ShortList recently visited Belfast in the run-up to the recent MTV European Music Awards, and took in some of the events of Belfast Music Week, which preceded the main event and aimed to showcase Belfast's hidden cultural treasures, and up-and-coming talent.
We give you a guide to the 5 best music venues in the Old Smoke.
1. The Spring & Airbrake
Part of the Limelight complex, the Spring & Airbrake is a relatively new venue, but already boasts an impressive history of acts to have graced the stage. A versatile venue capable of hosting established acts but also newcomers, this is the place to go for the next big thing in indie and rock.
2. Black Box
A small and intimate venue in the heart of the city's Cathedral Quarter, this is the perfect venue to see up-and-coming acoustic acts or, if you like something a little different, poetry, spoken word and comedy. Specialising in the more left-of-centre events, this is a refreshing, quirky alternative if you're feeling a little adventurous.
3. The Odyssey
A large sports and entertainment arena situated in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast (adjacent to the shipyards where Titanic was built), the Odyssey was opened in 2000, and is a genuinely world-class venue, which, of course, hosted the recent MTV European Music Awards. Homegrown heroes Van Morrison and Snow Patrol are scheduled to play in 2012.
4. The Limelight
2 doors down from The Spring & Airbrake (with Katy Daly's nestled in between), the Limelight is one of Belfast's most famous venues, and, like the Spring & Airbrake, is a small to medium-sized venue hosting the best of the latest tipped acts. Oasis famously played the venue on September 4th, 1994, and legend has it that they received word that Definitely Maybe had gone to No. 1 in the UK. Gallagher states: "I'll always remember this place with affection. We had a party that night and the audience joined in. That was the start of our success story."
5. Ulster Hall
A famous old venue, originally opened in 1859, the Ulster Hall has recently been comprehensively refurbished. Not just a music venue, the Hall has hosted many political rallies over the years and boasts a rich history. Its biggest musical claim to fame, however, is that it was the venue where Led Zeppelin first performed their iconic song "Stairway to Heaven", on 5 March 1971. The updated building continues to write a new history however; hosting the Red Hot Chili Peppers' gig during the MTV EMA weekend.
Images: Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau