The Last Dinner Party | Authentic rock exuberance

The success of British group The Last Dinner Party was so sudden that some gossips suggested that the London quintet was an “industry creation”. The young musicians quickly set the record straight and do so invariably with each sold-out show, as will be the case Friday at the MTelus.

Even before the launch of their first album Prelude to Ecstasy Last February, The Last Dinner Party made enough noise with its first singles to win the BBC Sound of 2024 honors following a survey by the British public broadcaster of 140 musicians and industry experts. The group thus joined an impressive line-up of artists who have since reached star status – just think of Adele, Lady Gaga, Dizzee Rascal, The Weeknd, Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish and Lewis Capaldi. A few weeks later, the quintet received the title of revelation of the year at the Brit Awards.


The members of The Last Dinner Party, from left: Abigail Morris, Emily Roberts, Aurora Nischevci, Lizzie Mayland and Georgia Davies.

This is huge for a band who first performed in November 2021 in front of a handful of people in an obscure London tavern. Three months later, The Last Dinner Party signed a record deal a few days after the release of a video shot without their knowledge by a documentarian during another concert held in another tiny venue in the southeast of the British capital. However, it is by listening to said video that we realize that everything that currently explains the success of the group was already in place: appearance, performance, music, The Last Dinner Party was a turnkey project for Island Records .

We formed the band as friends and we put a lot of effort into everything we do. We’re invested in every aspect, whether it’s our acting, our writing, our clothes and even our music videos. We really try to be 100% involved.

Emily Roberts, guitarist of The Last Dinner Party

Thus, even the crazy baroque look so characteristic of the group is the result of a creative process that belongs entirely to the group. “We dressed like that just to go see shows,” rhythm guitarist Lizzie Mayland tells us with a laugh. It kind of became our dress code, so we continued with the same look in the group. This is actually how we found our name, in reference to the decadent and slightly grotesque image of festive dinners that we sometimes associate with this era. »

The members of the group also tell us that they are delighted to see their fans dressing in the same style as them. Emily Roberts maintains that there are also a lot of dads who come to see the concerts with their daughters: “It’s so cute, I love it,” she tells us, laughing. It’s really the kind of show where I would accompany my father myself, that’s for sure! »

Rock, a girl’s thing!

This theatrical exuberance also has its source in the group’s musical influences – they immediately name Queen, David Bowie, Kate Bush, Florence and the Machine and Metallica. “We all listened to a lot of rock growing up,” Lizzie Mayland tells us. Even though we have different musical backgrounds and approaches – Georgia and I have no musical training while Emily has a degree in jazz guitar and Aurora in classical composition – we have common interests that define our way of composing. »

Keyboardist Aurora Nishevci explains to us the creative process for the first album, which generally started with the melodies laid down by singer Abigail Morris who accompanied herself on the piano before bringing it all together as a group. “Lizzy did the vocal harmonies, I took care of the orchestral arrangements and Emily wrote her guitar solos,” she emphasizes.

Guitar solos, that’s something that seemed to be on the verge of extinction, right? “Abby wanted guitars in the group from the start,” confirms Emily Roberts. I also found it a bit strange that someone was specifically looking for a lead guitarist, because that hardly exists anymore these days. It’s not the 1980s anymore, after all! But it’s good to be able to show our playing in this context, and I like being able to impress the gallery,” adds the guitarist, very discreet in fact, with a laugh.

Coincidence dictates that The Last Dinner Party visits Montreal two days after the visit of Olivia Rodrigo, another proud representative of generation Z who is blowing hard on the embers of rock. “There have been other women who have made rock music over the years, just think of the riot grrrl movement of the 1990s,” Aurora Nishevci tells us. There are so many female rock groups at the moment, or even groups in which there are women. It’s coming back in force, we can really see it now. »

At the MTelus Friday evening


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