Above & Beyond return to Printworks London for farewell outing 👋
As the news of a final season swept through dance music fans across the UK and afar, a scurry of ticket buying and advanced weekend planning kicked into action. The iconic Printworks London venue was announced to be heading into a farewell run of events, and unveiled a stacked programme of industry heavyweights and notable labels across all genres running until May 2023. No grand finale would be complete without an injection of trance to the venue, with legendary group Above & Beyond called up to take over the Press Halls last week.
Formed in 2000, the trio is composed of Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness, and Paavo Siljamäki, and have enjoyed monumental success with their pioneering progressive trance sound. Evolving alongside their Anjunabeats label, the three have grown into new projects in more recent times; Jono launched his JODA project alongside Darren Tate (aka Jurgen Vries / DT8 Project), Tony started his Fingerprint alias, and Paavo reignited the P.O.S name under which he released years back, with a new album coming soon. Whilst their solo explorations have been bubbling away, however, the trio have come together to work on new music, with the Printworks crowd hearing an abundance across the two days.
Wednesday saw proceedings started by Dutch starlet Laura van Dam, before a duo of duos – anamē and Kasablanca – continued to wet the appetite of the Surrey Quays attendees. The latter brought their revered live set to the Press Halls and were undoubtedly a highlight of the night, performing tracks like ‘Am I Dreaming?’, ‘In Sequence’, and their remix of an Above & Beyond classic: ‘Black Room Boy’. After the modular synths and launchpads were cleared from the stage it was time for the main event, with Tony and Jono rising to the sound of their 2022 Progressive Mix of ‘Satellite’ by OceanLab [their project with Justine Suissa]. A thruple of label releases preceded new music, with an instrumental track titled ‘Vlekno’, ‘Crazy Love’ with Zoë Johnston, and ‘Heart Of Stone’ alongside Richard Bedford all to follow. Further highlights included Jason Ross’ recent Anjunabeats return, their 2020 release of a ‘Blue Monday’ club remake, and the Maor Levi remix of ‘Chains’ ahead of the big track of the night – ‘Angry JP8’. The record marked the trio’s first new release of 2023 and was later unveiled to the world on DSPs at midnight. An influx of new music, remixes, and recent favourites continued before the grand closing of years gone by making a return: the timeless Push The Button moment to ‘Sun & Moon’.
The following night was kickstarted by regular opener and Anjunabeats HQ’s very own Amy Wiles ahead of anamē – made up of Marcus Schössow and Thomas Sagstad – and Kasablanca once again setting the crowd alight. With Wiles premiering new music, including an upcoming Anjuna release alongside Leena Punks, Schössow and Sagstad turning Printworks into an underground club, and the neon-soaked, retro sound of Kasablanca elevating the anticipation to a new height, Tony and Jono certainly had to come out firing. Taking to the stage with their staple remix of Dirty Vegas – ‘Tonight’ followed by ‘Counting Down The Days’, the pairing firmly made their presence known. Drifting effortlessly through a flurry of IDs, label releases, and A&B favourites, the energy in the SE16 hotspot was electrifying. Sandwiching new track ‘500’ between the ‘Bittersweet & Blue’ Club Mix, ‘Northern Soul’ and ilan Bluestone’s ‘We’re All We Need’ remix ahead of a momentous Push The Button brought hysteria upon the Anjuna faithful, before a trip down memory lane to finish: the 2011 Club Mix of ‘Thing Called Love’ transitioning into ‘On A Good Day (Metropolis)’.Few would ask for a better send off to the landmark venue than a double dose of Above & Beyond.
Printworks’ legacy is well founded around the world, with music fans travelling just to witness one last night at the unique event space. The long and narrow nature makes this venue a sight to behold for a keen music enthusiast, and whilst its closing will leave a space in the London nightlife scene the many late nights, day parties, and showcases will live on for years to come.
The only question now is… will it return?
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Image Credit: Reddit (r/S23Ultra_Photography)