Reviewed: King Of The Rollers ‘Royal Rumble’
Saturday the 13th of November 2021 saw something very special happen in London. Kings Of The Rollers took over Printworks for their biggest Drum & Bass showcase to date. This fell exactly 561 days after the original date, 1st of May 2020! When it was originally announced back in May 2020, we were rife with anticipation for one of the most stacked line-ups we had seen in ages. However, due to the infamous COVID-19 we, unfortunately, had to wait until November 2021 to finally step foot into Printworks for the main event, the Royal Rumble.
Now when you give Serum, Voltage and Bladerunner (KOTR) the chance to take control of a venue like Printworks you best buckle up and get ready because there is no doubt it is going to be one hell of a ride and boy did they deliver. Showcasing some of the finest talent the Drum & Bass scene has to offer right now matched with a seriously crispy sound system and illusive visuals, it was, without doubt, a contender for the rave of the year.
As always with Printworks the day usually starts about midday and rumbles all the way through until 11pm so it’s safe to say it’s no sprint. We arrived at around 3pm and got things rolling straight away in the Press Halls with a little bit of a set from the ages. Drum & Bass legends, Micky Finn, Aphrodite and Brockie ran us through a wicked selection of fierce jump-up and classic dubplates with none other than MC Trigga on hosting duties, effortlessly setting the tone for the start of the day.
Giving us no time to breathe, up next in control was one hell of a back-to-back. S.P.Y, Doc Scott and Randall with a favourite of ours, SP:MC on the mic. Three absolute monsters behind the decks and a lyrical technician who know just how to please a crowd. If you like dark, techy infused jungle beats then this was the set for you. Packed with enough jungle breaks, moody rollers and technical numbers to make anyone draw for a gun finger. As expected we were gifted a singalong moment with S.P.Y’s ‘Metrik (Ft Rothwell) We Got It (S.P.Y Remix)’ and of course who could forget S.P.Y’s ‘Bad Monday’, it really doesn’t get much darker than that. The three in control were effortlessly transitioning from one another to provide us with a seriously gruesome selection of tracks. It was the perfect set to take us into the evening.
Up next was a set that we had been waiting for, ever since the line-up was announced. A back-to-back between Halogenix, Workforce and LSB. You only have to look at the three names mentioned to realise how seriously good this set was. Each artist brought their absolute A-game to the party with a wide variety of production styles on show. As you would expect, the dark, melodic liquid numbers were flying out like no tomorrow. It was the perfect switch up following two incredibly heavy sets and a nice way to bring the tone down for a little bit before the headliners took to the stage. Despite the eclectic selection of liquid tracks on show, don’t be fooled, this set was far from tame. Halogenix brought the heat with a spin of his ‘Kings Of The Rollers – Shella (ft. Chimpo) (Halogenix Remix)’ remix whilst also spinning a ridiculous selection of dubs. Workforce, who’s been absolutely caning it following his time with Spectrasoul, made his mark when he dropped a massive Alix Perez dub featuring vocals from T-Man and LSB was met with a huge crowd reaction when he dropped his gully VIP of ‘LSB – Potshot’. All eyes were on the headliners for the day, but this set was special, it was the perfect set-up for the main event.
It was now time for the main event. Kings Of The Rollers hosted by Inja. Now unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 4 or so years you’ve probably already seen Kings Of The Rollers a handful of times and are wondering if this set would be any different. Well, let me just say, this was without a doubt the best Kings Of The Rollers set we had seen to date. The whole set as a spectacle was just absolutely insane. The introduction to the set was ridiculous, the intensity on the drop was unrivalled. The bass coming out of the sound system was so huge you could literally feel it rumbling your insides and who could forget the lighting and pyrotechnics show. The lights were moving up and down, fire was blasting out the top of them, it was absolutely going off inside Printworks. The trio in control were serving up a fierce selection of their own productions whilst gracing us with some new releases such as ‘Kings Of The Rollers – Somebody Else Part 2 (Ft. Lydia Plain). The set as a whole was the perfect example of how to live up to expectations. It felt like a proper journey led by Kings Of The Rollers. Moving us through a range of emotions, dictating our every step. It’s hard to pinpoint the best parts out of a set that was so flawless but Serum’s remix of ‘Bou & Trigga – Veteran’ has got to make the cut. A proper wobbler. Special mention has to go to Inja who once again hosted the set perfectly, providing us with a wicked lyrical performance. Let’s be honest, Inja never misses when it comes to hosting a Kings Of The Rollers set.
The final set of the night came from another trio of artists who have been on everyone’s radar for a while now. Benny L, Harriet Jaxxon, and T>I. These three stepped up and gave us no chance for recovery. As usual Benny L dragged Printworks into the darkness with his hard-hitting productions, Harriet Jaxxon showcased her insanely good mixing skills and T>I delivered some technical steppers. The three of them stepped up to the plate and delivered what was the perfect closing set to a ridiculously good rave-up. One unforgettable moment has got to be when Benny L doubled ‘Benny L – Vanta Black’ with ‘DJ Die & Break – Slow Down VIP’. Cold cutting jungle breaks combined with the hard-hitting bass of Vanta Black. Insane.
It was hard to put into words how good this event really was, it was one of those ones where you just had to be there. If you were one of the lucky ones who managed to go, I’m sure you are, like myself, still scrambling through videos, fighting off those post-rave blues and counting down the hours till the next one. I’m sure Kings Of The Rollers have already started planning their next London Royal Rumble and we can’t wait for it.