Brotherhood Sound System
Friday 8th March
The last time I saw the Brotherhood Soundsystem, it was alongside the likes of Youngsta & co, during the Osiris edition of Subdub a while back. However last weekend it was their turn to take centre stage for their very 1st Birthday extravaganza.
At this point, Brotherhood is already a well-loved aspect of the Leeds bass music scene and this was pretty evident by the turnout on the night. In the space between 11:30 and 12:15 the venue went from “getting there” to completely packed.
It’s worth noting that this was my first time at the Beaverworks venue. There was a really nice industrial feel to the place, with massive fans on either side at the front of the main room as well as a nice moody feeling in the basement with low ceilings and old fashioned light-bulbs in cages, intermittently flashing to create a dark, cool atmosphere. The main room also featured an awesome concave square projector surface (that’s the best I can do to describe it), surrounding the DJ booth with all sorts of trippy graphics projected on it throughout the night. At the time I assumed it was a staple part of the venue, which was always there, however after a chat with George Hartson (one of the main men behind Brotherhood) he revealed that they had built it especially for the event with the help and expertise of his friend Haydn Robinson. For me it felt like another bit of personality which Brotherhood make a point of injecting into their events to make them that a bit more special.
Apart from the notable headliners, the majority of the acts were made up from Leeds’ own, which felt appropriate given it is the same case with Brotherhood itself. Hijinkx was one of the first sets of the night and did a great job of kicking everything off, mainly because it didn’t feel like one of the typical early sets you generally see (i.e. empty-ish room, people anxiously waiting for headliners). The room was at capacity 20 minutes into the set and Hijinkx played some classic bangers to keep the vibes going at their already naturally high level. Some of the highlights from his set included Mr Oizo – Flat Beat (sounding as fresh as it did in ’99), CRW’s trance anthem I Feel Love, Redlight’s Source 16 and of course the multiple Destiny’s Child remix’s he dropped to great effect. There were some sound issues at the start of the set as sometimes happens, but they were smoothed over by the Hijinkx’s song selection and mixing.
Following on from Hijinkx upstairs, Dark Sky took over the basement, keeping well in line with the moodiness of the area. He kept a cool rolling progression in his set, with everyone seeming to zone into his tunes with deep focus. Phaeleh however, took to the decks upstairs with his signature style of chilled, meditative beats. Like with Dark Sky, it really suited the vibe of the room and it was great to hear some of his biggest songs on such a good system. His remix of Rudimental’s Not Giving In, Afterglow and my personal favourite of his, Lament all saw airtime, with the crowd swaying and swelling with a lot of enthusiasm. Vibes were at a peak. He topped it off with an unexpected last song, one of the all-time anthems of Dubstep – Anti-War Dub– catching me off guard in a very good way.
As the night went on, the brooding and deep sounds of the two main acts accelerated into some seriously high octane Drum and Bass, courtesy of Onset & R.King, who - along with Hijinkx - are home talents of Leeds’student community. The switch up in velocity provided a welcome energy boost to the night. The basement was on fire with the two dropping some classics mixed in with the cutting edge of the Drum and Bass scene. Some of my picks from the set (although there were a lot to choose from) would have to be Capone aka Dillinja’s Friday, Commix – Be True (one of my all time favourites) and of course Dub Phizix’s I’m A Creator – a tune guaranteed to make the room go off (and go off it did). I managed a quick word with Onset to see how he felt about the night and from what he said, he felt the same way as me and probably everyone else there:“Brotherhood was mad, everyone was up for it”.
As the night drew to a close with some welcome garage played by Dan Hills, the venue was still near capacity; a testament to how much fun the crowd was having, in fact the only reason I left 15 minutes before the end was purely to avoid cloakroom/cab queues. Either way, most people were singing Brotherhood’s praises, and rightly so. Happy Birthday Brotherhood, I can’t wait for the 2nd.
Review by Arthur Seaward
Image courtesy of Brotherhood SoundSystem