KOKO is a small but prestigious music venue in London located at 1A, Camden High Street, opposite Mornington Crescent tube station.
The site was originally home to the Camden Theatre, opened on Boxing Day, 1900, then a cinema in 1913, before becoming a live music venue in 1970. In 1970 it opened as the Music Machine, after 20 or so years of being relatively empty. The Music Machine then closed down and the venue re-opened as the Camden Palace in 1982, and finally underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment in 2004 and re-opened again, as KOKO. The venue has played host to some of the biggest names in music, including The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Prince.
In 2007, Prince played a secret show at KOKO, which was his first UK show in 10 years. In February 2014 Prince returned to KOKO to play another secret show, again making history and attracting uncontrollable crowds of far too many people to fit into the venue, with its relatively small capacity of 1410.
KOKO is equally easily accessible by train, to Camden Road, tube, to Mornington Crescent and bus.
KOKO 1a Camden High St London NW1 7JE 0870 432 5527
The O2 Arena located near Greenwich in east London is Britain's busiest concert arena.
The O2 Arena is housed within the original Richard Rogers' designed Millennium Dome (now the O2), which was opened as part of the Millennium celebrations in the UK in 2000 and housed the Millennium Experience exhibition.
The O2 complex also includes a multiplex cinema, various bars and restaurants, a music club indigO2 and the British Music Experience museum. Visitors can also climb across the roof of the building in Up at The O2 wearing a harness to experience 360 degree views of London.
During the 2012 London Olympics the O2 arena hosted the artistic gymnastics events and the basketball finals. The O2 arena continues to host sporting events including tennis and boxing.
The O2 Arena with a capacity of 20,000 people is actually slightly smaller than the Manchester Arena but attracts bigger crowds.
Tel: 020 8463 2000
The following London buses call at North Greenwich Station: the 108 to Lewisham via Blackheath, the 108 to Stratford via Bow, the 129 to Greenwich Cutty Sark, via Woolwich Road and Greenwich centre, the 132 to Bexleyheath via Eltham, 161 to Chislehurst via Charlton, Woolwich, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Mottingham, the 188 to Russell Square via Elephant and Castle, the 422 to Bexleyheath via Charlton, Woolwich and Plumstead, the 472 to Thamesmead and the 486 to Bexleyheath via Charlton, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Shooters Hill and Welling. Charlton Station is the nearest mainline station and then 161, 472 or 486 bus to North Greenwich Station. On event nights Thames Clippers operates The O2 River Bus Service from the London Eye.
The Baozi Inn in London's Chinatown is a recommended Chinese restaurant in the capital. Small in size but big in reputation, Baozi Inn is popular with the local Chinese community, always a sign of the authenticity of the cuisine.
Baozi specializes in well-priced, hot and spicy Sichuan cuisine known for its fiery use of chilies.
25 Newport Court
London WC2H 7JS
Tel: +44 (0)20 7287 6877
Walk north on Charing Cross Road from Leicester Square tube station on the Piccadilly and Northern Lines and Newport Court is on your left past Lisle Street. Walking down Newport Court, Baozi Inn is the fifth building on your right.
On February 12th, 2014, Frank Turner played his biggest headline show to date, accompanied by the Sleeping Souls, at the O2 Arena in London. To say he looked at home on such a huge stage would be an exaggeration, but he absolutely knew how to handle it. After support from Beans on Toast and Flogging Molly, the crowd were more than ready for Frank to start his show, a near 2 hour set combining all the classics, old and new, as well as some surprises.
A democratic way to approach a show at the O2 was taken by Beans on Toast, the audience even got a say in the set list: "Right, do you want to hear a song about the moon or a song about iPhones?" Although, when the crowd chose the 'wrong' answer, another vote was held to rectify their 'mistake'. Aside from the voting, Beans performed as if he was born to play arena shows, entertaining the audience with dance routines and jokes, alongside delivering his unique songs about sex, drugs and politics with charisma and skill.
The audience were also banned from clapping along to his songs, as he claimed to have 'a terrible sense of rhythm' and that he would get confused.
Following Beans' fantastic warm up, Flogging Molly came on, all the way from the USA, and surprised everybody. Their music is the type that is impossible to listen to and not want to do a jig. The perfect precedent for Frank Turner, getting the audience in the mood to dance, warming up everybody's singing voices and leaving them ever wanting more, but more than ready for the headline act.
Frank Turner appeared on stage at 9pm, without keeping the audience waiting, and dived straight into 'Photosynthesis'. This was the first surprise of the evening, choosing what is often his encore as his opening song, but the decision paid off, as everybody screamed with delight and excitement and waited until the end of the song as Frank sung 'and I won't sit down, and I won't shut up, and most of all I will not grow up!' to crouch down on the floor and launch themselves into the air as they heard the first chord of the final chorus. Following this killer opener, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls played through the classics that everybody wanted to hear: 'If Ever I Stray', 'Wessex Boy', 'Peggy Sang the Blues', 'Recovery', 'I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous' and 'The Way I Tend To Be', every one of which was sung back at the band by more than 10,000 people.
It was a show full of special moments, plunging into the uplifting 'Eulogy' at the most unexpected moment, having the entire room singing the controversial 'Glory Hallelujah' together and doing star-jumps through every chorus of 'Recovery', but the most special part of his set was his acoustic performance of the stunning 'I Am Disappeared', a song which is rarely played live, but the most wonderful treat when it is. Those who had looked at the set list before the show were taken aback, and then everyone was blown away. The audience were then treated to something else incredibly special, a very rare performance of 'To Take You Home', a song that even Frank Turner fans who don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many times they've seen him live have ever seen played before. These two performances are what made the show one of Frank's best.
After a memorable and outstanding main set, the encore was a simple-yet-brilliantly-done crowd-pleaser; a string of classics starting with a solo performance of 'The Ballad of Me and My Friends', before getting the Sleeping Souls straight back on to launch into into 'I Still Believe' and 'Four Simple Words', creating the perfect end to the evening. If every single person in the room hadn't already got on their feet to dance, they were up during the last song.
Frank's 1527th show was one of his best. His performance was phenomenal, and it looks like he's still getting better.
Who knows what could be in store for Frank Turner and his fans in the future, but after a UK number 2 album in 2013, no one's doubting that it will all be good things. He and the Sleeping Souls have one of the most loyal fan bases in the UK, leading Frank towards becoming one of the most successful independently signed artists around, and he is one of those, in 2014, who truly deserves all of the success that he is finally getting. No one demonstrates better the fact that hard work and dedication pays off.
On February 12th, 2014, Frank Turner played his biggest headline show to date, along with the Sleeping Souls, at the O2 Arena in London. To say he looked at home on such a huge stage would be an exaggeration, but he knew how to handle it. After support from Beans on Toast and Flogging Molly, the crowd were more than ready for Frank to start his show, a near 2 hour set combining all the classics, old and new, as well as some surprises.
The O2 Arena
Frank Turner started his music career as guitarist for punk band Million Dead, but in 2005 they split up, and, being inspired by his good friend Jay McAllister, (aka Beans on Toast), he decided to pick up an acoustic guitar and become a solo artist, fusing punk and folk. Since then, Frank has released 5 studio albums, with the most recent, Tape Deck Heart, reaching number 2 in the UK album charts, 5 studio EP's and 3 compilation albums.
Frank Turner is signed to independent music label, Xtra Mile, and is currently on a UK Arena Tour, playing to audiences of more than 10,000 a night, leading him towards becoming one of the most successful independently signed artists of this generation.
Joe Allen opened its London branch on the 17th of January, 1977, and has been serving high-quality, classic American food to Londoners ever since. It is located at 13 Exeter Street, in the centre of London's Theatreland, behind Covent Garden Piazza and just a few minutes walk from Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Waterloo.
The food they serve is classic and well-done, ranging from burgers to steaks to salads, as well as delicious puddings. As a contrast to the dark, slightly inconspicuous exterior, the walls are covered in posters of stage shows, concerts, American stars and occasional sporting icons, giving the restaurant an authentic, welcoming feel.
Joe Allen is a perfect place to visit before seeing a West-End show or after a day out in London.
Joe Allen Covent Garden
13 Exeter Street London WC2E 7DT
Tel: 020 7836 0651
The Cavern Quarter, in the centre of Liverpool, is home to a small but varied selection of designer shops, bars, venues and restaurants. Despite this array of places to visit, the Cavern Quarter is best known as the location of the Cavern Club, where the Beatles played many of their earliest shows, the first being on February 9th, 1961.
The venue was usually packed out for their shows, but this still meant that the Beatles were only playing to around a maximum of 350 people in their early days.
On the 16th of January, 1967, the Cavern Club opened in the cellar of a warehouse at 10 Mathew Street, and remained at this address until 1973, when it closed down and reopened at 7-15 Mathew Street, just across the road. The Cavern eventually ended up back at it's original address of 8-10 Mathew Street, after undergoing of name changes to Revolution and later to Eric's.
In 2014, the new Cavern is still operating as a very active live music venue, opposite to a statue of John Lennon standing outside the original entrance to the club on the other side of the road.
The Cavern Quarter is in the centre of Liverpool and around a 10-15 minute walk from Lime Street Station, Albert Dock and the museums dotted around the dock, including the Liverpool Museum, the Beatles Experience and the Tate Liverpool.
The Beaufort Bar in The Savoy Hotel in London is art-deco in style and one of the capital's most atmospheric spaces.
Built on the former cabaret stage that once played host to George Gershwin, the Beaufort bar exudes sophistication and serves vintage champagne and special house cocktails. Prices for cocktails range from £16 to over £50.