Music in Porto: 10 mandatory stops for music lovers
Can't live without music… even (or especially) when you're on vacation? Portuguese musician Manuel Justo, from the band Sensible Soccers, shared with All About Portugal a list of 10 mandatory (and alternative) stops for music lovers looking for music in Porto.
Manuel Justo has been in charge of the synthesizers for Sensible Soccers, since 2011, one of the leading music bands in Porto (and in the rest of the country). The project – whose name honors the popular video game of the 90s – in a mix of sounds, sensitivity and irony, left many music lovers with opened ears from the first chords. The project was born in a small parish of Vila do Conde (Fornelo), without ambitions, but with the desire to win us (the public) by the ears and fly directly to our hearts. And the truth is that it did!
More than a decade later, the band's “game” has gathered a legion of faithful followers, hundreds of concerts across the country, a lot of magic and, now, a fourth album of originals that results from the composition of a soundtrack for two films – "Douro, Faina Fluvial" and "O Pintor e a Cidade" – by the acclaimed Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira. On this album, “Manoel”, the band invites us to reflect on Porto's identity and development. A good way to feel the Invicta, even if your visit to the city is still a chimera. Click HERE and read the text to the sound of Sensible Soccers.
But if you are going to spend a few days in Porto and music is your “thing”, Manuel Justo – “Né” for his friends – a regular in the city, a Turkish baths and dance moves lover and, of course, a committed music lover, leaves you a list of 10 mandatory stops for anyone visiting Invicta. Get ready for a real musical pilgrimage that includes shops, bars, clubs, music stores and even shopping centers! Alternative places that will take you to unique hubs of music in Porto. With luck, you will listen to Sensible Soccers live!
Discreet to the distracted eyes, and set on the 4th floor of a building in one of the city's emblematic streets, it is one of the most trendy spaces in Porto… and a must for anyone who loves music. Here, you can enjoy a bit of everything: concerts, exhibitions, parties, cocktails and even a restaurant with a menu of Italian food, with a terrace and a pleasant atmosphere full of beautiful people. It's the perfect place to start the night.
Literally opposite, and also discreet, you will find another mandatory space and very (well) visited by music and the art lovers. With an intimate atmosphere and an eclectic and alternative program, in 1971 it opened as a movie theater at the Coliseu do Porto and, in 2004, it gained new life: it was adapted as a concert hall, bar and disco. On some nights, you're likely to find one of the Sensible Soccers members playing music or dancing. Enjoy and ask for an autograph!
The poles, the mirrors, the ceilings and the sofas painted in red reveal the “other life” of this place, which was once one of the best-known cabarets and strip clubs in the city. From that time, the glamour, the intimate atmosphere and a decoration that takes us back to the 70's and 80's, remain, but now is home to an international and diverse musical program. It is one of the mandatory points in the nightlife of Porto and one of the best, and most charismatic, places to end a night dancing.
Do you like music and have just arrived in the city by train? This bar is close to São Bento Station and has 200 square meters of decoration that evoke the times of the Industrial Revolution. With a terrace with splendid views of the city, with the Clérigos Tower in the background, it is a space for those who like to listen to live music and drink signature cocktails (and trains, of course!). The program includes shows, concerts and DJ sets at different times of the day.
Next stop: the Gare Club, to end the night the best way. Here the underground alternative scene is celebrated intensely, with the best DJ's from Drum'n'bass, to House Music and Techno Music filling the program. The place is not big, but it promises the craziest (and alternative) nights in Invicta, where you can dance until dawn. It is one of the best clubs in the city and a reference in the European clubbing scene.
Do you like music even when you sleep? Book the room with the name of your favorite song and request a turntable for your stay. But beware, the M.O.Co. it's not just a hotel: it's a concert hall, it's a bar, it's a music library, it's a restaurant, and it's a gallery. Like music itself, it is made up of different parts that make it special and unique. Whether you are an artist, a creative tourist or just looking for a new experience, you will feel right at home and the music will be your main company.
Located in Miguel Bombarda, one of the most trendy neighborhoods in Porto, this space is more than a music store. A visit to Matéria Prima can prove to be a true discovery of less mainstream sounds and names. For about 20 years, this place has been an Invicta temple for fans of alternative music. With the most unexpected musical proposals, available in different formats (vinyl, CD, cassette), it also has an excellent selection of books, magazines, DVDs and zines.
Fonoteca Municipal Porto
Another mecca for those looking for the obligatory places dedicated to music in Porto is the Fonoteca Municipal, a “public space for music appreciation”, located in the Campanhã area. On its shelves, there are about 35,000 vinyl records ready to be heard, at various listening points. They are, in large part, from the record production in Portugal, nationally and internationally, and also include poetry and political speeches, from 1950 to the present.
Music in Porto would not be the same without this space, where several artists linked to experimental, improvised and electroacoustic music cross ideas and develop their work. The physical space offers technical and human conditions that enable creation and reflection. In addition to a recurring musical program, its agenda includes artistic residencies and educational and research programs.
Centro Comercial Stop
In the 1980s it was born as the city's Shopping Center, and its decline was counterbalanced by the growing importance of the space as a rehearsal room and recording studio for various bands in and around the city. They even say that it is the true home of music in Porto, since from its more than 100 rooms you can hear all kinds of music, from jazz to heavy metal, from hip-hop to popular music. You are likely to find here some unavoidable names from the Porto music scene, such as Manel Cruz (solo singer and member of Ornatos Violeta).