KOKO is a Camden nightclub and music venue at the bottom of Camden High Street, London in a Grade II listed theater building. (Grade II means significant buildings of more than local interest.)
This 1,500 capacity venue, that opened in 2004, has already has had headline performances from Coldplay, Madonna, My Chemical Romance, and Prince. There are regular weekly club nights and this was the venue for the recordings of the Channel 4 TV program, The Album Chart Show.
The building opened in 1900 as The Camden Theatre with a 1,600 seating capacity. By 1909 is was renamed The Camden Hippodrome and was a variety theater and famous names, such as Charlie Chaplin, performed. In 1911 film seasons began and it became a cinema in 1913.
The cinema closed in 1940 and for 20 years from 1945 the building became a BBC theater and shows included The Goon Show.
In 1970 it became a live act venue called The Music Machine where The Sex Pistols and The Clash played. There were two live bands each night, six nights a week, and many went on to become big names such as Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Dire Straits, Bad Manners and Fun Boy Three. The Music Machine was owned by the Bron Agency headed by Lillian Bron.
At the same time The Music Machine was open, there was the Electric Ballroom, near Camden Town tube station, where Madness were often seen, and further down at Camden Lock was Dingwalls which had Saturday lunchtime Jazz sessions where anyone who wanted could get up and have a go - a regular there was Charlie Watt’s of The Rolling Stones.
After it closed the venue was reopened as Nero's, and then following a fire the venue became The Camden Palace in 1983. It was soon the center of the New Romantic club scene when the club was fronted by Steve Strange and Rusty Egan of Visage. It was at this club Madonna did her first UK performance.
This was the venue I knew and loved throughout the 80s and 90s but it was getting pretty run down and by 2004 it closed for a six-month, multi-million-pound restoration project. Its latest incarnation as KOKO has been a huge success as it is still an old theater building but has all the modern technology you want from a cutting edge music venue and club.
Venue Contact Information
Address: 1A Camden High Street, London NW1 7JE
Nearest Tube Station: Mornington Crescent
Official Website: www.koko.uk.com
KOKO is an over 18 venue unless otherwise specified for a particular event.
KOKO is considered one of the top 10 London nightclubs.