Walking through an industrial business park isn’t the usual start to a licensed event, but then again this isn’t your average nightclub. If it was a squat rave then of course a big old abandoned warehouse is to be expected, however this couldn’t be more opposite. Instead we’ve got Printworks: London’s ground-breaking new clubbing destination that serves up all day parties for 5000 people at a time – every weekend. It started on the 4th of February with the launch extravaganza, which saw Seth Troxler, The Martinez Brothers and Loco Dice do a triple back to back. Fast forward two weeks and the 18th of February saw three of techno’s biggest titans grace the mega venue: Maya Jane Coles, Daniel Avery and Alan Fitzpatrick all providing some devilishly dark techno to get any raver moving.
It’s an early start at Printworks with each event kicking off at twelve noon and finishing at ten at night, so with ten hours of music it’s safe to say there’ll be something for everyone. Crosstown Rebels artist Alinka played a back to back set with Wax Wings to start the day, serving up some tasty house vibes to get everyone grooving. A variety of sounds kept all the ravers on their toes, while Wax Wings brought in some darker flavors to tease out the oncoming techno. Soon after America’s finest export Kim Ann Foxman appeared on stage, and with that the outstanding lighting set up, which has already become a signature of the club, stepped up a gear. In between laser showers and smoke jets it was impossible not to move your feet, especially when she played her fantastic acid number E4 Energy, providing some groovy belters that never failed to pleasantly surprise. Time passed quickly and before you knew it Hertfordshire duo Maribou State had graced the decks. Out of all the artists on the day it was these two that made the old printing factory feel most like a party, with disco vibes and feel good tracks aplenty it felt more like a good old social gathering rather than a sweaty rave up. Playing a remix of Room 5’s Make Luv, the smiles on everyone’s faces said it all. But this happy chatty atmosphere wasn’t to last long, as Maya Jane Coles soon took control of the decks.
It was now six o’clock, and definitely time for some thumping techno. Her set started softly with a few house beats before it quickly took a darker turn. It was relentless to say the least, as the thud of the kick drum reverberated around the massive ceilings it was impossible not to feel the bass. Her finishing track Corticyte – Modulate completely destroyed the floor and nicely set up Daniel Avery to take over. The floppy haired Brit rolled out some absolute belters, with Johannes Heil’s – Lifesigns part 2 tearing the roof off. He paired this alongside some slower techno to provide an interesting bit of contrast, and once again the lights made everything. It’s hard to get across the scale of this place to anyone who hasn’t been, but the long corridor that is room 1 really is something special, particularly when Alan Fitzpatrick was about to come on. The big man brought the heat, playing Leftfield – Open up (Skream remix) as well as Layton Giordani – Turn it around. This was techno at its finest, dark and driving, in a massive space that bounced the tunes around perfectly, all orchestrated by one of Britain’s most talked about DJs.
And with that the show sadly came to a close. But for London’s new raving hotspot this really is just the beginning. In a world where property redevelopment and housing schemes are held in higher regard to the special culture dance music brings, Printworks is a shining light for the UK’s clubbing scene. Every single weekend sees some of the worlds biggest DJs descend upon an old printing factory, accompanied by 5000 ravers, to play straight through from twelve noon until ten at night. Add to that a pioneering sound system with a light show that really is unparalleled, and you’ll quickly start to see why Printworks London is a venue that has the potential to completely transform the image of clubbing. It shuns the small time early morning finishes, offering a festival approach to raving that raises the clubbing standard to heights never really seen before: week in week out. And with institutions as entrenched as Sankeys Manchester being forced to close their doors recently, London’s new mega venue offers hope and proves that our beloved dance music scene will always adapt to produce some unforgettable moments.
Like everything, all good things must eventually surmise. Coming out an hour before midnight meant going back to reality, and this is a dream we never want to end. London we salute you: Printworks is something very special indeed.
Words by: Olly Gunns