of The Hold Steady and the Adidas Classics-clad hip hop of The Streets, it’s a fine selection. Read on and get ready to rock!

January 11: Manic Street Preachers with British Sea Power and Romance @ O2 Academy Brixton 

Once the young punks of British music, the Manic Street Preachers are now the old warhorses of British music. Fresh from a confusing appearance on Strictly Come Dancing, they’ll hit the O2 Academy Brixton to play the classics and songs from their most recent record Postcards From A Young Man. 

February 1: Band of Horses with Mojave 3 @ O2 Academy Manchester 

The American indie rock five piece have been gaining a steady following over three studio albums culminating with 2010’s Grammy nominated Infinite Arms. Combining their tear jerking indie rock anthems with the drone of British shoegazers Mojave 3 makes for an intriguing combination at the O2 Academy Manchester. 

February 11: The Hold Steady @ O2 Academy Birmingham 

Like Band of Horses, The Hold Steady have slowly but surely built up a UK fanbase for their traditional rock that recalls bands like Thin Lizzy and The Rolling Stones. You can expect raucous entertainment when their tour reaches the O2 Academy Birmingham. 

February 21: The Streets @ O2 Academy Liverpool 

Preparing to promote his final album as The Streets, Computers And Blues, this is part of Mike Skinner’s farewell tour. With five albums of pop hip-hop hits to draw upon and seriously honed crowd pleasing skills, Skinner should deliver a great night.  

February 25: Ben Folds @ O2 Academy Glasgow 

The ivory-tinkling pop purveyor has a big selection of tunes to choose from and a famously energetic performance style. A great one to check out if you’re a fan of classic Elton John and American indie rock. 

March 10: The Decemberists @ O2 Academy Manchester 

The Decemberists make pop songs that tell stories in the way Bob Dylan once did. Their picaresque tales of odd folk in odd situations are charming and likely to fill O2 Academy Manchester with ideas and images. 

March 16: Primal Scream present Screamadelica Live @ O2 Academy Newcastle 

Still getting their rocks off after all these years, Primal Scream are celebrating their classic Screamadelica album by playing the whole thing in its entirety. If you’re a fan of the band and that enduring bunch of songs then this is definitely an unmissable gig. 

April 14: Lykke Li @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire 

Lykke Li is one of the most interesting female pop stars going and was creating perky, quirky pop music before Lady Gaga discovered hair dye. It’s bound to be lively in the fairly intimate surroundings of O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. 

May 11 – 18: Roger Waters – The Wall: Live @ The O2  

While the Pink Floyd name is the subject of long-running disputes, there is little argument that The Wall was the product of Roger Waters’ fertile imagination. Expect a visual and audio extravaganza at the O2 with the distinct possibility that his former-bandmate and sometime foe David Gilmour might rock up too. 

June 25, 26, 28, 29: Glee Live! In Concert! @ The O2 

Glee is a full on phenomenon and whether you’re a secret Gleek or have a missus or daughter who is, it’s inescapable. Glee Live! In Concert! will include performances of Empire State of Mind, Toxic, My Life Would Suck Without You and the ubiquitous Glee anthem Don’t Stop Believin’. 

Will you be heading to an O2 gig this year? Let us know which one in the comments below.

Image by Fictional Future

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