'Arcade Fire conjure a joyous return for Camden's Koko'

Arcade Fire on stage at Koko, Camden

Arcade Fire on stage at Koko, Camden - Credit: André Langlois

Koko made triumphant return last week with a performance from one of the most fêted live bands around. 

Although Arcade Fire came a little too late for the formative years of my indie fan-boy self but they are hard to resist, with the range of influences of Blur, the anthemic qualities of The Verve, the soundscapes of Spiritualized and the ear for an indie dancefloor filler of Primal Scream.

They tick the right boxes – I believe in you, Arcade Fire! 

Arcade Fire on stage at Koko, Camden

Arcade Fire on stage at Koko, Camden - Credit: André Langlois

I first saw them at Latitude festival in 2007, with those hazardous paper lanterns drifting over thousands of heads, and then for a surprise set at Primavera festival in 2017, when the dance sound of Everything Now was in full force. Both were good.

Friday at Koko was brilliant. They worked their back catalogue from crowd-pleasing indie classics (Wake Up, The Lightning I and II) through to crowd-bouncing disco (Everything Now).  

There were new songs too, not least the extended suite The End Of The Empire, debuted after the live stream was switched off.

Koko, Camden

Koko, Camden - Credit: André Langlois

For all that it was a night for the Fire, the night was as much a triumphant return for Koko

A huge refurb project, interrupted by fire and plague, has been completed. The venue has been expanded with a new vertical performance space, a cafe and pizzeria, and an expansive private membership area. 

But, for all that, it still feels like a proper venue of the kind that everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Prince fell for, along with hundreds of acts and thousands of music fans, over the years. 

The view of Mornington Crescent from the Koko balcony

The view of Mornington Crescent from the Koko balcony - Credit: André Langlois