The owner of London music venue Koko has said its reopening will be a “special moment” and that its inaugural concert with Arcade Fire will be an “iconic” event in its 120-year history.
Camden Space opens its doors on Friday after a three-year £70million redevelopment delayed by a roof fire and the pandemic.
The 50,000 square foot multipurpose space will feature live streaming facilities, a radio station, retail store, late night pizzeria and bar with intimate live performances.
Canadian indie rockers Arcade Fire will deliver a special performance on Friday in celebration of the release of their upcoming album We.
Owner Olly Bengough, who took over the venue in 2004, told the PA news agency: ‘If you know Koko as well as I do, we do the unpredictable very well.
“Like Kanye West calls at 5 p.m. and says, ‘I want to play tonight,’ or Prince does six-hour shows.
“Arcade Fire went in the same direction where we have a festival headliner that will just blast the ceiling off the seat.
“They’re going to do something very special and it’s going to be one of those iconic moments again.
“There’s a reason they headlined Coachella. They are one of the biggest indie rock acts in the world.
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“I think it’s going to be quite unpredictable, some of it, and I think it’s going to be a big production. It just fits.”
Koko, which has hosted the likes of Madonna, Prince, The Rolling Stones and Kanye West, closed for renovations in 2019 and was covered in scaffolding at the time of the headline-grabbing January 2020 fire that destroyed its famous copper dome.
The redevelopment now comprises three buildings – the originally Grade I listed 1900 Victorian theater – plus two adjoining buildings, a former piano factory from the 1800’s and the Hope and Anchor pub which was a favorite of Charles Dickens.
Members have access to a rooftop conservatory, recording studio, piano room, library, hidden speakeasy, private vinyl listening rooms and cocktail bar in the restored copper dome.
Bengough told the PA: “The truth is it’s a very special moment for me. When you’re in construction for three years, that’s a long time.
“I was used to going to so many shows at Koko. I was always in and out watching shows. It was like my living room. So knowing that we are opening up is very special.”
Referring to the challenges of the past three years, he added: “I have owned the theater since 2004. When I found it it was Camden Palace. It was really on its knees and actually no one wanted it.
“The first time you think about it, it was quite a challenge to spend years and take a huge risk to try and turn it into Koko.
“Of course it took a while, but eventually we were lucky enough and had an incredible 15 years.
“For the second time, I think it’s a really integral part of the culture of Camden and, more importantly, the culture of London and Britain.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/camden-venue-koko-to-reopen-with-arcade-fire-gig-41598896.html The Koko venue in Camden reopens with a gig at Arcade Fire