Image: Printworks London
Amid closures and pessimistic threats of clubs shutting around the UK, London promoters LWE's newest acquisition - a 5,000 capacity abandoned printing press - is a brave proposition. Starting a new daytime series must be a daunting prospect, but judging from Saturday's sold-out show, the creative minds behind the space have definitely filled a gap in the market and provided a light at the end of the tunnel.
Billing the launch as an 'extravaganza' sent anticipation and excitement stratospheric in the weeks and months leading up to its grand opening. And what an opening it was. Exceeding expectations even before we've stepped inside the industrial factory space, the venue is just ten minutes from the picturesque surroundings of Canada Water station.
As soon as we step out into the open, train staff are stood holding Printworks signs and extra event toilets have been put on for the day. It's well organised from the off. After a short walk and around the corner from Surrey Quays shopping centre stands the venue – arguably London's biggest new club. Everything about it is mind-blowing.
As we walk down the concrete path and through the gates, the sheer size of the building is breathtaking. After queuing for less than 10 minutes, we’re ushered through the door and into the vast entrance area. After an impressively thorough security search, we make our way up the metal stairs.
When we walk into the tunnel-like main room, it's just gone 3pm but the energy is at a peak time high. “This is the maddest thing I've ever been to”, proclaims a guy whose also just arrived. It's hard to disagree with him. The ceiling is unbelievably high, the sound-system clear and powerful, the dancefloor packed for what seems like miles, the toilets surprisingly clean and modern, the token system makes bar queues shorter, and the music is equally impressive.
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Throughout a seven-hour superstar B2B2B between Seth Troxler (digging through his vinyl collection), Loco Dice and The Martinez Brothers pumping house, techno and acid flavours are on the menu; peaking with Patrick Topping's remix of Raumakustik's groover 'Dem A Pree'.
Over in Room Two, rising producers and DJs G Walker and Geddes man the decks in the low-ceilinged, warehouse-style space. Outside the smoking area is spacious and accommodating; with seats and benches spread out amongst food stools including Troxler’s own Smokey Tails.
Despite it being a first time event, the organisation is slick and, impressively, teething problems are few and far between. But the one thing that really puts Printworks on the map - and way ahead of its competitors - is its amazing light show.
At intervals throughout the afternoon and evening, the award-worthy lighting rig drops and shape-shifts, beaming down neon-coloured strobes that shine overhead and all the way to the back of the room. It’s clear a lot of money has been spent on these awe-inspiring lights, and it's certainly not gone unnoticed, it's easily one of the best light shows that London, and indeed the UK, has seen…
With the likes of Sub Focus, Adam Beyer, Maya Jane Coles, Nina Kraviz, Hot Since 82 and Booka Shade booked to play over the next few months, there's no doubt that The Printworks is going to build and build on its reputation...
As we leave the venue to catch the train home, our friend voices what he thought about the experience, and his response sums it up perfectly. "I’ve been all around the country and, bar none, that's the best. I'm absolutely speechless,” he says, taken aback. “Everyone's been talking about UK clubbing being dead... but after that, 2017 is the year it's coming back to life!”
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