Above & Beyond deliver spellbinding performance to Printworks London

Amassing a reputation as a truly premiere clubbing location across the space of the past 24 months, London’s Printworks venue is quite simply – a nightlife spot like no other. A grimey disused warehouse set across an industrial estate in East London, you’d be forgiven for associating this setting with anything other than the glitz and glamour associated with EDM’s biggest acts. Primarily a strictly techno-only venue, Printworks has been used as a home for the likes of Paul Kalkbrenner, and Jamie Jones, since transforming into a 6,000 capacity dance music location, but with 2017 marking a dip into the waters of EDM – following Steve Angello‘s set at the location – 2018 heralded the much anticipated UK return of deadmau5, with 2019 now seeing the arrival of the superstar Anjunabeats trio, Above & Beyond.

The first thing that immediately strikes the first-time visitor to Printworks is the true unique nature of such a venue within Great Britain. Whilst more central London locations pride themselves on the decadent VIP table service of iconic clubs like Ministry of Sound, here lies a building that echoes eery haunts of Berlin’s iconic Berghain, and the minimalistic German techno genre which has dominated the city for decades. Piling through the former loading bay, where lorries would pick up freshly printed newspapers from the now slowly-dying newspaper print trade, the crowds made their way through a converted cloakroom and into the grungy, yet staggering, main room. There are few venues across the world which can leave attendees in open-jaw awe for the first hour of the night – Ibiza superclubs included – but Printworks is certainly a pioneer; a hidden gem of East London’s suburbs, that shines brighter than even her most glitzy English cousins.

Striding into a main room so long, yet narrow, it could easily be mistaken for a steel-clad Cathedral, Printworks prides itself on what appears to be a mile of space between the floor, and neck-strain inducing high-ceiling. Where most rivals would fill this void with 3/4 floors of Mezzanines and VIP balconies, Printworks is a drawback to the days of old. A place to dance, and nothing more. So simplistically brilliant, that it is surely now setting the tone for every competing venue to learn from. Through the darkness, two stars shined bright. On this occasion, it was A&B duo Tony and Paavo who took centre stage, with Jono presumably saving his energy for the second night of the double-Printworks weekender.  Having headlined the biggest stages in the world, including New York’s Madison Square Garden, Wembley Arena, and the Creamfields Steel Yard in Finsbury Park last May, the prog-trance icons are certainly no strangers to providing a crowd with a unique blend of both the beautifully emotive, and the atmospherically high-tempo.

The former came in the shape of tear-jerker ‘Little Something’, a 2015 ballad originally dedicated to the memory of Jono’s deceased sister Charlotte, with the group setting up the ‘Little Something’ fund in honour of her daughter. Despite the trio rarely playing the emotional production in their live sets, the intimate family vibes of their Anjuna meeting in their home-city of London felt like the perfect time to revisit such a special Above & Beyond track. Blending in a range of their biggest hits including timeless classic ‘Sun & Moon’, the duo also found time to air a range of the biggest anthems from their recent album ‘Common Ground’ and a selection of records from both their old Ocean Lab days, and their fellow Group Therapy artists, including Grum, Cosmic Gate, Gabriel & Dresden, Ilan Bluestone, and many more.

Once again proving themselves as the masters of the big occasion, Above & Beyond’s Printworks performance was a defining moment in the career of the trio who will stage their ABGT350 event in Prague this Autumn, with the UK based Anjuna family now eagerly anticipating their specially curated Anjunabeats stage at August mega-festival Creamfields this summer!

(BA Hons Journalism), 30, London. NCTJ-accredited journalist and dance music lover specialising in interviews, features, editorial work, and reviews. www.journojake.com

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