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  • “There's always a great atmosphere in here when there's a band playing and have only ever had problems in here once.” in 7 reviews

    Music: Live

  • “Still call it the Carling Academy I love this place its great for a gig!” in 25 reviews

  • “Somewhere between SECC and Barrowlands in my list of favourite venues in Glasgow.” in 12 reviews

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  • 4.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    I love this place for gigs but it's never going to be as amazing as the Barras, that's just a fact. Another fact is that my brain cannot process this is the O2 Academy, it's still very much the Carling Academy to me and probably always will be!

    There's always a great atmosphere in here when there's a band playing and have only ever had problems in here once. My only main issue with the Academy is the ladies. About half an hour or so after doors, they ALWAYS end up disgusting. I had to visit them about halfway through the main set last night to find the only cubicle available at the time had become a vomitorium, although given the amount of empty quarter bottles scattered around I'm not surprised! I know it's always mad busy but if someone was even checking once an hour or so, it'd probably do a lot to improve the situation!

    The discovery of the giant 2 pint tumblers was stumbled upon last night for the first time. I foolishly thought they sounded a good idea until it was plopped on the bar in front of me and my pal burst out laughing. They fill them right to the top the same as the normal pints, but this then makes it a 2 handed business as the big ones are a bit too flimsy to negotiate with one hand until at least about halfway down. In a scale drawing of me last night, I would have looked like a child with a sippy cup. Albeit full of alcohol. They're a good idea if it's completely rammed and you won't get near the bar for an age but I don't really recommend them otherwise. Goes flat v quickly etc. Amusing though!

  • 2.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    Meh, it's ok.  Not my favourite venue in Glasgow.  Not even in my top five - that would be Barrowlands, Garage, ABC, King Tuts and somewhere else that isn't the SECC.  Cathouse!  There you go, top 5.  As the Academy is an old cinema, the hall is longer than it is wide and that makes it more difficult to get a good view.  As a shortarse, I love a concert venue that's wider than it is deep (like the Barrowlands) as the audience seem to spread out a bit or something and you get a much better view.  That's my theory and I'm sticking to it!

    I've done gigs where I've stood up the back at the bar but mostly I go down to the front section and try to see over taller people's shoulders.  Standing upstairs, along the side, you get a really good view but you can't leave your spot otherwise somebody else will nick it.  As the floor isn't sloped, you can't see a thing if you're behind somebody else.  Sitting upstairs is fine if you like sitting at gigs (and you can't stand up because the staff will make you sit down again).

    The beer is extortionate - £4.20 for a pint of Tuborg, £4 if you don't mind Carling.  Total rip off prices.  I'm always happier when bands I like play other venues.

  • 3.0 star rating
    4 check-ins

    Offhand I reckon I've been to about thirty or so gigs here. For me, sound quality means a lot and I've had everything from perfectly acceptable to absolutely terrible.

    Moving around at one recent gig, the sound was poor at floor level, but OK when up a set of steps near the sound deck. The one gig I went to where I was on the balcony, it wasn't too bad.

    Staff are superb, on the whole, but I find it very annoying when I'm taking photos (with a pass / permit) that I have to leave the building to drop my camera off at the box office before re-entering after my last photo session when the headliners are on. It means I miss some of the gig, plus I have to battle through crowds to get my camera back at the end when it would be far easier to leave via the fire exit at the front.

    Full credit, though, to the ShowSec people - a mile ahead of the violent neanderthals who beat up and threatened the crowds at gigs in years gone by (happened to me at Barrowlands in the early 1990s).

    I'm also not a fan of people stood in the toilets selling you toilet paper and cologne. Sorry, but they're utterly out of place as a Killswitch Engage show...

    Oh, and the beer's ridiculously expensive just like it's sister venue across town. Credit for their free supply of drinking water during and after the gig, though.

  • 3.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    Lots count of the number of gigs I've been to here but they all follow a similar pattern.

    The beer is expensive, the queues long, the stewarding around the venue isn't great (although to be fair, it's an old converted building so the layout can't be the easiest to manage) but once a band gets going, all of that is forgotten.

    I've never struggled with the acoustics in here, I've been at the front, at the back, and up on the balcony, it all sounds great and for the most part, if you are smart where you stand, you'll always get a view!

    For me they've never really got the staffing or facilities right but given that it remains one of the more popular venues I don't see anything change anytime soon.

    I'd love to make this four or five stars and, if I was reviewing a band, it probably would but, as a venue, it's good for the music but falls down in too many other areas.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    I came here to see Jimmy Eat World with Laura and a friend.  Jimmy were awesome as per but this is the first time I've been to the O2 in a really long time.  To me it's still the carling and having two venues called the O2 something or other in one city is pretty annoying but what can you do.

    To be honest I didn't really give this place a good going over but the toilets were very clean, although they did have an annoying toilet attendant.  Personally I think all toilet attendants are annoying as I usually piss like a fiend when out and grudge paying money to be handed a paper towel I could get myself.  However, this guy was much more annoying than usual and insisted about rapping, badly, about himself and punanny the whole time. I realise that they probably do make the toilet nicer so they grudgingly do get a pound, but not this guy.

    The floor here is slightly slanted which means you can get a great view even if you're not at the front.  For those who like to stand but not get too close the bar is almost a level above the main floor which offers a good view of the bands and is very spread out letting a lot of people get a decent look.  Lots of bars doted about to so there is no excuse not to drink, except it maybe being a school night which is a sad sad excuse but still a legitimate one.  It's high ceilings stop you from dying of heat exhaustion when you're at the front which to me is a big plus.  Stewards hand out water to which is always nice.

    Great atmosphere and all in all a good place to go and see a gig.

  • 2.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    Strange venue for a gig with standing areas, balconies and huge seated area in the gods.

    Seems it would be much better suited to being a theatre rather than a concert venue.

    Really enjoyed the gig though but it gets incredibly hot.  Almost passed out at the last two gigs I went to there.  

    Air conditioning throughout please!

  • 2.0 star rating
    2 check-ins

    As a venue, it's had better days. The Gents toilet situation is pathetic, for example. Tiny, poorly maintained, and always queued to the rafters. Awful. And I paid 4.95 for a pint of lukewarm Carlsberg. FOUR NINETY FIVE! I only paid for one and never bothered after that..

    I'd much rather go to the Barras than here, but most bands seem to plump for the corporately sponsored shed rather than the superior Barras.

    The queuing situation needs to be addressed. Only telling you when you get to within feet of the front of the HUGE queue that if you have tickets you can go straight in? Horrible. And don't start me on the O2 priority entry system. Horrible thing to do in really cold temperatures like last night...

    It'll do, but there is better in Glasgow.

  • 4.0 star rating

    Having not been to the Barrowlands for quite a while, the Academy has been pretty much the only medium sized gig venue I've frequented in recent times. It's quite cavernous and looks more impressive inside than out, but the acoustics are a bit iffy and the sound has a tendency to disappear upwards into the ether rather than into the crowd.

    Gigs are pretty varied here and it plays host to a lot of big bands as well as the odd club night. The bar is shockingly pricey though but it's what you expect at a gig venue.

  • 4.0 star rating

    I really like the 02 Academy as a gig venue, it has a nice lived in feel that bigger venues such as the SECC just don't have. I've only been to a couple of gigs here, once sitting and once standing. I have to say, the standing experience was much better and there was a great friendly crowd atmosphere with lots of smiling, happy faces.

    02 Academy is also usually a lot cheaper than other gig venues in Glasgow but they still have great acts and as it's smaller there's a nicer more intimate setting. I went to see Bloc Party here years ago and I just remember the light show they put on was even more impressive than the music, it was awesome.

    As well as a gig venue, the Academy is also used as a space for big club nights such as Club Noir and DJ sets.

    I always get really excited when I pass by on the train or bus and can never resist taking a peek to see who is performing, you will often see dedicated fans sitting outside hours before the gig is due to start to ensure that they get a front row space. That is dedication for you, or maybe it's just stupidity.

  • 4.0 star rating

    Formerly known as the Carling Academy before O2 got their claws in, it still hasn't changed much since it opened about ten years ago(?) I might need to verify the exact date, but it feels like it's been open for years and it a good venue to see popular bands in.

    Set in what no doubt used to be either a picture house or theatre, the stage, ceiling and surroundings have the glory of ornate old architecture. Considering it used to host performances in its former life, it stands to reason it would be perfect for gigs, and I always feel as though the acoustics are good.

    It took me a while to warm to this venue as places like the Barrowlands have a long established electric, friendly atmosphere, but I've grown to love the Academy for its own merits. The staff in here are always cool and friendly, you can always get served at the bar (despite the fact it's fairly expensive - but so are all venues), there's plenty room for dancing and the promoters seem to reel in some great artists.

    There's a mezzanine area upstairs if you're wanting to chill out before the show, and seating on the balcony if you don't fancy getting a boogie. Depending on who's playing, gigs can wind on till after 11 and the tickets are usually £20 or under. It's a steal if you manage to catch one of your favourite bands playing in here before they hit the SECC scale of gig, since it's a much more intimate space.  They also put some club nights on - when The Arches was being renovated resident DJ's relocated to the Academy, and it is the venue of choice for burlesque extravaganza Club Noir.

    Overall I'm a big fan, and have managed to secure a dancing space in the front row for many of my favourite bands over the years. I love the fact older buildings like this are now being used as music venues - it seems like a classy, appropriate choice.

  • 3.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    We went to see Chris Moyles Live here on Sunday night. Good gig.
    Have been here many times before and the venue is good but a little tired around the edges with the decor.
    The bars were sponsored by Tuborg beer so that was what they were selling and not much else.
    We got parked easily on the side street by the academy and the place emptied quickly after the gig so that was all good and no crushing.  Mid size venue and they do a fair selection on their line up.

  • 3.0 star rating

    This is a pretty, not too shabby, nae complaints from me place to see a gig. After beginning life a s the Carling academy, a fact that is of little interest to you or anybody else outside a strange Glasgow gig venue related pub quiz and does nothing more than fill in a wee bit more space in a review and make it look like i almost know what i'm doing when in fact i quite obviously don't, the place changed it's name to the 02 Academy and has pretty much done the same as it done before.

    As a venue its pretty cool. Nice old theatre adds to the feel of the event as does the good acoustics, plentiful bars, not nearly plentiful peeing facilities and dodgy area directly outside.

    In a nutshell, not as good as The Barras  (where is?) but a million times better than the SECC. Done, dusted and done again.

  • 4.0 star rating

    A good music venue.

    I go to alot of gigs and immediately after finding out WHO is playing I want to know WHERE they are playing. If it is in here, I don't grumble.

    Most recently went last year to see Massive Attack debut songs from their new album. It was brilliant.

    It can get proper sweaty down front, as with everywhere really and they have decent bars which are pricy. The sound and lighting are really good, with the venue looking far nicer on the inside than you might expect from the interior.

    Moving around when it's packed is a nightmare with these annoying ramps that get you from the tier when you walk in down to the front at the stage. I often make a deliberate shift to the back after a band play their main set in the hope to get out reasonably quick.

    Somewhere between SECC and Barrowlands in my list of favourite venues in Glasgow.

  • 3.0 star rating

    Good: massive interior (a former theatre), loads of room for standing, nicely done up in the actual venue, the sound quality is decent, seems to have a wide and varied mix of artists in the lineup

    Not-so-good: I understand that renovating this place must have been a bit tricky what with it being a former theatre, but the way the bathrooms are positioned is just weird. There are two gents WCs in the immediate entrance, leaving girls to wonder where the women's toilet is (to the left of the stage, if you're wondering...not sure where the others are, though.) And, while on the topic of the women's toilets, they could really see some improvements! They're dirty, probably haven't seen a paint job in years, and have only three stalls in them each (at least the one I was able to find.)

    Another issue is the fact that it gets *super* hot inside. I suppose there's not too much that can be done about that when the place is swimming with people, but still, not exactly conducive to a comfortable couple of hours at a gig.

    The drinks are pretty pricey as well (a tenner for 2), though a pint of Tuborg seems to be the most cheap.

    As well, I found the security members inside a bit off-putting. When my boyfriend was asking where the women's toilet was for me, the security guy first, quite accusatorially, demanded to see his ID "because he looked 19." (He's 25!) Understandable if it's the protocol of your job to be looking for underageds, but the fact that he was needlessly hostile about it when my boyfriend was asking where the toilet was as opposed to causing a ruckus was a bit irritating. At least he directed us to the toilets afterward.

    Overall, the fact that it's so spacious inside JUST makes up for all its faults.

  • 4.0 star rating

    Just on the southside of the river, until recently this was known as the Carling Academy.

    I was lucky enough to go to XFM's Winter Wonderland and got a spot front and centre at the barrier. After having to suffer through Fightstar, Colin McIntyre was pretty good, and headliners Stereophonics were phenomenal, although I am completely biased in their favour. I have to be careful here to keep my review about the venue and not the gig itself!

    But the organisation and staffing seemed very good, more than adequate. A crowd-surfer (who kicked me in the face) was very swiftly and aggressively removed and the bar service was pretty swift.

    Acoustically, the sound seemed good, but I was right at the front and completely smitten so I'm not the best judge!

    In short - better than the SECC, worse than the Barrowlands.

  • 4.0 star rating

    I do love a gig at the O2 Academy.

    Having first been here for an NME tour 5 years ago it'll always hold a special place in my heart... ahem... Anyway, as venues go, it's pretty smart. The massive standing area means that it's never ridiculously crowded, except down at the front (obviously), and the decent numbers of bars mean that you don't have to wait too long for drinks - there's normally loads of staff on anyway.

    The academy is not only host to gigs though, the burlesque style Club Noir nights here are also great fun, and are worth heading to if you've never been.

    All in all, a good venue. Not quite the Barrowlands, but better than the SECC.

  • 4.0 star rating

    As a venue, I absolutely love the O2 Academy, though I must say, I loved it more when it was the Carling. But we'll get to that!

    It's located on the south side of the Clyde, very close to Bridge Street subway station. It's a lovely venue, used to be a cinema back in the day, and is basically like a very big theatre without the downstairs seating. The standing area is huge but not too wide like the Barrowlands, and the crowds tend to be pretty tame in my experience. Prices vary but I think most bands that play here will charge around the £25 mark.

    The bars are pretty expensive - something like £4 for a pint since it became the O2! If you're like me and prefer a wee glass of wine, it's £3.30 which is slightly lower than average.

    Now comes the rant. Since it became the O2 Academy I've been left with a sour taste in my mouth. I went to see Regina Spektor here a few nights ago and although we showed up 35 minutes after opening, they were only granting entry to O2 phone users. They also allow pre-sales for their customers 48 hours before gigs. The way they go about it, leaving everyone else out in 0 degree weather and rain to serve their own, is ridiculous. It doesn't make me want to switch to O2, it makes me want to seek out other venues. As I told my friend, when it was the Carling they didn't give preferential treatment to those who showed up at the door with a Carling tinny in tow. For shame.

    As a venue, though, I think the Academy is cracking.

  • 3.0 star rating
    First to Review

    The O2 Academy (previously Carling Academy) is a good venue for gigs.
    It's big enough to have great acoustics, but also quite intimate. The only thing that bothers us is that it gets REALLY hot in there.

  • 2.0 star rating

    This venue is increasingly getting the gigs that used to be held at the Barras (it has a slightly larger capacity of 2500). Getting served at the tiny bar beside the door is a rage-inducing lottery, but that's a walk in the park compared to trying to listen to a band. Let's just say that if you're one of these fussy people who likes to hear the guitars, bass, drums, vocals, keyboards etc all at the same time, you might get a bit gumpy. And don't get me started on the Slippery o2 Academy Steps of Doom. The Guinness Book of World Records approved "world's largest burlesque club" Club Noir takes place here every few months.

    • Qype User norths…
    • Glasgow
    • 3 friends
    • 78 reviews
    3.0 star rating

    The Carling Academy is quite a new addition to Glasgow's gig scene and unfortunately it is never going to bother the Barrowlands for the title of best venue in the city.

    That's not to say there are some good things about it: downstairs standing usually is the place for a pretty good atmosphere, but upstairs seating is definitely not. The sound is usually good but not always, the worst sound I have heard in 30 years' gig going was when I saw Joss Stone here a few years ago now.

    The balcony booths are good if you are short like me and want a good view, but get there early if you don't want someone standing in front of you.

    If you are sitting upstairs there can be a lot of noise from the bar which can be a huge distraction.

    Overall this is a good venue, a bit soul-less, but it would always get my money over the SECC.

    • Qype User lms198…
    • Glasgow
    • 73 friends
    • 81 reviews
    5.0 star rating

    is great to really get a close up and personal gig from the band that you are there to see.

    It seems to be really intimate and has good acoustics .

    Its also a better sort of musicians who care about there fans who play here.

    If you really love a band and want to see them play i would really recomend you see them here cause you will really enjoy it and it is a lot better than the secc

    • Qype User Lynnie…
    • Paisley, Renfrewshire
    • 11 friends
    • 114 reviews
    3.0 star rating

    Quite a good venue but the carpeted bit is very dated considering its a newish club.

    • Qype User Catsal…
    • Aberdeen
    • 13 friends
    • 77 reviews
    4.0 star rating

    Prefer this to the SECC as have had a better time here and it has more character then other places. Is pretty straightforward to get to as well and brings in big names too.

    • Qype User AlexTg…
    • Edinburgh
    • 2 friends
    • 3 reviews
    4.0 star rating

    I went to the Carling Acadamy (now known as the O2 Academy) for a Club Noir night, which is an ideal venue for this type of event.
    The Club Noir offers themed dressing up and partying nights for open minded people who want to have an un-inhibited fun night with friends or/and a partner. There are organised shows on the night by Burlesque performers as well, which follows the theme of the event. Obsession had been the latest theme night I attended on the 14th February 2009, which covered all your dress up fantasy thoughts, with most of the women sticking to the Dita Von Teese corset and stockings look (very sexy looking women they all were to). The men tend to go for the formal dressed gentleman or military look.
    The Club Noir (which has a dress code) will not be for everyone, but if you are a type of person who likes to get dressed up or being with women in their underwear, drinking lots with friends, and are not narrow minded, then you will like these events.
    Alex. x

    • Qype User little…
    • Glasgow
    • 1 friend
    • 116 reviews
    4.0 star rating

    An old converted theatre now a gig venue in Glasgow. Bigger than the Barrowlands and so lacks some of the atmosphere of it (but it's a hard one to even try and beat!). Is also a bit nightmare to get to the bar or toilets during the gig if like me you have to get as near to the stage as possible so be warned! Overall a nice venue with some good gigs. Also does the odd club night as well.

    • Qype User nicola…
    • Paisley, Renfrewshire
    • 9 friends
    • 145 reviews
    4.0 star rating

    Been to many gigs and nights out here and always had a great time.It is a wee bit out of the way to get to and as there are no real pubs or anything near it can be a bit of a nightmare getting back into Glasgow after a gig if your not driving.This place must have been beautiful in it's day and is still kept very nicely.There is a huge bar at the entrance and drinks are very cheap which is always a good thing.The balcony upstairs has loads of seats if you don't want to stand all night and they also have a wee bar on the upper level which is really nice and cosy.lovely and warm too.Carling Academy also host a burlesque night called Club Noir every few months which is one of the best nights out I've ever been too.Highly recommend it.

    • Qype User PaulGa…
    • London
    • 21 friends
    • 70 reviews
    3.0 star rating

    Went to a few gigs in the here when it was still the Carling Academy and the sound wasn't great and the choice at the bar was poor. The Venue itself is pretty nice and the upstairs bar is decent but there are lots of venues in Glasgow i'd rather go for a gig.

    • Qype User Origin…
    • Edinburgh
    • 1 friend
    • 74 reviews
    4.0 star rating

    I've been going to gigs since I was knee high to grasshopper..fair enough it was big grasshopper.. but the Carling Academy is the close 2nd best venue by far (Barrowlands is still in the number one slot for me). The old theatre original features add a touch of opulance to place but with it's modernised layout and bars, it can't be classed as old fashioned. The staff are friendly and there are always sufficient numbers to ensure that you're not waiting to long at either of the 3 bars. More and more big names are coming to the venue so it's well worth a visit..if you're buying tickets on ticketmaster (other ticket providers are available) select lower standing if you want to be in the thick of it or Balcony booth if you want to have a great view ..without the crowds

    • Qype User Butto…
    • Glasgow
    • 9 friends
    • 20 reviews
    4.0 star rating

    A really nice live music venue on the southside of the river. Lovely decor, friendly staff, good atmosphere. It never seems to take long to get served at the bar, which is always a good thing. The drinks are pretty much what you would expect from a venue i.e. a little overpriced but not too bad. The lower standing area is divided into 3 tiers which makes standing visibility better than in most venues, especially for short dudes who always find themselves surrounded by 6 ft plus folk! Only little annoyance is that there is always a really big que for the girls toiletsother than that, great venue!

    • Qype User booboo…
    • Edinburgh
    • 0 friends
    • 47 reviews
    4.0 star rating

    Brilliant place for a gig. Holds 2500 people which creates a great atmosphere. Well air conditioned to ensure you are not too hot.Good music system and a few sets of toilets available. Four bars are available but unfortunately the beer was not very nice due to some dirty taps. However great gig venue.

    • Qype User WP…
    • Glasgow
    • 0 friends
    • 5 reviews
    5.0 star rating

    Still call it the Carling Academy I love this place its great for a gig! My only complaint would be the heat its the hottest Ive been too. I stand downstairs normally and prefer it that way only been upstairs once it was ok I just prefer to be down on the floor :) I think also the prices for gigs here are reasonable and I will be back again and again for the music.

    • Qype User drgroh…
    • Glasgow
    • 1 friend
    • 112 reviews
    3.0 star rating

    A nice building and a good choice of acts perform here. The drink prices are outrageous though.

    • Qype User spacer…
    • Glasgow
    • 3 friends
    • 58 reviews
    3.0 star rating

    I find the Carling Academy pretty soul-less and kind of clinical compared to its nearest-sized local rival, the Barrowlands. The sound quality isn't as good either. There's standing room downstairs then seating and standing balconies upstairs. Quite a lot of small/medium bands play here. The drinks prices are astronomical so I usually go elsewhere for a few drinks before going here. It's right beside Bridge Street subway so quite easily accessible. I would urge any band to play the Barras instead of the Academy.

    • Qype User pinkuc…
    • Glasgow
    • 2 friends
    • 40 reviews
    3.0 star rating

    An impressive range of acts play at the Carling Academy and with events on nearly every night, there's always something happening. It's only a short walk or bus ride from the city centre, so is very accessible. Most of the events taking place are live gigs finishing at around 11pm, but it also plays host to club nights and dj sets on until 3am, including the extravagant and outlandish Club Noir, a burlesque evening that occurs every couple of months, with showgirls and cabaret. Definitely worth a look, even if it is a bit tacky. The building itself is a converted cinema theatre and retains the original style, including the balcony and boxes, meaning that it is very impressive in appearance. Unfortunately during most of the gigs here revellers drop their empty beer cups on the floor or worse, throw them (not quite empty) into the crowd, meaning it is usually a fairly scruffy venue. So big and so busy that even after the smoking ban people are still often seen lighting up indoors, unnoticed by the overstretched security staff.

    • Qype User Emmz…
    • Glasgow
    • 4 friends
    • 57 reviews
    3.0 star rating

    i loved the carling accademy its small and intimate compared to most venues i got right near the stage at static X concert the only problem was the prices of the drinks, 2 vodka and cokes and a pint of cider was almost a tenner!!:o i almost fainted when he didnt give me much change back but they were very nice people and the sound quality was good and so was the lighting ect

    • Qype User ROCKCH…
    • Inverness, Highland
    • 5 friends
    • 49 reviews
    4.0 star rating

    A large venue, hosts a lot of bands. It has a large balcony as it was a theatre before it was converted into a music venue. I enjoyed my time here the music was good.

    • Qype User jaile…
    • Edinburgh
    • 2 friends
    • 3 reviews
    2.0 star rating

    went to see John Mayer, the queuing system is a farce, especially if you are collecting tickets at the box office.. you wait in the main line for an hour then are transfered to a smaller slower one while everyone behind you gets in first. Ok inside, high drinks prices, too hot and if you are small like me you will not see a thing unless you arrive 3 hours early or get down the front. sound was ok, not great. probably wouldnt go again. but John rocked it!!!!!

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