They Played WHERE? The Strangest Gig Locations Ever

30 January 2017, 17:25 | Updated: 17 January 2019, 17:25

Venues are soooo last year. Here's our list of some of the strangest places bands have performed.

The Beatles - Apple Records Rooftop, 1969

When the Fab Four congregated in London to rehearse songs for a TV special in January 1969, the idea was that they'd play an exotic location: maybe a cruise ship or an ampitheatre in Africa. Then they got more realistic and thought about hiring the Roundhouse in Camden. In the end, apathy got the better of them and they just went up onto the roof of their offices in Savile Row, Mayfair. The brief lunchtime show saw the police being called and set the template for every other rooftop performance since.

Sex Pistols - Chelmsford Prison, 1976

Sex Pistols weren't the first musical act to play in a prison - Johnny Cash was fond of showing up to entertain the inmates - but they were certainly one of the more bizarre examples. On 17 September 1976, the group performed at Chelmsford prison. They didn't even have a record out and the prisoners were bemused by the primeval racket they came out with. The gig was later released as a bootleg LP, complete with overdubbed dialogue designed to make it sound like John Lydon was inciting a riot. 

Metallica - Antarctica, 2013

In 2013, Metallica made the Guinness Book Of World Records by being the only band ever to play all seven continents on earth in a year. It's quite a feat, and James Hetfield said “We were literally at the bottom of the earth for one of the most unique, special and unforgettable days in our 30+ years as a band." You'd certainly need your wellies there.

Kraftwerk - The Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, 2013 

Who else could play the iconic room in London's Tate Modern than Kraftwerk? Their name means "power plant" in German and their electronic soundscapes filled the former Bankside power station perfectly. And if that wasn't enough, the whole thing was in 3D! Cushions were supplied for extra comfort on the cold, concrete floor.

The White Stripes - Eastview Bowling Alley in Saskatoon, 2007

For reasons still unclear, Jack and Meg White decided to play a fifteen minute set to around 300 people in 2007 at a bowling alley. Although White said almost nothing to the audience, he did throw a couple of balls (first was a gutter, awkward). 


Rage Against The Machine outside Wall Street, 1999

For the video to their song Sleep Now In The Fire, Rage employed the famous documentary maker Michael Moore, who decided that the clip should be shot "in the belly of the beast" to reflect the lyric about greed. This meant the band performing an impromptu gig outside the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. As crowds started to gather, the doors to the Stock Exchange were closed and when the band and the film-makers tried to enter the building, the NYPD stepped in. They can't handle the truth! 


The Weezer Cruise, 2014

Back in February, you could have gone on a cruise with Weezer! Imagine that. What fun you could have! Plus, it's wasn't just them, the 2014 jaunt saw The Cribs, Cat Power, Palma Violets and Ash all play too. 

Presidents Of The United States Of America - Mount Rushmore, 1996

Back in the mid-nineties irreverent rockers Presidents Of The United States set out on, as you can imagine, a pretty raucous tour. It saw them play the greatest possible venue for them ever - Mount Rushmore. The Presidents Of The United States played in front of the presidents of the United States.

Foo Fighters - on a truck by a Westboro Baptist Church picket line, 2011

The controversial religious group got the Dave Grohl treatment in 2011. As the Westboros staged a protest outside a Foo Fighters show in Kansas City for apparently refusing to use their fame against the spread of "fornication, adultery, idolatry [and] fags",  Grohl and co pulled up in front of them on the back of a truck. Dressed as flamboyant hillbillies, the band performed their song Keep It Clean (Hot Buns), which extols the virtues of "man muffins." Good work Big Dave.