London's stages welcomed world stars such as Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift in the first half of 2014, meaning July to December has a lot to live up to. But, with the likes of Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Kasabian and Sam Smith on the line-up, it shouldn't be too taxing, says Vicki Forde.
The O2 boasts its usual high calibre programme of crowd-pleasing stars, with Robbie Williams commencing the proceedings with a four-night run in July. The shows come as part of his full UK tour in support of his latest album, Swing Both Ways. Another member of pop royalty, Kylie takes to the stage on 29th September as part of her Kiss Me Once Tour. Released earlier in the year, Kiss Me Once is Kylie's 12th studio album and her first studio offering in four years. Featuring collaborations with the likes of Pharrell Williams and HAIM, it sees the pop princess prove her relevance in the industry.
Pharrell Williams himself then performs at the arena for two nights on 9th and 10th October. The multi Grammy Award-winning star was behind one of the year's biggest tracks, Happy, which sold 7.8 million copies worldwide. Supporting Pharrell will be industry newcomer Foxes, who won a Grammy for featuring on Clarity which was titled Best Dance Track.
Two-time Brit Award winner and recipient of an Ivor Novello, Ed Sheeran promotes his 2014 album, X (read as multiply), with four nights at The O2 in mid-October. The album is the fastest selling of 2014 so far and features Sheeran's first ever UK number one single, Sing. Later in the month, Lady GaGa brings her ArtRave: The Artpop Ball to the venue and Paolo Nutini performs his first-ever headline performance at The O2 as part of his biggest UK tour to date. After a five-year hiatus, Nutini returned to the music scene in 2014 with his new album Caustic Love. Entering the chart straight at number one and reaching Platinum status, the album sees Nutini develop as an artist, 'shredding jaunty charm for depth and ambition 'The Telegraph'.
Following the release of his second solo album, Lazaretto, which received widespread critical acclaim, Jack White will perform his biggest UK solo headline show at The O2 on Wednesday 19th November, and rock band Linkin Park promote their sixth studio album, The Hunting Party, with a one-night appearance on Sunday 23rd November.
After playing ten sold out shows at The O2 in 2013, multi Grammy Award-winning Michael Buble returns for a modest two-night run on 15th and 16th December while Status Quo and Madness conclude the venue's musical line-up for the year.
Away from the main arena, the O2's sister venues also have a generous offering of live music over the next few months. Controversial X Factor winner James Arthur tests whether he has any fans left with one night booked in at Indigo on Friday 11th July - his biggest London date yet. Later in the year, the most successful R&B vocal group of all time, Boys II Men, perform one night at Indigo. As well as classic number one hits such as End of the Road, I'll Make Love To You and On Bended Knee, the audience will be treated to tracks from their new album, Collide.
Over at Brooklyn Bowl hip hop duo Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip play on 19th July and ska-punk band Reel Big Fish take to the stage on 31st July.
Pop punk trio Blink-182 stop by the O2 Academy Brixton on 6th and 8th August to play a warm up show for their Reading and Leeds headline appearance. Having not released an album since Neighborhoods in 2009, the band has stated that they're hoping to release a studio offering after their festival performance. Further highlights on the venue's calendar include Azealia Banks, who will perform tracks from her debut album Broke With Expensive Taste; last year's breakthrough artist John Newman, promoting his debut album Tribute; and The Pretty Reckless, returning to the UK for their biggest headline tour to date.
December sees Kasabian enjoy a short residency at the Brixton Academy, with five nights scheduled in. Ten years on from the release of their eponymous debut album, this year has been appropriately fruitful for the band, with a headline slot at Glastonbury, a historic hometown show at Victoria Park in Leicester and an acclaimed new album. The band will be supported by indie rock band The Maccabees.
Over at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, Australian hip hop star Iggy Azalea performs takes to the stage for one night on Wednesday 17th September. As well as becoming the only artist since the Beatles to rank at numbers one and two in the US Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously (with her fourth single Fancy and Ariana Grande's Problem, featuring Azalea), she also made British chart history in July by claiming the first UK number one that included streaming data.
Shepherd's Bush Empire also sees Nick Mulvey, George Ezra, Klaxons, Future Islands and La Roux on the line-up.
Paloma Faith also performs later in the year at the Hammersmith Apollo, which boasts an impressive line-up of mega stars in the latter half of 2014, giving audiences the chance to enjoy more intimate, theatre-style shows.
The majority of the Apollo's summer programme is dedicated to Kate Bush, who performs a whopping 22 nights from 26th August to 1st October. Initially scheduled to perform 15 nights, the singer added an extra seven nights after massive pre-sale demand from fans. Kate Bush has only ever done one tour, which took place back in 1979. Therefore, this will be her first live shows in 35 years, perhaps explaining why the vast amount of tickets sold out within 15 minutes.
After a rewarding start to 2014, Sam Smith continues to see his star rise with another UK number one single, Stay With Me. Crowned the winner of BBC Radio One's Sound of 2014 poll and named the Critics' Choice at the Brits, Smith then went on to become the first-ever Critics' Choice Award winner to gain a number one with his first single. Now, following an American tour, the singer-songwriter will perform across the UK, concluding at the Hammersmith Apollo on 6th and 7th July.
Also performing at the theatre is John Legend, who has recently seen his single All Of Me enjoy major worldwide success, topping charts in the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Following the release of their latest album, Ghost Stories, Coldplay announced that they will be playing six international shows this summer, stopping by the Royal Albert Hall on 1st and 2nd July.
Throughout the rest of the summer, the venue's stage is dominated by the Proms, which includes special concerts from stars such as Laura Mvula, Paloma Faith and the Pet Shop Boys. Later in the year the Royal Albert Hall stages the BluesFest, which boasts the likes of Elvis Costello, Van Morrison and Cheryl Crow on the line-up.
Also taking place at the Hall is the BluesFest, returning for its fourth year in late October. As well as a series of Q&A sessions and intimate shows, the extended six-day event sees the likes of Elvis Costello, Van Morrison and Sheryl Crow headline.
September is a big music month for Alexandra Palace, with alt-J, The Libertines and The 1975 all performing live. Winner of the 2012 British Barclaycard Mercury Prize and named Album of the Year at the 2013 Ivor Novello Awards, Alt-J's critically acclaimed debut album An Awesome Wave catapulted them to success. However, with the band's founding member Gwil Sainsbury quitting the band in January of this year, there was a risk that it would end as quickly as it begun. Fortunately, this was disproved when they sold out Alexandra Palace in ten minutes earlier this year. With their new album This Is All Yours due to be released on 22nd September - two days prior to the show at Ally Pally - audiences can expect live renditions of their new material.
Two days later, the stage of the People's Palace will be taken over by The Libertines, who will headline three nights at the venue (26th-28th September). The shows follow the band's recent comeback gig at Hyde Park as part of the British Summer Time Series, the first time they've played live together since 2010. At the end of the month The 1975 play their largest headline show to date while October sees Jake Bugg perform as part of his biggest ever UK tour.