When supreme promoters LWE announced they would be opening a new venue at the end of 2016, their timing could not have been better. Coming off the back of a disappointing year of closures and despondency, the overall consensus was that UK clubbing—especially London—was on a decidedly downward trajectory.
Described as an all-new experimental club, Printworks London used to be Western Europe’s largest print facility, vehemently fulfilling demand for papers such as the Evening Standard and Metro. But now through the expert vision of its new custodians, it will host one of the capital’s most impressive venues.
Seth Troxler, The Martinez Brothers and Loco Dice were on headline duties for opening night, and we were on hand to take in all the action.
Upon arriving, it becomes immediately clear this is going to be an experience reminiscent to those of Berlin or Barcelona than London.
There’s a definite air of excitement that comes with a space like this, and one that’s worth all of the warehouse’s 16-acre stretch. Its maze-like structure and sheer vastness instantly brings Sónar to mind, the hall appears to be never-ending, and the thought that its 2,500 capacity could easily be doubled is a tantalizing one.
The night’s headliners collective energy is undeniably infectious, and this seven hour marathon needed to start on the front foot. These guys have become synonymous with hands-in-the-air, no holds barred fun in the rave, and quite frankly LWE pulled an ace out the deck for handing them the task of getting the place grooving.
We’re all used to dingy warehouse parties, but what sets Printworks London apart is the 100-plus lasers and spotlights that illuminate its dramatic industrial features to spectacular effect.
Reminiscent to The Social Festivals Techno Barn light-rig, the series of rectangular beams, which repeatedly dropped from the ceiling before interchangeably sloping to an angle whilst putting on a display of colour, was something to marvel in. This is production at a premium, and a component that instantly adds value, entertainment and euphoria to proceedings.
It’s a jaw-dropping spectacle for a venue that warranted a spectacular opening, and one that you’d be hard pressed to find at any other club in the UK.
Equipped with stunning L'Acoustic and SB28 loudspeakers in the press hall and a VOID in the more intimate second room, there’s no getting away from the perfectly clear and robust sound on offer in both the soundproofed spaces. Whilst Krankbrother pushed the system to its limits in the excellent 300-capacity back room, the same could not be said for the main event.
Although the clarity and intensity of the bass can’t be faulted, the front and back positioning of the speaker stacks meant those in the middle were left in an evidently quiet spot. Enjoying it at a decent level meant either moving towards or away from the action, something that definitely needs to be rectified particularly given the venue’s soundproofed state.
Canada Water may be an accessible location, but it’s not one of familiarity—at least not to the regular partygoer. With an emphasis on minimising disturbance to local residents evident, stewards and signs were well placed to lead you from the station to the venue via a stroll past a local shopping precinct.
Following a thorough search, bars, dance floors, smoking areas and toilets were well advertised to ensure no task became arduous. Other than a short wait to retrieve a locker key deposit, this was an entirely faultless experience, and one that bodes well not simply for Printworks itself, but for the dance music community as a whole. Things are looking up.
Main photo by Danny North
For more information and remaining tickets, head to the Printworks London website here.