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‘Ethereal’: LeithLate19 Moon Party review

ByCulture Collaboration

Nov 19, 2019


Walking into LeithLate’s Moon Party, we were met with free UV paint, adhesive diamantés, and temporary tattoos. Of course, we’d come ready prepared with glitter under our eyes, but that didn’t stop us heading straight for the decoration station. Within moments, we and all the other guests were transformed, ethereal creatures of the night, ready for whatever the enigmatic Moon Party had to offer.

Walking in, we saw a smashed piano artfully discarded outside the front door. Indeed, The Moon Party marked the beginning of Leith Theatre’s installation of the Pianodrome, a fully functional and even playable art piece comprising a circular spectator stand made from upcycled pianos. Keys, strings, pedals and all were reconstructed into the audience’s seats for the evening, our vantage point for the series of spine-tingling performances taking place in the middle of the circle. Live music, an LED circus act and a transcendent DJ carried us through the evening and into the early hours. Set within the chilly walls of Leith Theatre, a church-come-performance space, the Moon Party was nothing short of bizarre: both everything and nothing we expected.


Ethereal singer Lizabett Russo began the evening, weaving layers of harmonised vocals into spooky melodies with deft use of her loop pedal. Russo was accompanied by Graeme Stephen on guitar, who performed his live score to Nosferatu in Leith last Halloween. Equally as enticing were Russo’s personal stories; describing her childhood in Transylvania, she swished her fitted Victorian black coat, comparing it with a vampire’s cape. The two Leith locals were a perfectly spooky duo, capable of entrancing any listener.


Liz, you were great, honestly, but not sure if you got the memo — it’s a moon PARTY. Cue the Chris Lyons Gypsy Jazz Quintet to the Pianodrome’s elliptical epicentre, armed with guitars, trumpet, mandolin, double bass and fiddle. Microphones?, the band scoffed, who needs ‘em — we’re going acoustic. Sip slowly on your mulled punch and whisky — every second of the syncopated swing and funkalicious folk is to be savoured. The Pianodrome transformed from an enclosure of bewitching intimacy into a starry, smiling speakeasy as the talent quintet propelled us along the beginning of our late night lunar ascent.


As decadence set in, the classical hall of Leith Theatre began to house an event increasingly distant from the night’s ethereal beginnings. Think Circus brought along two performers, who presented a display of light and movement nothing short of mesmerising. Entirely captivated, the audience looked on as the couple span round the room encircled by flashing lights, while esteemed DJ Joseph Malik provided the bassy audial backdrop. The two performers eventually left the Pianodrome, leaving the space open for Malik to command a dancefloor with his mix of jazzy and techno tunes as the audience, hours ago sat serenely in awe of Russo and Stephen, flooded centre stage in a riotous party.


For more information on upcoming events, visit leithlate.co.uk/.


This review was written by Maisy Hallam, Reuben Fox McClure, Rory Biggs O’May and Jelena Sofronijevic as a FreshAir Arts x Culture Section collaboration.


Image: Chris Scott

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