Rock City has a rich and storied history in Nottingham, dating back over 40 years (Check out the article about us written by the BBC). As one of the best nightclubs in Nottingham, we’re proud to have hosted some of the biggest names in music, as well as emerging talent and local acts.
From our founding in 1980 to the present day, we’ve been at the forefront of Nottingham’s music scene! Bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the magic of live music and entertainment. Our commitment to the history of Nottingham is reflected in our interactive timeline. It features some of our favourite moments from our gigs and our club nights, complete with videos, photos, ticket stubs and fun facts.
But it’s not just about the past – our dedication to live music and entertainment is stronger than ever! And we continue to attract top talent from around the world. From rock to indie, pop to alternative, we have the best live gigs in Nottingham! We also host our club nights regularly featuring top DJs and themed events.
If you’re looking for the best clubs in Nottingham, look no further than Rock City. Our location in the heart of Nottingham city centre makes us easily accessible by public transport or on foot. Our reputation as the best nightclub in Nottingham means that you’re guaranteed a great night out.
So whether you’re a die-hard fan of the bands that have played at Rock City over the years, or you’re just looking for a great night out, we invite you to come and experience the unique energy and excitement that can only be found at the best nightclub and venue in Nottingham – Rock City!
In December 2022, we had the legendary Maryland rock band Clutch play here at Rock City. Clutch released their highly anticipated 12th studio album, titled “Book of Bad Decisions,” which some may consider their best work yet. Clutch has consistently produced top-quality music since their debut in 1993 with “Transnational Speedway League,” and their newest album is no exception. “Book of Bad Decisions” is sure to be another classic among their already impressive collection of work.
In November, Rock City hosted two exceptional gigs. The first of which was Electric Callboy, a German electronicore band that was previously known as Eskimo Callboy. They were formed in Castrop-Rauxel in 2010 and are known for their humorous songs, lively performances, and entertaining videos. On April 15, 2022, Electric Callboy announced the release of their new studio album, “Tekkno”. The album includes the previously released singles “We Got the Moves,” “Pump It,” and “Spaceman”. “Tekkno” entered the German charts at No. 1 in its first week! This impressive feat was the highest ranking any of Electric Callboy’s records had previously achieved.
The second of those gigs in November was non-other than Jack Harlow. Flaunting sleek flows, nimble wordplay, unpredictable rhyme patterns and vast ambition, Jack Harlow raps with old-school dedication and raw individuality. Forbes declared Harlow to be “poised for hip-hop nobility,” the Louisville, KY-born artist defies eras and sharpens a smooth signature style on his debut album, That’s What They All Say, which features the triple platinum-certified hit “WHATS POPPIN.” Harlow made his introduction to the rap game with a pair of fan-favourite independent mixtapes—18  and Gazebo —before headlining his first tour and playing festivals.
Back to October now and we had The Wombats play here at Rock City! At the time, they had unveiled their new single ‘Everything I Love Is Going To Die’. It Premiered as BBC Radio 1’s ‘Hottest Record In The World’, the track was one of the first offerings from their then-upcoming fifth studio album Fix Yourself, Not The World, which was released on 7th January 2022. Their new music at the time followed the announcement of the then Mercury Prize shortlisted Sports Team and fellow Liverpudlians The Night Café as support acts for their selected dates on their 9-leg UK headline tour! See some of the awesome pictures of the performance taken below!
We also had one of the hottest artists in the UK come to perform at City! The Platinum-selling, BRIT-nominated Manchester rapper Aitch was set to perform at Rock City in October for his Close To Home tour. Aitch’s debut album, Close To Home, showcased the talents of a young artist who is quickly rising to global fame. The album demonstrated Aitch’s mature and reflective side, as well as the confidence and swagger that he is known for. Aitch, who at the time was recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of the “30 Under 30” artists to watch. Aitch’s performance at Rock City was second to none, with his charismatic and energetic stage presence, he had the whole crowd bouncing!
In May of 2022, we had Charli XCX perform here at Rock City for her ‘Crash’ Tour! This was following the release of her fifth studio album, released on March 18th. The highly anticipated album, including the track ‘New Shapes,’ which Charlie XCX described as “one of the most exquisite tracks from the album.” She also noted that all of the tracks on the album are “totally divine”. The way that Charlie XCX described her album and with how the performance went, it was a performance that wasn’t to be missed!
Also, back all the way into May, Enter Shikari were set to return to Rock City for a highly anticipated two-night event. The two-night show was rescheduled for May. The band had announced an extensive UK and European tour, which included two nights at Rock City. When Enter Shikari finally got around to performing, they put on an amazing show that did not disappoint. It was the band’s first headline tour since the “Stop The Clocks” Tour, and they truly made the most of it, delivering a memorable and thrilling performance for their devoted fans. Overall, it was a truly unforgettable experience for all who attended.
In March 2022, Jake Bugg performed at Rock City. This was an exciting moment for the singer, who had just released his then-new album “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning” in August 2021. The album had been a major success, and it was no surprise that Jake Bugg’s performance at the venue was completely sold-out. As a local to Nottingham, Jake Bugg was already a beloved local superstar, and his performance only further solidified this even further.
Also in March 2022, Slowthai took to the iconic venue after achieving great success in the UK music scene, having topped both the album and vinyl charts. His performance was part of his HELL IS HOME tour, which was highly anticipated by fans of the much-loved rapper. Slowthai’s performance at Rock City was a standout event. His stage presence was electrifying and he had the crowd fully engaged from the moment he stepped on stage.
For the first show of 2022, everyone (including us!) was pumped to get live music going again! Our first sold-out show for 2022 was the awesome Turnstile! Turnstile is a hardcore punk band from Baltimore, Maryland and they were formed in 2010. The band has now released five EPs and has three studio albums. In November 2022, it was announced that they had been nominated for three Grammy Awards!
2021 hit and we were still closed due to Covid! It was a quiet start to the year, with lots of gigs cancelled or postponed, but as things eased off were able to bring back the outdoor Yard Bar!
And eventually we were able to open inside as well and have people back inside for the Sit Down Sessions!
In the summer we put up a massive screen so that everyone could watch the Euros inside Rock City!!
And then finally at 00:01 on July 19th, we were allowed to re-open!!!
Our first gig back after Covid was Yungblud with an awesome run of 2 back-to-back shows!!
We had a massive show for Christmas with Terrorvision!
Covid 19 hit hard and we had to close for what was probably the first time ever in our history!!
In the summer Covid restrictions eased off slightly, and people were allowed to meet as long as it was outdoors… So, we managed to turn our car park into a festival-esque yard bar!!
Later in the year, we were allowed to have people inside again! But only in a safe, controlled environment, so we came up with the Sit Down Sessions!
But then the winter rolled round and Covid came back with a vengeance. We had to close again as Nottingham moved into Tier 3!
And so, in December 2020, we celebrated our 40th Birthday in a slightly less rock n’ roll way than we would have expected!! We were closed for our birthday due to Covid, but we shared lots of memories and discussions online with all our amazing customers, some of whom have been coming for 40 years!!
Sadly The Prodigy’s Keith Flint passed away this year. Papa Roach were here to rock in April and covered Firestarter in his honour!! Check it out below.
Death Grips came to play their first ever Nottingham show, and they did not disappoint!! Check out this clip from the intense show:
HIM appeared as part of their last ever tour 🙁 See their performance of ‘Funeral Of Hearts’ here:
Frank Turner chose Rock City as his favourite venue in the UK and marked his 2000th concert with a special show here at Rock City! The concert was filmed and Frank made a special anniversary DVD and documentary, check out a bit of the show below!
See his announcement video for the special show here: https://www.facebook.com/frankturnermusic/videos/10154597658689138/
Check out ‘Long Live The Queen’ live at Rock City below.
Yellowcard performed here as part of their final ever tour! They closed their last ever show at Rock City with the absolute classic ‘Ocean Avenue’, see it from a fan’s point of view below:
And we’re pleased to say that the NG83 B-Boys documentary won Best Documentary at the NYC Hip-Hop Festival 2016! Check out the trailer below featuring lots of RC:
A huge year in which we celebrated our 35th Anniversary with many special guests, including the Fratellis, The Happy Mondays, The Darkness, Reverend And The Makers, The Charlatans, Maximo Park and a two-night run for Frank Turner! We also had HIM on their only UK date as part of our Anniversary, and Foals played a monster show where Yannis climbed on the balcony!
Amber Run also returned to support Saint Raymond and made this excellent video of the experience, praising Nottingham’s music scene which raised them:
A year where we welcomed back some rock powerhouses like Skid Row and Deftones, at the same time as giving newcomers their much appreciated first appearance on our stage, including The 1975 and Alt-J!
We welcomed the iconic B Boys back for a Re-Union Jam in the lead up to their award-winning documentary ‘NG83: When We Were B-Boys’. Check out this epic video of them dancing in RC!
A massive year featuring Ed Sheeran, Enter Shikari and the Wombats!!
Nottingham Caves Survey came to visit our labyrinth of caves beneath Rock City and our car park! You can see an awesome video render with a rocky soundtrack (of course!) here:
The mighty Madness performing Baggy Trousers on the Rock City Stage:
Amy winehouse perforned here the year that she won the Brit Award for Best British Female Artist!
Indie heroes Arctic Monkeys were here at Rock City for the Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not tour!!
Kings Of Leon stopped off at Rock City as part of their Aha Shake Heartbreak tour, performing their new hits ‘The Bucket’ and ‘Four Kicks’.
Linkin Park performed to an insane crowd and the whole show was recorded for BBC Radio 1. The whole show is available to listen on YouTube below.
Here’s a message from Chester himself recorded at the gig:
Doves played and the BBC recorded the show as part of their BBC In Concert series, listen to the show here:
Listen to Supergrass’ whole Rock City show:
A big year!!
The man himself David Bowie came to Rock City!! Fun fact: he requested that all of backstage was decked out with rugs. Watch his performance of Under Pressure below.
We had rock monsters Marilyn Manson and Korn here as well! Korn’s show was actually filmed by MTV for their headbangers ball.
Foo Fighters released their epic album ‘The Colour And The Shape’ on May 20th 1997, and the next day they played here at Rock City!
Iron Maiden finally made it to play Rock City (after missing out on our opening!)
Californian rockers The Offspring came to Rock City after their massive album Smash was released the year before. The whole show was recorded, check it out:
Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ had just come out, and we had them play here at Rock City in August of the same year. Here’s the dressing room sign!
The music show Noise Mothers show that ran on ITV from 1994-1995 visited us and showed what a typical Friday night at Rock City was like in 1994:
A stellar year that included Anthrax, Rage Against The Machine and a secret Megadeth show where they appeared under the name ‘Vic And The Rattleheads’!
See below videos of Rage Against The Machine & Megadeth.
Goth icons The Cure played the Rock City stage as part of their Wish tour!
With Smells Like Teen Spirit at Number 7 in the charts, and their tour sold out all over, Kurt Cobain makes his debut on the rock city stage with Nirvana at one of our sweatiest, grungiest gigs ever!! Check out this amazing video with live footage and interview from the show, a great insight into Rock City in 1991! Love those haircuts.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers at Rock City! Just imagine it! Their initial tour sold out and extra dates were added due to demand, including a highly sought after Rock City show.
Check out the flyer below, with the guys listed along with Grace Jones, Inspiral Carpets, Saxon and Faith No More!
Rock City fan Martin Nicholls also shared a signed drum skin from the gig with us!!
We also had Janes Addiction here as part of the U.K Ritual De Lo Habitual tour, check out some ultra-rare footage from the show below:
Napalm Death played as part of the Grindcrusher Tour along with Carcass, Bolt Thrower & Morbid Angel, and we’ve found the full show on Youtube:
The mighty Guns N Roses took their turn to play at Rock City, with support from Faster Pussycat, as part of their Appetite For Destruction Tour!! Live recordings were made of the show, and released on CD!
The one and only Ramones played here at Rock City and the whole show was recorded, listen here:
REM were just emerging as one of the most exciting alternative bands to come out of the USA, and their show here at Rock City was recorded by the BBC to be broadcast on Radio 1 a few days later. Recordings of the show have only recently been released as part of a new retrospective, you can hear ‘Radio Free Europe’ below!
The year of the B-Boys! Every Saturday throughout the 1980s we hosted a breakdance jam in our main hall for the Rock City Crew, where dancers from Nottingham would take on crews from all over the UK. They were re-united in 2012 for a documentary.
Legendary dark rockers Bauhaus performed in the same year that their third album ‘The Sky’s Gone Out’ was released:
Below is the earliest recording we’ve found, the much-loved New Wave band Japan performing The Art Of Parties at Rock City in 1981!!
The epic Slade also stopped off at Rock City, listen to them performing the album track Til Deaf Do Us:
Our official opening!
The ﬁrst band scheduled to play at Rock City were Iron Maiden, who were on their way to becoming the biggest metal act on the planet. Sadly the gig had to be postponed as the electrics were not ﬁnished. So instead The Undertones, led by Feargal Sharkey, stepped up and finished the first ever Rock City gig with a rendition of Teenage Kicks – ofﬁcially the best song ever according to a certain Mr John Peel (RIP).
Below shows our first-ever poster!
Tickets are flying for South Yorkshire indie-rock band @TheSherlocks!! 🎟️ Get yours before they sell out 👉 https://t.co/sM77c4ReIo https://t.co/v2wXFgc39d
6th April 2023
Pop-disruptor @ashnikko is making waves in the fashion industry too. She's apart of the new @adidasoriginals campaign 'Club Originals'. 💙 Read about it here 👉https://t.co/Mr66itQfuB 🎟️ Still need tickets to the show on 5th December? Get them here 👉 https://t.co/ek0g5sCnNm https://t.co/gcKNHrSLEG
6th April 2023