The Last Dinner Party: The most hyped band in Britain left speechless at tiny gig in Bristol shop
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The most hyped British band for years certainly had plenty to prove at this intimate gig in the hot and sweaty back room of a Bristol record shop.
Unless you’ve been spending time on another planet in recent weeks, the name The Last Dinner Party will already be familiar.
They’ve recently scooped the BRIT Awards 2024 Rising Star award, their debut album, Prelude to Ecstasy, is tipped to be number one this week and forthcoming American gigs are selling out fast.
Throw into the mix the fact they’ve already supported The Rolling Stones and Nick Cave and their management company also looks after the likes of Metallica and Muse, and it’s not hard to see why their rise to the top has been so fast and meteoric.
The five-piece female band who met during university freshers’ week in London during the pandemic are currently the hottest band around and there was certainly an air of anticipation in the room at Rough Trade, where 200 fans crammed into every corner to catch a glimpse before queuing to meet the band afterwards.
But it wasn’t the full band. Bass player Georgia Davis couldn’t make it due to a bad bout of flu but the band had placed a framed photo of their absent friend on the stool where she was due to sit.
And it wasn’t a full-blown performance (they actually did that at the Fleece a few days ago) but an intimate acoustic set of eight songs.
Not that any of this mattered as the crowd knew every word to every song. At one point, singer Abigail Morris quipped that it felt like the band were actually guests at the fans’ gig.
And with their floaty vintage dresses and cat eye make-up, this all-female quintet of recent students look as much a part of the audience as the fans themselves, which adds to their charm and relatability.
With so much luck on their side, there might be a few accusations that they are no more than a manufactured band who will fall as rapidly as they have risen but this is a band with plenty more to give.
And the big difference between The Last Dinner Party and other one-hit wonders is that there is some serious talent in the band.
In Lizzie Mayland and Emily Roberts, they have supremely gifted guitarists and classically trained pianist Aurora Nishevci would easily give Kate Bush or Tori Amos a run for their money on the ivories.
But it is charismatic singer Morris who rightly catches the eye with her total command of the stage, even if the Rough Trade stage was a fraction of the size of those she’s used to appearing on.
Morris has a fantastic voice with a broad range and she moves around the stage like early Siouxsie Sioux. Comparisons with Stevie Nicks and Florence Welch are close to the mark, too, as is the 70s glam rock theatrics of Sparks or Bowie.
The brief set was essentially a greatest hits of the band’s career so far with Beautiful Boy, On Your Side, Caesar On a TV Screen, Sinner, Portrait of a Dead Girl and crowd favourite Nothing Matters all performed acoustically but each attracting mass singalongs.
Despite the tiny stage and being within touching distance of the fans, it was still a gloriously theatrical performance from Morris who was clearly speechless at the fact the audience knew the songs so intimately.
And there was even time for a cover - a hauntingly beautiful rendition of Chris Isaak’s 80s classic Wicked Game, with Mayland’s shimmering guitar as good as the original.
The Last Dinner Party had a lot to live up to but they completely nailed it. They may be the most hyped band around but based on this performance it’s entirely deserved and there seems to be no stopping them now. Watch them soar this year.