Since rehousing The Kazimier from its levelled and lamented original setting, the Invisible Wind Factory has provided a space for original and creative artists and gatherings. The New Rituals Winter Ball fits this bill. It uses the space imaginatively, although they certainly took the title to heart and made it winter inside as well as out. A few more 50 pence pieces in the meter might have gone some way to heating up this awe inspiring space.
Considering the event’s presence on social media, it’s surprisingly off to a quiet start. There’s a lovely atmosphere though; everyone’s happy and up for a good time and, as it fills up, it’s clear that some have taken the theme of iridescence to the next level – there are some incredible costumes which could surely win prizes somewhere. The info released beforehand states that one of the aims of the night is to “stimulate the faculty of imagination and discovery on a new kind of ceremonial setting”. It’s a bold claim, which the night achieves but it all seems a bit serious. After all, it’s essentially just people in shiny shoes dancing with a pint.
STEALING SHEEP’s links to the creative heart of the city run deep and they are well-established artists for this audience. As Wow Machine, they provide an innovative and thoughtful set. Humour and self-awareness are sprinkled liberally as they stand in pearlescent Lycra onesies atop a three-tiered wedding cake surrounded by extras from Blake’s 7. They wouldn’t look amiss in a packet of midget gems with their pink, yellow and blue net bonnets.
It’s all rather art-school inspired and at points cult-like with band and dancers in role throughout, moving in synchronicity before limbs move in stepped times with a Daft Punk-esque edge (or should that be Dada-esque?). It’s well practised and effective with the three members of Stealing Sheep sighing breathlessly in harmony.
The night continues with duo DOGSHOW, on a rotating stage which is pushed round eagerly by the most enthusiastic of the revellers like a roundabout, possibly in attempt to keep their core temperature above freezing. It has a carnival atmosphere with the keyboardist and drummer going for it. If this was back in the centre of town with its pure joy and beats, it’d be packed out every weekend.
As can be expected from something produced by The Kazimier, the light show is captivating. The lights and lasers are like UFOs above the revolving stage, creating a beam which seems otherworldly, almost matching the euphoria of the sparkling crowd.
It’s definitely a fascinating night, which is rough round the edges in all the right ways: there’s a mix of frivolity and coolness which does have its charms. Undoubtedly Liverpool needs this type of venue and this type of night; it would be a much less interesting place without it.