Michelle Grant / Time Out
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Posted: Sat Jan 5 2013
Housed in an ornate, Grade II-listed building, this institution has endured through numerous incarnations. First opened on Boxing Day 1890, it was renamed The Camden Hippodrome nine years later, operating as a vaudeville house in which a young Charlie Chaplin trod the boards. Between 1913-40, the venue was a thriving cinema (often with supporting live acts) and subsequently (for 20 years from around 1945) a BBC theatre, which saw recordings of the legendary 'Goon Show'. In the '70s it was turned into a live music venue and renamed The Music Machine, before being taken over by Steve Strange and Rusty Egan of Visage in 1983 and undergoing yet another name change – to The Camden Palace. As such, it enjoyed a high profile on London's New Romantic club scene and hosted the very first London gig by Madonna, no less. It relaunched in the late '80s as an indie club and then - after closing its doors for refurbishment in 2004 – was rebranded as Koko. Despite the name change and major refit, it retains its indie/alternative pop/rock remit, while also embracing everything from hip hop to trance. With its colossal mirror ball as the ceiling centrepiece, its painted gargoyles and steep tiered balconies, Koko remains one of London's most atmospheric music venues.
What's on at Koko
Hip hop and rap by the Los Angeles-based performer and producer, Marcus Jamal Hopson.
Blues, Soul, Folk
The Dublin singer – who's rapidly rising and starting to sell out venues astonishingly quickly – juggles folk, soul and blues.
Hip hop, Drum 'n' bass and dubstep, Breaks, Clubs, Grime
- Critics' choice
The DJ that looks like a ninja but rocks like a member of the A-Team returns to Koko tonight for a show full of his jackin' hip hop/electro mash-up live sets. Guests from his boldly named 'amazing' squad include sharp-tongued rapper and model Dominique...
Hip hop, Pop and rock
Think you like tattoos? Not as much as Los Angeles-based rapper and much-played YouTube artist Kid Ink, you don't, who has pretty much run out of body space by his mid-twenties. Think vocodered rhymes and the bling lifestyle. And lots of tattoos.
Pop, Punk and hardcore
Alongside Funeral For A Friend and Bullet For My Valentine, Kids In Glass Houses have been one of several young bands tending the eternal flame of Welsh rock in recent years. They've just announced their split, so tonight there'll be emotional scenes...
Drum 'n' bass and dubstep, Electro-rock, Trip hop
The once chart-friendly D&B/trip hop/electro-rock trio from Bristol – Markee Substance, Darren Decoder and Sian Evans – are back for another London show, having returned to live performance earlier this year after a five-year hiatus.
R&B, Soul, Electronica
- Critics' choice
One of the best among the recent crop of soulful singer-songwriters specialising in electronic production, south Londoner Kwabena Adjepong brings his powerful voice and pulsating synths to Koko for his biggest headline show in the capital so far.
Indie rock, Britpop, Rock 'n' roll
London's shouty indie rockers, whose skanking, fizzy and ska-toned punky pop nods towards The Clash, The Jam and The Specials, play a show with their recently reunited original line-up.
Rock 'n' roll
- Critics' choice
The pint-sized electro wizard finally returns with new material, after yet another long wait between albums. True, it's only been three years since his last record 'Leisure Seizure' – nothing compared to the six-year gap after 'We Have Sound' – but that's...
Punk and hardcore
Paramore fans will be all over this female-fronted pop-punk band from Sydney.
Average User Rating
3 / 5
- 5 star:2
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:2
I saw The Band Perry at the Koko club and it was a lovely venue, it is an old theatre with all the seating taken out in the stalls (I didnt see upstairs) and has a full bar at the back. The acoustics were very good, as were the Band Perry! Would recommend! I would like to go to one of their guilty pleasures nights and club nights soon!
I agree. Not the most welcoming of places. As for the refit?? I used to go there in the mid 90's and I could not tell what they had changed since then?... Sticky carpets, awful toilets and grumpy staff. Regretfully, best avoided.
I don't get the idea here. It's a lovely building with an interesting layout, but they treat their customers like cattle. They charge insane prices for a can of appalling bitter emptied lovelessly into a thin plastic glass. Queues 10-deep at the bar. Events where the comperes verbally abuse people for needing the toilet while they're speaking (and I mean abuse, not joke about, Patrick Kielty). It's bad enough that you start to think, 'Well if you really don't want me here I'll leave.' You're just a commodity, being fleeced for as much as they can get away with. It's a shame, as it has so much potential. But it's top of my blacklist nowadays.