Back with a bang. We’ve all heard that term many times before. So when Printworks announced Issue 002, feet began to tap with excitement at the thought of returning to the ex printing factory, for day long raves in a cavernous industrial setting. And the day of reckoning came on the 8th of October 2017, when Printworks re-opened its doors for the Issue 002 opener. Stripped back, cold and minimal, this was a day of no nonsense dancing to some thundering techno: and boy were we glad we could make it.
Issue 002 Opening
There was no denying it was nice to be back. Not just once we were inside (we’ll get to that later), but the nostalgic route there was also something to be appreciated. Ambling out of Canada Water tube station, sidling past the arrow-holding stewards with Printworks emblazoned on the card, it felt like we were visiting an old friend.
After arriving later than anticipated, the cavernous scale of Printworks once again hit home. We unfortunately missed a few of the acts on earlier in the day (Charlotte De Witte was a particular blow), but were nevertheless in high spirits as we trundled up the entrance steps. It’s the metal that shocks you, the tubing and piping that adorn every reach of the interior makes you feel distant. And rightly so, because the venue really is another world. Away from functioning society, we find ourselves locked up in an abandoned printing factory, as the echoing techno of Daniel Avery ricochets down the Press Halls. Dark and foreboding, the unforgettable thud of the snare drum inflicts serious damage on the corridor, as flitters of red and blue light filter around the floor. “This is raving” we think to ourselves, as Alien Rain‘s ‘Alienated 4A‘ gets dropped in emphatic fashion, a rolling techno wobbler that really does send you to another planet. It was more of the same from one of Britain’s finest exports, providing two hours of techno cuts that remained interesting and powerful throughout. And come seven o’clock time, a bearded man in a waistcoat had assumed his position.
Yep you guessed it: Rodhäd had arrived. Just as Daniel Avery’s set was closing we quickly made our way backstage, to get as best a view of the man from Berlin as possible. With waistcoat on and a full length beard in tow, Rodhäd was making his Printworks debut, and the atmosphere showed it. Excited revellers screamed and the occasional whistle came, before the lights were dimmed. An ethereal synth stab lead into the unmistakable roar of drum beats, and it was then we knew Rodhäd was in control. He opened proceedings with Talismann‘s ‘Gran Abuelo’, a devilishly dark number with a suitably foreboding vocal sample to match. That really set the tone for the rest of his set, encapsulating exactly what the Berlin behemoth is all about. It was progressive, slow at times, but not in a negative way. Tunes were played out in full, with minimal build ups, as the thumping snare drum was brought in with precision and potency. He pick and chose his way through carefully, keeping drops fresh and unsaturated, whilst also taking us on a journey. It was excellent stuff, a real showcase of mixing talent and ability that was the perfect appetiser for the final act of the night: Maceo Plex.
It was nearing nine pm, and as such there was one viewpoint that we were still to experience within Printworks: the balcony. We had our wristbands beeped by the security guard manning the access door, before we ambled up some spiralling steps and onto the balcony. Elevated high above the Room One corridor, the view was outrageous. The action unfolded beneath us, and the view of punters dancing in their own world was more than humbling. The music slowed before Maceo Plex took the floor, and we couldn’t have asked for a better raving spot, nor a better selector. Space was plentiful, the view was tip top, and the tune selection was enough to impress even the snobbiest of techno enthusiasts. A ridiculous edit of Phuture‘s acid-inspired vintage ‘Your Only Friend‘ was a destroyer, as the vocal sample instructed us to “steal for me”. It was weird and wonderful, and tastefully damaging, before Charlotte De Witte‘s ‘Closer‘ was brought in to once again level the floor. The echoing voice robotically stated “there’s nothing in the world that compares to this”, and we honestly couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Time came and went, tunes passed and left and before we knew it, Printworks’ Issue 002 opener had come to an end.
And through a myriad of sweaty ravers, lights and techno, we found ourselves back in the real world. The walk back to society felt bizarre, unnecessary almost, as Printworks is a place that no one wants to leave. We’ve said it before, but it really is something different to much else London has seen before. It’s a fantasy for electronic music enthusiasts, a venue that strays so far from the generic club setting that it feels other-worldly, mesmeric in it’s ability to transport you to a musical realm that delivers on so many fronts. It pushes the boat out for the UK’s nightlife scene, and, as we’ve said before, offers a festival approach to raving week in week out that really does deliver the goods
Printworks we salute you. Onto the next show we go!
Printworks Issue 002 runs until Dember 8th. All tickets here.
Photo Credit: Jenna Foxton