Monday 16 March 2015

KOKO The Club

Remember Coco the Clown?  I wonder if he ever performed at Camden's KOKO Club. Actually, the KOKO is in Mornington Crescent and when chatting about this amazing venue with one of my friends he exclaimed, "Is Mornington Crescent a real place? I thought it was made up as part of that pointless game in 'I Haven't A Clue'".  Well, yes, it's a real place with shops, a London tube station all of its very own and the KOKO Club. I've been there before for Wilko Johnson's so-called last tour, a great night and there's another coming up with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, or what's left of them. What's left includes Bob Kerr of Woopee Band fame who I used to love hearing and watching in the '70s, complete with mad-cap instruments and magic tricks on stage.

There's a long long tradition of comedy popular and rock music and the Bonzos were a major part of it. Remember before them the New Vaudeville Band?; remember Vivien Stanshall's Kenny-Everett-forerunner radio show? Rember the Urban Spaceman (baby, I've got speed)? Anyway, the sun had got his hat on when I visited the KOKO last week just to reconnoitre and solve parking problems, getting to and from the venue and out of London again, etc., when the Bonzo's anniversary gig happens in April.

What an appropriate place for this event. The KOKO, now a venue showcasing live modern music, used to be Camden Palace, a variety theatre that was one of the largest such venues in London, opening over a hundred years ago in 1900 and even hosting operatic performances. Now it is one of the few remaining relatively independent music venues, which are becoming rare throughout the country. So, if you can do anything to support such places as the KOKO, there may be a venue near you, then please do so. Look at the fab architecture in the pic. The dark grey bit at the front has just been bolted on to the main building behind.