Friday night and the lights were low, as SG Lewis took to the stage at Printworks. The producer forms part of a 40 show season of events for the Surrey Quays venue – named, Redacted – that will run through to Christmas. Club culture is the focus here, with the shows aiming to take visitors back to basics. You have us so far Printworks.
SG (AKA Samuel George Lewis) shared the line up with Salute, 2ManyDJs, Bklava, Gerry Read and Dot Major (of London Grammar fame). With Sam performing live earlier on in the night, and then playing a DJ set in the early hours, fans were in for a treat.
And what devoted fans SG Lewis has. Joining the fray for his 9pm live set, it was striking how many people in the crowd knew all the words; and how many had turned up this early for a 3am finisher. People were able to dance in space – instead of pogoing like sardines – thanks to the tickets on the door still up for grabs. The atmosphere was friendly, respectful and controlled because of this; the only blot on the horizon a pint of beer thrown half-heartedly into the metallic rafters. SG Lewis paid homage to his audience, radiating energy, precision and poise down the old printing halls. It was all very nice.
Wandering outside, we found food stalls and rehydration stations aplenty. The best of the bunch: the BULLDOG Gin Courtyard, offering freshly made cocktails to discerning customers. Having been to Printworks a few times before, these upgrades to the experience are revealing. This is a venue that concentrates on the details, offering a high class service that does justice to the calibre of artists it hosts.
However, back inside, the niceties of SG’s live set had simmered to banalities. There was general confusion over who was playing, as set times became up for interpretation. The fact the night had not sold out became a detractor, as whoever was playing struggled to fill the long stretch of industrial corridor. Having said that, hats off to SG Lewis, who returned to whip up those at the front in preparation for Dot Major. Printworks also fired up the lasers, but these seemed to splutter and falter – a far cry from the intensity of their purpose.
On calling it a day, we passed groups of the loyal fans we’d seen earlier for SG’s live show. They were heading back into the main room, brimming with energy and gleeful to be returning. Although the venue may not have suited the light touch house on offer, it’s clear SG Lewis’ fans will follow him anywhere. Even to the darkest of printing halls.
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Words: Sophie Church
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