On 22nd October, 4000 ravers descended upon Broadwick Live’s new East London venue; The Beams. The latest venture from one of the industry’s leading venue operators has got off to a flying start since opening last month. Having already welcomed the likes of Michael Bibi, Patrick Topping, Denis Sulta & Honey Dijon, The Beams is quickly becoming a top destination for international talent.
Last Saturday saw the first of “Beams Presents”, in collaboration with LWE featuring the inimitable Stephan Bodzin at the helm of the show. Playing alongside were more industry heavyweights including Kölsch, KAS:ST, Woo York Live, Joyce Muniz and Luna Semara in the main room. Whilst fast-rising brand Perplex took over Space 2 with Reznik, Parea, Sonus Machina and Ludi.
Nestled amongst the warehouses in East London’s Royal Docks, The Beams is a cavernous warehouse space formerly belonging to the Tate & Lyle sugar factory. Boasting 55,000 square feet of raw and industrial space, the site features virtually all of its original striking features and characteristics, giving that illegal pop up rave feel.
The venue comprises of three rooms – Space 1 being the main warehouse and largest area with natural light bleeding into the room throughout the day until the sun comes down. Space 2; a smaller, darker area doused in moody lighting with concrete pillars dotted around. Finally Space 3 is an additional bar and breakout space, ideal for a quick pitstop and sit down on some comfy chesterfield sofas.
Transport links include bus and underground/overground trains. Pontoon Dock on the DLR being the closest station, with just a 10 minute walk either side. Buses 330, 473 & 474 all stop within minutes of the venue.
Lockers are available on site for storing any personal items for a small fee of £7 (small) or £10 (large) with a £10 deposit which you get back after returning the key.
Friendly, helpful and attentive throughout. Whether it was those at the door whistling through the queues to get people in, or staff on the bar quickly serving drinks with a smile and stewards on hand for any issues. Every worker under Broadwick’s new roof was faultless.
With it being a melodic event, the crowd was noticeably older, with a mix of cultures and backgrounds. Many of the DJs performing hailed from neighbouring European countries, with many of their fans who either live in London or further afield making the journey to see them in action.
At times Space 1 did become uncomfortably hot, however the temperature was unusually high for mid October at 19 degrees. Industrial fans were placed in a couple of areas however they did little for the majority of the crowd. However, as the temperature drops, this should be less of an issue.
A wide variety of food stalls were on offer in the outdoor courtyard of The Beams. Choices from Pizzas (£10-12) to Gyros (£12-16), Fried Chicken (£9.50-10) and fries (£5) to either kickstart your day or give a mid-rave refuel.
Each bar was fully stocked with a range of beverages to quench raver’s thirsts. Upstairs in Space 3, some cocktails were also sold for those feeling a bit more fruity. Prices below :
Beer/Cider : £5.80
Hard Seltzer : £6.30
Cocktails : £12.50-13.50
Water (330 ml can) : £3.50
Electronic cigarettes were also on sale via Vuse, with a selection of flavours and rechargeable Epod device kits. Flavours included Golden Tobacco, Vanilla Medley, Chilled Mint, Very Berry & more.
Production and Sound
Being a new venue, it’s always a delicate balance of tweaking and adjusting the sound system to fit the location. As with any event (especially in a warehouse), the sound improves as more and more ravers fill the room. Throughout the day we could see the production team carefully fine-tuning the system, and we were thoroughly impressed by the DB Acoustics setup across both rooms.
With d&b speakers hanging from each of the beams in the main room, it filled the space with even, warm sound, and aesthetically it looks stunning. With bass bins at the foot of each beam, you get a nice wobble in your chest without it being over powering. It’s loud, but you’re not shouting in your mates ear when you want to say something. Sound was reduced on the bar sides too which was helpful – and a nice bit of respite while you grab a drink. With a melodic techno theme for the day, you could hear the grit in the synths, and the thump in the kicks – just what you want!
Production wise, the main room is bright during the day, with light pouring through wall length windows behind the stage. This enhances the raw, stripped back warehouse feel – so production was minimal for the daylight hours. It’s a really cool space to be in and admire. As night falls and the room gets darker and moodier, the square lighting rig hanging above the main stage comes alive. Spotlights, strobes, laser and wash beams flood the crowd, with haze and smoke creating the perfect atmosphere.
In Room 2, it’s dark from the moment it’s open, meaning production is in full swing from the get go. In similar fashion to the main room, there’s moving beams, spotlights and strobes pumping non stop. D&b speakers fill the room with great sound, again not overbearing, but still giving you that big grin as the bassline kicks in!
Following a perfect opening set from Stephan Bodzin’s wife Luna Semara, Joyce stepped up to the decks with an infectious energy. Playing in full daylight, the Brazilian-born DJ opted for an eclectic mix of house and techno, upping the tempo and energy of the crowd seamlessly.
Dousing the room with pumping melodies and rolling basslines, the drop from a remix of “Wanna See You Sweat” made for some great bass faces!
Afterlife regulars and a staple duo in melodic techno, Woo York were up after Joyce Muniz had built the atmosphere in the room and readied the crowd for a live masterclass. With Space 1 now packed out, thousands strapped in for an emotive and enthralling journey into Woo York’s coveted sound.
Laced with atmospheric lows and nail-biting highs, Woo York played many of the tunes they’ve become world-renowned for including “Paloma” and “Echoes From Beyond”, both receiving a huge response from the crowd.
The melodic wizard, known for his unique live performance, took to the stage with a huge cheer from the crowd. Commandeering the crowd like the captain of a ship, his luscious, uplifting melodies in tandem with crisp analogue drums whipped the dance floor into a frenzy.
Opting for a trusted blend of old and new records, his 90 min set effortlessly glided between pumping melodic techno drops and whirring, grimy synths – all played through his custom midi controller and Moog. Crowd favourites like “Strand” and “Boavista“ had the whole crowd shuffling their feet, while the melody from “LLL” had some ravers in tears! A truly stand out performance.
A titan of progressive and melodic driven music, Rune Reilly Kölsch has been a mainstay in the electronic music scene for decades. With an ever-growing list of iconic tunes such as Grey, Goldfisch, Der Alte and many notable remixes, we were excited to see which would get a spin for his Beams debut.
Closing the venue after Stephan Bodzin, Kolsch kept the energy high with long build ups and hair-raising melodies being a common theme throughout his two hour set. A huge moment came from around half way into the performance when he dropped “HAL” and the entire room erupted.
What a fantastic new venue from the minds behind Printworks; Broadwick Live. The clear windows in Space 1 which let light flood the dance floor add a dazzling new dynamic to daytime raving in London. While it’s sad that Printworks is due to close (for a few years at least), we’re excited to see The Beams step into the limelight and kick off a new series of parties. It could well be the next London behemoth which we’ve all been waiting for. With a large outdoor space for seating, toilets, bars, and food as well as cavernous inside rooms the venue is an ideal raving spot.
It’s great to once again see the dream pairing of LWE and Broadwick working together, we’re always impressed with the operation of their events. With a likeminded crowd and friendly staff, we saw smiles across the room for every single performance. While The Beams did get quite warm at times, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue as we move into the winter months. We will definitely be back!
Words: Ben Lovejoy & Eliot Harris
Images : Jake Davis