It may lack the scuffed charm of some Camden boozers, but The Edinburgh Castle is usually my default pub to meet in NW1. Refreshingly for the manor it lacks tourists, has a decent beer garden and serves Red Stripe (God's own lager) on draft. All of which should be essential qualities for a pub, especially in the summer.
From TEC it's just a quick stroll down to Koko, undoubtedly one of London's most beautiful popular gig venues. The grade II listed building was a complete toilet when it was named Camden Palace. Club night Peach was held there every Friday night and it's fair to say most of the punters got as messy and distressed as the interior. Once a friend of mine thought he saw two men were rolling on the floor fighting. They were in fact bin bags.
Last night Koko did not see the return of over 1,000 people yelling "oi oi" during the breakdown to a banging '99 trance anthem but it did see Noisettes smack out a typically captivating set. Shingai Shoniwa is one of the most charismatic frontwomen of her generation so it's especially pleasing to see she hasn't lost any of that formidable stage presence. Back in 2005 the trio threw together punkish stormers like 'Scratch Your Name' with vulnerable quiet moments like 'Monte Christo' to create thrilling shows. On last night's evidence they still excite and soothe like they were born to it. Given their recent No 2 hit with 'Don't Upset The Rhythm', things also look commercially bright for the south Londoners, while Top marks must also go to Shingai for utilising props. At one point a rope ladder was dropped from the ceiling, which she climbed and sang from while upside down.