Reviewed: Kaoz at Printworks
Back on Saturday 9th March, the renowned Printworks was scheduled to open its doors once again for another spectacular party. Pencilled in for the event was none other than boss man Kerri Chandler who was set to bring his highly acclaimed Kaoz label, for an entire venue takeover!
With the main man himself on headline duties, he had enlisted a top lineup of highly respected DJs, all with reputations of delivering fun-fuelled sets. This included Motor City Drum Ensemble, Skream, Tama Sumo & Lakuti and Dyed Soundorom. A very special live set was also arranged for Mr G, bringing his infectious funk-filled energy to the main room aka ‘The Press Halls’. In the more intimate ‘Dark Room’, revellers were to be treated to an array of underground heroes and rising talent with Muallem, Grainger, Ceri and Moses all featuring on the line-up.
We arrived at the venue at about 3:45pm, and as usual were in and through security within a matter of minutes. For anyone who has read my previous reviews on Printworks, you will know that I am a big fan of the way security is run at the venue. I have heard countless people mention that it’s never a pleasant security experience – I think they might be attending their local printing press instead of THIS spectacular location.
We had arrived with the intention of catching the start of Skream’s set at 16:00. After seizing some drinks from the bar, we shuffled up the stairs and out into the Press Halls. Perfect timing – he had just stepped out into the booth. With the knowledge that Skream is extremely versatile with his sets, it was still a slight surprise to me when I first saw him on the line-up alongside the likes of Kerri Chander and Mr G. They have some pretty different styles, so to see what he had planned was always going to be interesting.
For the opening minute of Skream’s set, things all seemed pretty relaxed. You could see him smiling at the front of the room, which was filling up rapidly. A whisper started to echo out of the sound system and you could feel a drum roll start to build up from behind the vocal. As the roll reached its peak, a sharp burst of three chords rang out across the crowd, and the place erupted. As the track dropped, a pounding house beat could be felt driving through the mass of bodies. The crowd exclaimed at the huge red face that had now appeared on the massive rectangular visual set up, behind the booth. It had begun!
The next hour from Skream was a mixture of fast-paced funky tech, with a selection of particularly energetic disco, slotted in perfectly. A specific highlight of mine was when he played ‘Mental Geller’ by The Phantom’s Revenge. Skream absolutely killed it and his ability to get the crowd going as much as he did, whilst at the same time flawlessly falling in line with a similar style to the rest of the acts on the line-up – its nothing but raw talent.
Next to step out on stage was Tama Sumo and Lakuti, as a double act. Unfamiliar with both artists, I was intrigued as to what the next hour would entail. As the minutes passed, the crowd experienced an array of particularly groovy left-field beats, reminding me of the likes of Metro Area. This particular style of left-field has its roots thoroughly embedded in post-disco R&B and Italo disco. It is certain to get you moving, let me tell you that! After about 20 minutes from these two wonderful artists, I was getting so into the set, I decided I needed to get a better look. A few of us headed off for the backstage area in order to get a little closer at the action. Once we reached the stage, you could see a crowd of people surrounding the duo, smiles on faces, shuffling to the groove that was pounding out through the room. The sea of people laid out in front of the booth were dancing in a way that I have never seen before at Printworks. This was taking us back to the true days of disco and it was magical! Pure positivity was resonating throughout the space, and Tama Sumo and Lakuti had us all in palm of their hands.
As their set sadly drew to a close, it was now time for the act that I had secretly been most excited about seeing. I say “secretly” – I think everyone I was attending the event with probably knew this for the past few months! My first time experiencing what Mr G is all about, was the first time I saw his Boiler Room set on Youtube. Some of you may be familiar with this particular video, but for those of you who aren’t, let me give you a few details. The clip’s sound is incredibly distorted and the video quality also isn’t particularly good. However, the live productions that Mr G lays down in this video have never failed to get me moving and grooving, no matter where I am. Mr G’s infectious live beats are laden with throbbing funky bass lines alongside a mixture of high hats and snares, which he tends to add whenever he feels appropriate. Now though, it was time for the real thing. No distorted sound. No grainy picture. Just a grooving Mr G in the flesh.
The next hour had me in my absolute element. Mr G ran us through some of his regular productions with his infamous vocals echoing out through the halls. ‘If House Is A Nation’ was a particular highlight. The beat and the vocal work so well, and with those delayed intermittent claps that run over the top – it’s a true groover. Standing on stage, it was also very easy to finally witness some of the notorious Mr G dance moves. This guy can move let me tell you that! Embracing his productions with every inch of his body, this guy did not stop moving for the entire hour he played. One moment he was standing up next to the decks smashing his head up and down with his bucket hat on, the next he was in the booth moving from side to side like gravity didn’t exist. To say I am glad that I finally got to witness this master at work, is a sure understatement. I would say an hour’s worth of Mr G is by far a better alternative to 3-4 hours of some particular producers – you just can’t beat it. We were also particularly lucky that evening, as Mr G had decided to bring a new track just for Printworks. This track doesn’t yet have a name I believe, but the vocals ‘we drink too much that’s why we dance too much’ with a classic Mr G bass line was nothing but spectacular. Definite future hit right there!
It was now time for boss man Kerri Chandler. As Mr G and Kerri exchanged a hug, Kerri pulled out his keyboard and proceeded to add an additional layer to the final beats of Mr G’s set. Kerri started out with his selections continuing a similar vibe to what we had experienced for the last hour. Using the lower end of his keyboard, he pounded out some slightly darker productions for the first part of his set, embracing the huge dark space that is Printworks. As we moved into the second half of the set, things started to turn more vocal, with those classic happy piano vibes bring yet more smiles to faces. Feeling it was an appropriate time, we headed back out into the crowd in order to fully embrace the magic that was currently going down. As the lights lowered down towards the crowd on the huge trapezes that they sit on, it suddenly felt like a much more intimate space. I would say this was probably the peak of Kerri’s set. As ‘In My System’ blasted out across the crowd, everybody was up and jumping, holding nothing back as that saxophone truly brought the party home. What scenes!
With Kerri’s set drawing to a close, he left us with one final treat. Finishing with Chic’s ‘Lost In Music’ he had the whole of Printworks singing their heart out. Again, I have never witnessed this at Printworks before, but I guess this had been nothing but a special night. Motor City Drum Ensemble then took to the stage to bring us a final set of house, disco and techno. Bouncing between the decks he proceeded to play out euphoric tracks such as Krystal Klear’s ‘Moonshake Minor’ which was an amazing way to bring the night to a close. As the lights came up and people started to shuffle out of the venue, all you could hear around you was the buzz about how special the night had been. With a world class line-up, new music, a crowd that had given 100% throughout, and a venue to match the magnitude of talent that had been present, it had been flawless.
Thank you Kerri Chandler, and thank you Printworks.