After 15 years in business the Punavuori staple We Got Beef is closing its doors on 28th of January. Leo Karhunen looks back on why WGB mattered, the Powercuts club night and Lifesaver Records patronage. Includes an era defining Powercuts playlist by DJ Fiskars.
Someone asked me recently, what makes a successful club. After some pondering I’d say the most important factor is shoulders: you need something bigger than yourself to stand on. Sure, if you have money, you can try to build something with marketing, but there’s no culture in marketing: it’s not real.
In my case the shoulders belonged to Lifesaver records¹. The store and the people around it created a platform for creative endeavours of many sorts. There was a real sense of community. You’d organise a hip hop party – the people were there; you’d do a disco party – the people were there; you’d start a club music label – the people would listen. From what I can see this is the real value of a real record store. All music is essentially folk music and through institutions like Lifesaver one can create scenes of shared catharsis. One thing that mushroomed from that platform was Powercuts, our monthly residency at We Got Beef².
At the time of our first party in 2005 I was 22, and to score a residency at Beef was a big thing. Cool bars no doubt have a certain level of exclusivity about them, but there was no posing at WGB. The regulars were interesting characters – and crazy loyal. Every year the same people gathered around for the annual birthday photo: a custom I haven’t seen in the other bars of Helsinki. The musical seed was planted largely by the Lifesaver crew and I’d say this created a high level of awareness of African-American music that defined the level of deejaying, at least for me.
Cool bars no doubt have a certain level of exclusivity about them, but there was no posing at WGB. The regulars were interesting characters – and crazy loyal.
Ultimately, it was the combination of the crowd, the music and the venue that created the (in my opinion) unique “Beef Hop”³ vibe. It was like a hip hop party with all the good qualities of going out and none of the bad ones. It wasn’t really about exploring the latest trends in music but delivering a high quality, action packed mix of blazing tunes. It was a safe environment to try unsafe things. The romantic premise was balanced. There was no macho attitude sometimes associated with hip hop parties, no arrogant weekend warriors. I think therein lies the essence of the We Got Beef experience: there was a certain ease to it, to the crowd and dj’s alike.
¹ A seminal record store that operated in Punavuori in 1999–2009 and. Follow on Facebook for occasional pop-ups.
² The successor of Jump Inn founded in 2003 by Sacha Remling, Kössi Rehmonen and Antti Eerikäinen.
³ Stupid term, I know.
After 15 years in business the Punavuori staple We Got Beef is closing its doors on 28th of January. The final night also marks the 140th incarnation of the Powercuts club night. The Lineup consists of beef hop originators J-Laini, Fiskars, Herkules and VG+. FB
LIFESAVER RECORDS: Helsinki vinyl connection since 1999. ————- Rakkaudesta lajiin vuodesta 1999. Säännöllisen epäsäännöllisesti.