The Last Dinner Party at Hebden Bridge, 4/3/24

The most talked about rising stars in the country take over the Trades Club for a memorable evening in support of War Child

When I was a child, I never felt like a child,” sings Abigail Morris onstage at The Trades Club, mic held aloft, head tipped back, her other hand raised and posed like a dancer’s. She’s all in white, sleeves and skirt billowing. There is a red ribbon tied at her throat.

“What did you feel like?” from the crowd. Morris breaks character to smile.

I felt like an emperor!” she declares.

There has been a mystique around The Last Dinner Party almost since they first appeared on the live circuit. They were in the top half of festival line-ups with only one song released on Spotify, and had an individual and highly specific fan culture before the wider public had even heard their name. These few lines from ‘Ceaser On A TV Screen’ go some way to representing what it is that people have fallen in love with – this is music about women who don’t go quietly, who won’t diminish themselves, who will be loud and dramatic and perpetually overdressed without apology. Now, with the release of their debut album Prelude To Ecstasy, they’re poised to become the biggest new band in Britain – which is what makes it so strange and so wonderful to see them here, in this small room in Hebden Bridge.

The Last Dinner Party - Caesar on a TV Screen

It isn’t unprecedented – War Child’s concert series has always brought big acts into small spaces for special performances like these. But this one feels particularly special. The Last Dinner Party have made a career from being larger than life, combining a love of vintage themes and styles with an innate knowledge of what appeals to this generation of listeners. It seems from the outside at least that they’ve risen about as fast as it’s possible to rise. As such, they’re fantastic at what they do, and yet still green and earnest. For all the theatrics they employ and the presence they hold onstage – which is a powerful one – they still very much feel like a young act, at times giggly onstage, teasing each other, laughing over technical difficulties and still figuring out how to vamp without announcing to the crowd that that’s what they’re doing. It’s a point in their career that they will never and can never revisit. It’s a fascinating thing to witness.

The Last Dinner Party - Sinner (Live Performance)

Morris does a stellar job fronting the group, walking the line between genuine and affected in her performance so expertly that it’s hard not to feel that many frontmen could learn a thing or two from watching her. This is a very vocally adept group all round, however – their harmony work during ‘Beautiful Boy’ has the room silent as a church – and there are a few points in the evening when Morris steps back and lets other band members take the lead. Keyboardist and vocalist Aurora Nishevci leads a song in her parents’ native Armenian, frankly admitting that she fears losing her connection to her roots. Guitarist and vocalist Lizzie Maryland – from Hebden Bridge herself – gives an emotive speech about her love for where she comes from, which leads into a cover of Catherine Howe’s ‘Up North’. Supported by Morris on harmony, she stuns with a crystal-clear vocal and a delivery wholly from the heart. The applause goes on for so long that she has to politely ask the audience to stop so they can finish the set.

The Last Dinner Party - Nothing Matters

These are the evening’s unexpected high points, but the expected ones – huge singles ‘Sinner’ and ‘Nothing Matters’ – don’t disappoint. The Last Dinner Party have created a debut album designed to be enjoyed live, because the magic of the group is in watching these five young women onstage doing something that manages, true or not, to feel completely different. As they linger onstage after ‘Nothing Matters’ for a second, arms around each other, the room is collectively aware that they might never again play a show this small. They will move on, move up, and reach the heights they quite frankly deserve to. And the rest of us will be telling this story for years.

The Last Dinner Party start their 2024 UK tour in July, including stages at TRNSMT and Reading & Leeds Festivals. Find tickets here.