PLAYAZ AT PRINTWORKS: A REVIEW
As this was my first large drum & bass event since the award winning Hospitality in the Park in September 2017, I was very excited to attend another Playaz event. This felt especially pertinent having cut my raving teeth at several Playaz events shortly after turning eighteen. This one was always going to be extra special however, as it would coincide with my first trip to Printworks. Printworks, which opened in January 2017, is based upon a massive industrial complex near Canada Water DLR station in east London. It has a capacity of five thousand and the site was formerly used to print newspapers including the Daily Mail!
But don’t let that put you off! The venue did not disappoint. The industrial feel harked back to the do it yourself rave aesthetic of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The venue consists of two rooms, with some heavy machinery left deliberately in place. The first was a massive, long, and narrow room and featured impressive light displays. The second was tucked in at the back and was much smaller and compact.
Despite the narrowness of room one, it was wide enough to allow a reasonable amount of personal space. This is always nice to see at a rave to offset sweating and potential claustrophobia. Unsurprisingly the room hosted the more established acts. My friends and I arrived just in time for the legendary DJs Randall and Die, who played probably the most diverse set of the day. They delved into some of the new cutting edge material, alongside old school rave classics. I was very happy to hear Die draw for his Number 1 Remix, produced in collaboration with DJ Clipz, and for Randall to unleash Dillinja’s classic Silver Blade. Following this, we were all entertained by Nu Elementz, alongside MCs Eksman, Azza, and Grima, whose set was packed with the latest jump up bangers. It was after this set that revelers in Room 1 were treated to a special showcase from the stars of the new wave of UK Bassline for two hours. Being predominantly Drum & Bass and Jungle enthusiasts, it was at this point that we decided to check out room 2.
Unfortunately for Mollie Collins and North Base, there seemed to be some problems with the sound-system, which was met with chants to turn it up from the crowd. In some ways, this felt like a bit of a throwback to Boomtown’s Sector Six. Luckily the problem was sorted just in time for Playaz head honcho DJ Hype’s set, who never fails to impress with his trademark cuts and scratches. The sound engineer was probably quite lucky to have avoided an angry earful, from a man whose grumpy mood partly inspired the title of Hazard’s anthem Mr Happy. Speaking of Hazard, Hype teased the crowd with several of his dubs which certainly renewed my hope for some new music from the man in 2018.
We then returned to room 1 to hear our final three sets of the day. First, there was Annix & Sub Zero. These two acts really blend well the structured riffs and vibe of jump up with the qualities of neuro and techstep in their productions. Their DJ set naturally showcased a lot of their own material, but they also took the time out to support newer artists, which was nice to see. These included the emerging producers: Kanine, Simula, K Motionz, and Tsuki. It also was sick to hear several Annix dubs, including one with MC Eksman called Buss off, as well as Sub Zero & Limited’s Vibrations; my favorite jump up track at the moment. We then lay witness to a set from Voltage, whose sound is growing ever more popular off the back of his great success with the Kings of the Rollers in 2017. Voltage’s style of jump up is slower and bouncier than other forms. His set therefore provided variety. Voltage also teased the crowd with the Unglued bootleg of High Contrast’s classic If We Ever, which has taken up a high proportion of ID requests in the Facebook group DNBiD recently. Finally, Voltage was followed by SASASAS who provided a high octane performance with vocal accompaniment from the crowd at a number of points, most deliriously when Macky Gee dropped Tour. As they did at Rampage, they dedicated part of their set to MC Stormin who tragically passed away under a month ago on February 19th. They played a special tune with an extended intro featuring plenty of Stormin’s bars and catchphrases before dropping into Macky Gee’s Chicken Neck.
All in all, it was a great day out. Printworks is an absolute must for any raver to visit.
20 March 2018