Edinburgh's Hogmanay review: Night Afore Disco Party: Sophie Ellis Bextor & Altered Images, Princes Street Gardens

Sophie Ellis Bextor brought turn-of-the-century disco nostalgia to Edinburgh’s Night Afore celebrations, writes David Pollock

Night Afore Disco Party: Sophie Ellis Bextor, Princes Street Gardens ****

With Edinburgh’s Hogmanay bedding in again after two years off, and new (old) operators taking over the event, this smaller-scale party in Princes Street Gardens the night before felt as though the support acts for the following evening’s Pet Shop Boys extravaganza had been moved ahead 24 hours to provide a full-scale live dry run.

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Neither Sophie Ellis-Bextor nor her support act, Scotland’s own Altered Images, would be out of place on the same bill as the PSBs, offering a blend of party spirit and nostalgia. Yet had this been a pre-pandemic bill, Ellis-Bextor likely wouldn’t be in contention. A pop star for 25 years, her live-streamed Kitchen Disco lockdown covers series reinvented her as a national avatar of Cool Mum energy.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor opened Edinburgh's Hogmanay festival with a headline gig in Princes Street Gardens

Ellis-Bextor layered against the cold stylishly, with a long silver-sequinned dress and an overcoat which might be described as “Hogwarts disco” – and the songs for which she’s most well-known were layered in smoothly to her set, including Take Me Home, Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer) and Murder on the Dancefloor.

Her own Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) fitted into a medley with Modjo’s Lady (Hear Me Tonight) and Moloko’s Sing It Back, bringing turn-of-the-century disco nostalgia, and Hypnotised (“like Abba on crack”) was dedicated to its in-attendance co-writer, Scottish producer Pete Furguson aka Wuh Oh. The encore of Baccara’s Yes Sir I Can Boogie appeared specially designed to thank a Scottish audience.