Far away from the too-cool-for-school atmosphere of Call Lane and the might-get-your-head-kicked-in-by-a-drunken-fool vibe of the city centre establishments, sandwiched between an industrial estate and a motorway in the grim South Leeds neighbourhood of Hunslet, lies arguably the city’s best club. Beaver Works is fashioned from a disused warehouse and although it lacks embellishment to the point that the basement room actually makes you feel that you’re at a grimy, inner-city freeparty, it only adds to the experience. With amazing music, friendly staff and almost always a great crowd, what’s not to like? Also, once in a while, it get’s taken over by a bunch of total lunatics!

Beaverfest is the brainchild of Freear, the producer for JAM all time festival favorites, Slamboree; the ‘pyro circus rave massive’. Collaborating with him is an ever changing roster of promoters and artists from all over the UK, bringing together huge sounds, enchanting decour and even, in the case of Herd Of Cats, toilet karaoke. This weekend saw the tenth incarnation of the night, which has garnered a BreaksPoll nomination this year for Best Small Event, and suffice to say, it went the fuck off. With the Eden Festival crew hosting the main stage, Manchester badmen Nuff Vibes locking down the bar room, Lowdown & Dirty cramming the basement with top quality DJ’s, the lovely people from Preston Madhatters doing their thing in the fourth room and Pyroceltica flinging fire around outside, there was literally just too much talent in the building to fit comfortably into this article, so we’ll have to give you the cliff notes.


Ushti Baba couldn’t be more from Bristol if they tried. Comprised of a set of extremely talented musicians playing an impressive array of instruments including Accordian, Violin and Beatbox, they kick out foot stomping Balkan melodies with a Jungle breaks edge and Christ on a bike, do they keep the crowd dancing! With so much going on in the arrangement and with such eclecticism, there is always the risk that the parts wont gel into a cohesive whole or of that everything will sound a bit muddy but the quality of the band’s musicianship and their palpable energy, seemingly having as much fun as the audience, meant that Ushti Baba were one of the most engaging acts of the night. Definitely worth checking out at the earliest possible opportunity.


Slamboree Soundsystem occupied the hottest slot of the night and more than rose to the occasion. A stripped down, flyweight version of Slamboree’s circus-like full glory; imagine an insanely talented vocalist with a range that would have half of your average gospel choir pack up and do one, singing and spitting over one of the filthiest mash-up DJ’s around and then throw in two charity shop bling, gold lamé covered booty dancers (the one and only Booty Skool Dropouts) to hype the crowd and generally just look very fucking cool and… well, that pretty sums up the set. Sweaty, smiling faces were everywhere by midway through but there was absolutely no let-up, jumping from one dirty beat and soaring vocal to another, punishing the calves of anyone in the mood to skank, which was anyone within earshot. Basically, banging.


The final main stage act that really caught our eye here at JAM was China Shop Bull but, to be honest it was largely due to the fact that, with a set time starting after three in the morning, we were just surprised they were all still conscious let alone able to play instruments! A Ska Rave juggernaut manned by six, quite frankly unhinged individuals, complete with horns, synths and a dude in a Mexican wrestling mask, they destroyed the stage; the brass/bass heavy and very funky ‘Brain In A Jar’ as well as the balls to the wall ‘Bite The Hand’ were particular favourites. The crowd never once stopped going crazy from start to finish but in all fairness, by the look of the band, everyone was probably too shit scared to stop dancing.


In terms of DJ’s, this night had it all in terms of quality and diversity, from Glitch-Hop to Jungle, Dubstep to Funk, with two great promoters in the shape of Lowdown & Dirty and Nuff Vibes, running the show. Half of Manchester’s Drop Productions boys were rocking the decks in the bar room, playing bass heavy, floor filling tunes with plenty of amens, wearing massive, massive grins. It’s obvious how much these guys like a party and live to extend the feeling to anyone who wants to get involved, their enthusiasm is infectious judging by the response to these consummate entertainers and we at JAM strongly suggest you check them out. Ocelus has to be one of the hardest working DJ’s and producers in existence, certainly on the Leeds scene. The head musical honcho for entertainment crew Happy Slap Boutique, his mash-up sets and inventively idiosyncratic productions have been getting him quite a name up and down the country in the last few years. Working the 7am graveyard shift with a heavier, darker, more glitchy set than usual, his love for his craft shone through even at dick o’clock with a well chosen bag of records and hell of a lot of technical skill; we urge you to drop some cash on a ticket for any night who’s line-up he’s gracing.

In essence, medium sized underground events don’t really get much better than this and it feels like a shame that it isn’t on more frequently, maybe that would ruin it though; it feels special when Beaverfest comes around. One of the biggest assets of the night is that it is a community undertaking with a huge pool of talent to draw from; although the artists at Beaverfest 10 were all excellent, the next line-up will be a different mix, as will the next and the next. The only thing that remains consistent is the quality of experience. We here at JAM intend to be on the dancefloor of as many more as we can get to and we hope to see you there with us.

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Words: Benjamin Paul,   Images: Scott M Salt,   Additional Images: Benjamin Paul


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