Jamie Jones, Hot Since 82, and Marco Carola headlined Drumsheds’ first venture into Paradise, as they graced the gigantic venue’s opening season with a star-studded performance that showcased its potential of being one of London’s most coveted raving spaces in the electronic music circuit.
Photo Credit: Jake Davis / Khali Photography / Rob Jones
The newly opened Drumsheds boasts an astonishing capacity of 15 000, owing predominantly to the venue re-purposing an IKEA building and turning it into a monumental cultural centre that defies belief. The sheer size of the venue impresses you with a sense of unprecedented glee as you walk through the winding roads that lead to the centre of the halls. When finally entering the venue, one wonders how much can harness the vast space that they have acquired, with cultural creativity seemingly boundless in such a humongous space. Nonetheless, the enormous scale of Drumsheds’ ambition promises to attract and entertain for years to come, and we are only at the very beginning of their journey.
The Paradise roster was scattered across 3 rooms, with each one offering its own distinct aesthetic and feel. The largest hall, room X, is reminiscent of Printworks’ main stage yet amplified to exorbitant proportions. An endlessly long horizontal screen provides the backdrop to the DJ’s massive stage and envelops the room with an air of grandeur and awe that is befitting of the most prominent names in the electronic scene. Bontan, ALISHA and wAFF started warming this room to an anticipating crowd that arrived in numbers to witness Drumsheds’ first forays into the cultural milieu. These three acts set the prevailing musical of room X, blasting through their sets with rhythmically stomping grooves which pandered to the taste of large crowds looking for an ear-deafening yet consistent sound.
Meanwhile, room Y drew its crowd due to its more compressed yet equally jaw-dropping stage design. This hall exhibits a much lower and compact ceiling but seduces you with a similarly intoxicating light show and screen which radiates brilliant colours into the narrower yet immensely drawn and elongated room. Lauren Lo Sung and ANTSS occupied the early stages of this hall’s introduction to the day and flashed through more syncopated mixes which flowed through quicker tempos and more rhythmically complex sounds, complemented by entrancing synthesizer leads.
The final room Z evokes the atmosphere of a small underground warehouse storage room and presents ravers with an opportunity to shift their experience to a more intimate, grimy and experimental setting. The DJ’s desk is located behind metallic bars which separate the ravers from their conductor and adds to the already abandoned and gritty tone of the room. Gaskin and Robert James provided the apt musical embodiment in the form of old-school house sets which played on crunchy drum kits, rumbling bass frequencies and minimal synth progressions.
Thus, these three unique halls were primed for the latter half of day, beginning with Italian stalwart Marco Carola rocking room X with a fiery and ebullient mix, incorporating tribal chants with funky percussion interplay to set out his vision of modern techno. He was followed by Richy Ahmed who dropped a succulent rendition of Skrillex, Fred again… and Flowdan’s ‘Rumble’, sampling the now iconic ‘”Yo, listen, hear that? Killers in the Jungle” line from the track. Ahmed continued to dabble with throbbing kicks and snappy vocal samples, electrifying the jam-packed hall with a distinctive trip-hop house aesthetic which was immensely energising.
Over in room Y, Kolter upped the ante with a noticeably faster pace, delving into the realm of minimal breaks and jerking the crowd into action with crisp transitions and expert mixing chops. Toman did not drop the intensity once he led the decks, indeed accelerating with a rowdy synth-laden tech house fusion and ferocious bass spits. He subsequently delved into a more disco-oriented sound, adding funky basslines and vocal samples on top.
Room Z finished the night off with the successive trio Jaspar James, Manda Moor and Cassy, each set picking up where the other left off adding their own identity to the overall underground and old-school vibe. These mixes come the closest to a truly techno style, emphasising the kick on each beat and feeding into more explorative yet immersive sets.
Archie Hamilton played a back-to-back set with Seb Zito to emphatically end proceedings in Room Y, bringing the house down with a thumping ode to tech house heritage. Room X treated viewers to a box office finale, witnessing the prowess of Hot Since 82 and Jamie Jones in providing a scintillating end to a day in tech house heaven.