For many, Cabaret Voltaire and the underground bowels of Blair Street are a familiar haunt, and not simply thanks to the ghostly insinuations. For those sufficiently acquainted to affectionately render it Cab Vol, club nights are renowned as midweek gems, the best place to enjoy quality music and moderately-priced drinks. Until recently however, I have tended to avoid the underground of a weekend. It would take a unique night indeed to charge £10 entry and ensure an enjoyable evening. Sugarbeat however makes even the entry price taste sweet.
The line-up is not found wanting for big names, with the last event headlined by Annie Mac and with previous offerings from the likes of Erol Alkan, Utah Saints and Justice to recommend it, affordability becomes redundant. Starting life as a club night in Leeds, Sugarbeat eventually found its way over the borders and into the underground, mixing what Cabaret Voltaire describes as a 'you-want-your-mates-round kind of vibe'. It prides itself on the ability to avoid a particular genre, instead opting to play music that will ensure the whole crowd have an enjoyable night.
Whereas many other club nights dedicate their DJ sets to a conformed style—Drum & Bass, We Are Electric and so on—Sugarbeat focuses more on atmosphere than music. Pioneers Tim and Jez have described the evening’s musical mix as consisting of old school hip hop, breakbeats and soul, not forgetting the interjections of funk and drum'n'bass.
Perhaps it's the big names, perhaps it's the original edits, but Sugarbeat has been so successful that it has attracted the attention of BBC Radio 1. The event is broadcast nationally, proving the enormity of the evening, both in the corner of the Cowgate and in the spirit of listeners nationwide. With the next scheduled Sugarbeat set to feature Zane Lowe, the evening of the sweetest beats is definitely not to be missed.
Sugarbeat is held monthly on Fridays.