The capital’s industrial playground made its long-awaited return last weekend. Piloting a brand new concept, saw the renowned venue strip back all the glitz and glamour to focus entirely on the experience and leave ravers fully in the moment.
Strictly no cameras or filming was permitted on the dance floor, and the lineups for all three shows across the opening weekend were not announced. We’re still not exactly sure who played ourselves, and those we do know, we’re not allowed to tell you! Even staff at the venue didn’t know who was playing. One of the venue’s production team told us “All I have is set times, no names”. What we can tell you is that Friday’s billing was all non-male and a blend of purveyors of the underground, respected selectors and experimental producers.
Opening the AW21 season with an extended finish until 4am, Late Night Movements curated a soundtrack for fans of The Hydra, AVA London, Bugged Out, Homobloc, Percolate and Krankbrother. The music on the night took us on a journey, exploring different corners of electronic music from slower paced ambient and tribal selections, all the way up to blistering jungle and relentless electro.
Things did feel like they took a while to get going, with DJs playing the first half of the night opting for more downtempo and stripped-back selections. However, proceedings quickly moved up a gear with an injection of energy as we moved into the early morning slots.
Complementing the tracks on the night saw Printworks’ famed lighting show back in full swing. Descending rigs above the crowd kitted out with dizzying strobes, beam lights and a giant LED screen behind the decks doused the Press Halls in colour. Sound systems on the night were also tuned to perfection, pumping crisp and clear beats which rumbled through your chest throughout the venue.
Seeing the crowd fully immersed in the rave rather than being distracted by their phones was truly a sight to behold. It felt like we’d been transported back to the 90s – looking around and having no blinding phone torches trying to capture a shaky portrait video (which is no use to anyone) really was a delight. Instead, everyone was appreciating the rave at hand and enjoying the night to its fullest.
The first show of 2021 also saw Printworks’ brand new room Inkwells in action for the very first time. A real highlight of the event for us, this new space will quickly be making a name for itself as one of the top places to rave in the capital. To sum it up in a sentence, imagine the raw illegal rave aesthetic of the car park at Tobacco Dock merged with the gritty pillared warehouse feel of E1.
A really cool concept by Printworks and one we’d be keen to see return in future, either as part of the “Redacted” series, or going one step further and implementing the same rules across their other programmed shows. The absence of any phones or social media disturbance certainly added to the experience and changed the whole dynamic of modern day clubbing. Could we see more of the same happening across other venues in the UK?
Words: Ben Lovejoy
Cover image: Image taken from a previous event – © Photography by Gemma Parker