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Hostel-shower acoustics can only go so far and those boxed-in music venues aren’t any better. If you like your tunes live and loud, these spots turn the decibels way up. Pack a lighter, hop on the OTP tour bus and raise a bottle to toast the Top 10 Coolest Music Venues Around the World.
As intoxicating as the hardcore Irish Whisky they make on-site, Slane Castle has served as Ireland’s biggest outdoor venue since the big hair days of 1981. Situated along the River Boyne (about an hour outside of Dublin), the castle grounds form a natural amphitheater with room for 80,000 loyal subjects. The potential for massive crowds attracts big-name bands, and Slane keeps it loud with studio-quality sound. Don’t try to sneak in by swimming across the Boyne, though—plenty of tune junkies have failed trying to get that hit of free music.
Formerly techno-king Tresor, this 250,000 square foot ex-power plant is Berlin’s new hotspot for underground music. Modem once pumped electricity to all of East Berlin, but a lineup of world-class dj’s now light up crowds to dance like they’re stomping down that wall all over again. Avoid dead air between sets by exploring the random control rooms and Cold War contraptions lining the walls.
Mother Nature apparently knows a thing or two about cool music venues. Not only is Red Rocks an incredible park, it’s a naturally occurring amphitheater that hosts sick performers spanning all genres, from the Flaming Lips to Kenny Chesney. This Colorado stage is sandwiched between two 300-foot sandstone rocks, making these vibrating acoustics the best sound-stress your eardrums will ever have to endure. The scenery and the sound make Red Rocks a prime candidate for live CD and DVD releases, so get your 15 minutes of fame by maintaining that painful scream, even during silences.
Festhalles (festival halls) are all over the country, but Frankfurt outfests the best fest in Germany. When this shit was built over a century ago, it had the largest dome in Europe and these days, the Willy Wonka glass ceiling is all the rave. This festhalle isn’t hip to security, so feel free to sneak in your own food and booze.
Ahoy party people! Docked in Budapest’s cold Danube waters, head-bobbers, booty-shakers and fist-pumpers get in the groove seven nights a week on the lower deck of the A38, an old boat that used to haul coal. Once you’ve got your sea-legs and your stomach starts to growl, hit up the top deck restaurant. Their signature rooster stew is mixed with little tiny bird balls—just in case the party on a mother-fucking boat wasn’t crazy enough.
This award-winning arts building is to Australia what the Eiffel Tower is to France. Don’t let the fancy-pants name fool you—the Pussycat Dolls are as likely to play this venue as Mozart wannabes. The Opera House pleases a variety of music-munchers by hosting a wide range of performances and events in tons of different rooms, halls and theaters. The many bars, cafes and restaurants on the complex grounds are great places to sloppily stuff your face while gracefully patronizing “The Opera.”
This 19th century church in Amsterdam traded God for sex, drug and rock n’ roll hell in 1967. We have a group of squatting hippies to thank for this sinfully superior transformation. Today, the Paradiso packs three solid floors of counterculture and is the promised land for artists like Arcade Fire and TV on the Radio.
Located on the grounds of the 2012 Olympics, the O2 Arena is Madison Square Garden’s British cousin, bringing home the gold for massive crowds of 20,000. Once the dilapidated Millennium Dome, the O2 is now the most popular music venue in the world, with queens like Britney, Rihanna and Katy Perry reigning on high.
Summertime in Sweden can be sound-tracked at the Dalhalla amphitheater. Dalhalla was the Norse equivalent of Greek Olympus, and the namesake for this limestone venue that sits atop Lake Siljan. A rockin’ place made entirely of rocks, the crowd at Dalhalla is separated from the stage by a thin moat, so bring a board if you intend to crowd surf.
Once dominated by a cheesy Hard Rock Café franchise, Mumbai’s live music scene leapt to new heights with the Blue Frog. Catch some authentic Indian performances, or hit up a show featuring top-name international dj’s such as Armin van Buuren or Infected Mushroom. When you’re all hopped-out on the dance floor, take a breather on their lilypad-like lounge seating.
A great venue (amongst other things) highly enhances the live music experience. Indoors, out on land or water, these places make even the shittiest performances sound decent—regardless of what song you get stuck in your head for the walk home.