Only last week it was reported that the number of illegal raves in London have doubled in the last year.

And given the volume of clubs that have closed in the capital in the last 5 years, it’s refreshing to have Printworks (a 3,000 capacity former news printing facility) back for its second run. Anticipation was high after Printworks gave us one of our favourite live sets from last year– but given the size, just providing top talent doesn’t always guarantee a smooth ride.

Our latest exhibition focuses on the 2018 inaugural party which was left in the capable hands of The Hydra, who secured a top-notch line up, spanning some familiar hands (Kerri Chandler, Lindstrom, Prins Thomas, and John Talabot) along with some contemporary club players, who are all arguably cruising at altitude (Red Axes, Job Jobse, Tiger and Woods, Taraval and Dolan Bergin).

Despite being an afternoon and early evening event, after you’ve made it into the main room, all sense of time starts to get lost and it could just as easily be the small hours of the morning.

Red Axes delivered more of a big room friendly set than their slower more psychedelic offerings and helped to ensure that by 8pm everyone was well into the party and the mood to come.

The main room’s long rectangular shape meant that even towards the back your experience of the laser and light show wasn’t compromised and ducking out of the dancefloor to sip a Beavertown beer wasn’t that much trouble (craft beer at a rave reminds you that you’re still in London).

We bobbed in and out of the smaller room during Prins Thomas’ 3 hour set, and despite an initial overkill on the bass, the vibe was cosy and deep, reminiscent of the inclusiveness you might feel at Block9 during the small hours.

Given the dramatic contrast in size from the much bigger main hall, this space needed to do something different and pitting Lindstrom, playing his blend of cosmic disco live, against the peak of Kerri Chandler did just that.

Given the many masks of John Talabot (known for legendary disco sets, slower bpm electronic music, and not quite dance music that you can still dance to), it was an enjoyable surprise to see him play an unashamed techno heavy set, a style that we can’t remember him playing in London for years.

This was pitched so perfectly within the line up, so by the time Kerri Chandler took to the stage, he could play plenty of vocal heavy house and familiar classics.

Certainly qualifying as one of the best events we’ve been to in London this year, we’re already looking forward DJ Harvey’s takeover of Printworks on the 19th May. Aptly called Harvey’s Discotheque, the disco legend will be joined by Skream, Peggy Gou, HAAi and Jaye Ward, plus very special guests Hot Chip who present their latest project Megamix. See you there!

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Words by Pierce Calnan