Live music has a long and storied history with legendary performances. Ones that saw bands ascend to new heights, that were unique in nature or document a very specific shift in the musical landscape. Some live in infamy, the stuff of folklore and legend, some became iconic and have remained that way. We all know of shows like this and we’ve likely all experienced one in our time. Why is this important? Because tonight’s show is such an occasion.
On the eve of the release of their debut album Prelude to Ecstasy, London quintet The Last Dinner Party are playing their biggest headline show at The Roundhouse. There is a palpable and undeniable buzz in the air tonight long before the festivities even begin.
On supporting duties tonight we have Frankie Archer who casts a dark spell over the audience with her bleak, twisted folk music. It’s a haunting and spine tingling start to the evening. On the completely opposite side of the spectrum, Heartworms bring their brand of goth electro pop to a more than receptive audiences in a brief but enchanting set, coming across like the twisted step child of Kraftwerk and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
It would be a very significant understatement to say that the change in atmosphere that greets The Last Dinner Party is nothing short of chill inducing. Opening with an acapella rendition of Beautiful Boy, before the full band comes in, is an evocative and deeply emotional way to start the show, also an incredibly bold one, the album has not dropped and this is a song the audience is not familiar with, but it works so well and sets the mood right from the off.
Throughout the course of the hour long set we are treated to all the big songs with a confident and triumphant Caesar on a TV Screen, a fragile On Your Side, while Sinner and My Lady of Mercy both cause the place to erupt into a throbbing mass of limbs when they drop into the set.
Burn Alive and Portrait of a Dead Girl, despite being album tracks, are old live favourites from The Dinner Party days (before the band became The Last Dinner Party). They feel familiar yet still so fresh and new. The years of them being played have really embedded them into their fans’ subconscious. They sound fantastic tonight, although it feels a little odd not having Burn Alive as the set opener.
Performance wise The Last Dinner Party are absolutely flawless this evening. Vocalist Abigail Morris glides around the stage completely lost in the music. She is effortlessly engaging and totally magnetic. The rest of the band bring an unparalleled energy and are so in sync with each other, that even the more well known of the bands songs take on a new life being played with such passion. The last three years of touring and becoming a well honed live band has benefited them greatly.
Before the night is over we will be treated to a three-song encore featuring the Elysian Orchestra conducted by Aurora, stepping out from behind the keys, as they run through the instrumental title track of the album. A rousing Godzilla with all of it’s pomp and swagger provides another highlight before the inevitable set closer of Nothing Matters see’s everyone in attendance lose their minds, while confetti fills the air and roses thrown from the crowd rain down on the band.
Tonight was an incredibly special evening. The Last Dinner Party have been an upward trajectory over the last 12 months and tonight was the culmination of everything that they have been working towards. They came, they saw and they conquered in the most spectacular way. This show was proof not only of what an incredible and captivating live band they are, but also as a testament to the community they have cultivated around them and what a deep connection they have with their fans. Live shows do not come much more transcendent and euphoric than this. (10/10)
The Last Dinner Party will be touring the UK later this year. For tickets and more information visit the official The Last Dinner Party website.