The marrying of Printworks, the most talked about venue in London nightlife right now and The Hydra, arguably London’s foremost promoter, was always going to herald an afternoon of top-grade partying.

Without doubt one of the strongest dates on Printworks’ current run, this daytime event provided ample opportunity to see if the inordinate number of social networking posts proclaiming the venue as the saviour of London’s nightlife carried credence.

The fully soundproofed shell – which once held the old printing press of The Daily Mail and The Evening Standard – means that you can’t hear even the slightest shudder of a sub until you’re inside the building. Still, once you’re beyond the – very good – security it’s hard not to be slightly overawed by the grandiosity of the venue. The space, far longer than it is thin, is flanked by hulking machinery and pillars. By 5pm, the party was in full swing to the sounds of Joy Orbison’s varied selections.

It’s all very well securing a venue with the capacity to hold 5,000 ravers but actually producing an event worthy of such a space is where Printworks have really stepped up. The sound throughout was on-point, but it was the lighting production that was a cut above. Searchlights beaming from the ceiling, moving rectangular lighting bars and clever use of disco balls – all were put into service of illuminating the huge space.

So far, line-ups at the venue have focused much more on big room techno/tech-house which are naturally suited to rooms of this size. By contrast, The Hydra’s line-up showcased a number of different flavours; Floating Points’ majestic switches between hi-NRG disco cuts and tougher house flavours presented a masterclass in not playing it safe while Daphni’s selections veered between his own Caribou productions (Sun) and current crossover bangers (Denis Sulta’s It’s Only Real).

There’s been much talk about London’s clubbing landscape, with dancing options becoming significantly reduced in recent times. To spend a wet Saturday evening swept up in what is likely to be the future of big-scale London clubbing gave rise to an all too rare feeling: a genuine sense of hope.


Photos: Jake Davis