Funkinyou @ Koko
Camden, London, United Kingdom
Funkinyou @ Koko London Reviews
Funkinyou Apr 25, 2008
To start... a quickie about the "DJ Skool":
As some of you may know, I like to spin the odd tune or two around the club circuit, and have been involved with this for a long time now. My main interest these days though, actually lie in the "DJ Skool" itself, where we try to find new raw talent (enthusiasm is the key ingredient here), teach them what we know and then sign them up to play along side the very best, at many of the big clubs and events (although I love the smaller, intimate venues more actually). Our roots are proudly in good old fashioned vinyl style house music, although now we probably have about 100 DJ's on our books of all dance music genres (including CDJ DJ's too), which keeps it all fresh and funky (although I must say... Roland and me are actually getting older and more miserable). My partner, Roland, is the technically gifted one and so he tends to have more of the input on the teaching side (along with other teachers/helpers), whereas I'm more the one who promotes the DJ's, talks to the clubs and sorts out the bookings. But.... I still do the odd event (especially for old friends) and "Funkinyou" @ the legendary "Koko" venue in Camden was one I did not want to miss. So, just to give you an insight in how it all works out, in this case "Funkinyou" were the promotion who booked the DJ's for their event (hence them booking some of our DJ's), and "Koko" was the venue. It really is a simple as that and now you know how the club scene works! Incidently... and contrary to false belief, we all like different types of music too... from theatreland to indie band. It's just that we play dance music because we love mixing this the most, as it creates an atmosphere which is truly electric. Even Roland can't mix The Smiths with The Sex Pistols, but he will dance around his bedroom to both!
However, even though I've told you a little bit about what I do, what I really wanted to talk about was "Koko" as a venue because... it is probably the most famous venue in London for music still to this day. There are many reasons for this and whether you live in London or are a visitor, there will always be a night to suit you. Oh... and here's why.....
"Koko".... the venue:
Now I know there are some amazing event venues throughout the city of London. Indeed there are some very modern, arty and sophisticated places all around Europe and The World. But what sets "Koko" out as a little bit different from the rest is its history. First opened as "The Camden Theatre" in 1900, you can see why architecturally it is a Grade II listed building. In 1909 the theatre was renamed "The Camden Hippodrome" and was a variety theatre, where famous names such as "Charlie Chaplin" appeared. In 1911 film seasons began and it became a proper cinema in 1913, due to the demise of the theatre industry.
Live acts were still used to support films and in 1928 "Novelty Nights" were introduced on Fridays with up to seven live acts appearing before the film. In 1933 the cinema was wired for sound and free Christmas performances were given to the local children. The cinema closed in 1940 and for some 20 years (from 1945), the building became a BBC Theatre, where shows such as the famous "Goon Show" were produced.
In 1970 the venue was reincarnated as "The Music Machine" and provided a platform for the first wave punk bands such as "The Sex Pistols" and "The Clash". Subsequently purchased by "Steve Strange" and "Rusty Egan" of "Visage" (I adore "Fade to Grey") in 1983, the "Camden Palace" was born, with the venue then holding court to the leading figures of "The New Romantic" scene and in the process hosting the earliest gigs of the "Eurythmics" and the first UK performance by a rising star known as "Madonna". Not forgetting, of course, those nutty boys of Camden Town – "Madness".
"The Camden Palace" continued to move with the times and in the 90’s was home to a series of dance nights. It closed in February 2004 in much need of someone to put some love and care into a refurbishment.
A six month, £ multi million restoration project was undertaken to the singular brief of creating a 21st Century entertainment venue from what was left of the glorious 19th Century building, and hence - "Koko" was created. If you go there now you will see the contrast of the old romance and the modern sophistication. In the day time, it really is just like walking around a real theatre, and so the sound systems, lighting and rigging therefore appear futuristic! This has to be unique, as even the high class Mayfair clubs are just boxes when no one is present.
The great thing about "Koko" too is that it has no particular genre of music attached to it, something very rare in a world where we like to label everything. It regularly hosts dance events, indie music events and lot's of other up and coming bands/acts and big name headliners. In fact many bands are discovered at this famous old venue and go on to make a name for themselves. Just take a look at the events appearing over the next few days:
Fri 25th Apr
Club NME (Indie)
Sat 26th Apr
Guilty Pleasures (Dance)
Sun 27th Apr
Mon 28th Apr
Tue 29th Apr
Thu 1st May
Dj Yoda's Magic Cinema Show (errrr ????)
Fri 2nd May
Club NME (Indie)
Sat 3rd May
Funkin You (Dance)
Tue 6th May
Wed 7th May
Sebadoh performing Bubble &...
I don't know what half of these acts do, or indeed who they are. But one thing I do know is that they will proudly be appearing at "Koko" and according to the "Koko" website, most of these acts are already sold out.
Price wise... well it really can vary. For example "Funkinyou" cost £15 on the night and £12 in advance. Some may feel this is expensive and I've labelled it as such and I am sure that some acts will cost more and some a bit less. However, when you consider a football match ticket will cost you 3 times that amount for just an hour and a half of entertainment, the price is subjective.
So... if you are ever in London and fancy a night out on the tiles, my suggestion is that you head over to Camden and see what's happening at "Koko". Even if it isn't a night that you particularly fancy, it doesn't matter, as you will at least get to see a true historical and famous, purpose built musical venue, and then you can carry on up the High Street and sample some of the other delights of Camden Town.
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