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The Last Dinner Party + Miss Grit - Royale (Boston) - March 24, 2024

25 March 2024

The Last Dinner Party is the latest in a long-running series of hyped-UK bands, and they hit North America for their first proper tour, kicking off a show in Mexico City last week and wending their way eastward. They touched down for a scant few shows in 2023, playing some small clubs in big markets but it wasn’t until this year when a real tour was launched.

It’s easy to lob assertions of major industry muscle pushing a band and building hype to get a band this white hot so soon, and while most overseas bands with just a single LP to their credit can’t begin to even think about swinging an overseas tour that involves flying between NYC, LA and Chicago, to their credit the group of five females put a lot of work into their live shows. They honed their craft and played dozens of shows in the UK and Ireland until the dam burst, Island released the debut record, and they played a ton of shows in Europe last year.

The Royale can squeeze about 1300 people in it, and the all ages crowd that packed every square inch of the room and unmet demand could have easily filled a venue twice the size tonight. Though unlike previous shows there was no enforced dress code (and I would have flunked that test spectacularly), plenty of attendees spent time and effort for just the right dress, hair style, and shoe choice to match the outfits on stage, and some of their moms hung out at the back of the room, waiting for the concert to end. Had the band members kicked off their clunky, high-heeled shoes they would have lost at least three inches of height.

After coming out on stage and hewing tightly to theme to the ornately orchestral recorded track “Prelude To Ecstasy”, the band played the next seven songs from the record as per track listing. With just one LP to play, there wasn’t a lot of mystery as to what songs would be performed but they put a definitive stomp to it. Their live show was theatrical, Abigail Morris twirling around, swinging arms around so her loose-cuffed sleeves flowed like mercury around the stage and the band was tighter than a banjo G string.

At times the screams of the crowd threatened to drown out the band, but that was never in question when the five piece roared back to life between songs. Morris definitely has watched a few Queen videos but their touch on glam rock was decidedly female, to the assertive approval of the fans. As an old geezer, it’s kind of nice to see such fervid devotion to a new act, and the band has a pretty bright future in front of them.

Miss Grit (the stage name of Margaret Dewey Sohn) was the hand-picked opener on the tour and Morris was effusive in her praise of Sohn, saying she and the band was fortunate to see her play every night. Playing alone on the stage with a patterned light splaying shadows across her face and just a digital sampler to keep her company, the teeth-rattling beats formed the foundation for her intricate guitar playing; if St. Vincent listened to deep and slow techno this might be the outcome.