Feist – Queens Hall Edinburgh

Leslie Feist is an artist in the truest sense of the word. She’s not only a great singer and talented musician but she also embrace’s her stage show with both hands and adds a twist of the theatrical to her live performance with a few nice artistic touches. The Queens Hall in Edinburgh is an old traditional theatre with high ceilings and a wrap around balcony that suited the artistic theatrics of Feist’s live show perfectly.

After support act “Lawrence Arabia” performed the stage glowed azure blue and a rectangle screen was positioned in front of the microphone stand awaiting her arrival. At around quarter past nine the venue fell dark and a birdcage flashed up on the projection screen. As it opened and the birds flew out Feist appeared onto the dark stage holding only a candle and was greeted with a warm round of applause. The scene was to say the least beautiful as she cried out “Help Is On The Way” silhouetted behind the screen. The disco ball then switched on to stunning effect and the rest of her band joined her onstage to play an up tempo version of “When I Was A Young Girl”. She then spoke to the crowd announcing “this songs about a coastline that looks a lot like yours, I wrote this about Nova Scotia” before playing “Mushaboom” from 2004’s “Let It Die”. While she performed a stagehand stood on a chair behind her and threw white feathers over her head adding to the spectacle as she picked meticulously on her acoustic guitar. Previous single “My Moon My Man” was accompanied by a live video of the internal workings of the piano, as it played onstage. The Pianist also took up the electric guitar half way through the song and had a face to face guitar duet with Feist. One of my personal favourites “The Park” was introduced by saying, “This is about Arthur’s seat, which I climbed today”. Her hushed vocals swirled around the venue as everyone watched eyes transfixed on yet another moment of real beauty.

Midway through the gig she heard some fellow Canadian accents in the crowd and proceeded to play a guessing game trying to distinguish where in Canada they came from, which she was pretty successful at. She also showed she has a sense of humour commenting “When in Rome do what the Edinburgers do” followed by a “mmmm tasty”. It was hard at times to draw your eyes away from the projection screen that had constant changing artwork that was created on a light box by two very talented stagehands. “I Feel It All” was such an occasion, it sounded reminiscent of a pirate style sea shanty and was accompanied by a real time painting of a ship on the projector. As the guitar became more furious the sea in the picture rose and engulfed the ship. It really was one of the most visually interesting gigs I’ve ever had the pleasure to attend. The band then left the stage and Feist got the crowd to start a chant of “Did I, Did I” as she played a lovely solo version of “Intuition”. The band then returned for the song that brought her to the mainstream “1,2,3,4”. Playing a variety of brass instruments along with piano, guitar and drums the aural cacophony was a delight to witness and continued into the heavy jam laden set closer of “Sealion” which saw the band at their most loose and energetic.

For the encore the screen was repositioned on stage and once again a silhouetted figure serenaded us and charmed a smile on the face of everyone present. Finishing with the brilliant “Let It Die” Feist yet again proved that she is much more than an iPod advert, and the sooner that everyone else realises this fact the better. Thank you Leslie for providing the musical accompaniment to a great day in the Scottish capital.

Ross Cunningham

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