The Last Dinner Party Brought Fun and Creativity To A Sold-Out First Avenue


Photos by Laura Buhman

I have talked about bucking many of the “major trends” in music before. It’s not that I don’t care about what’s current and going on in the scene, but more that I’ve spent too much time and energy chasing acts that are merely a flash in the pan. I hate the feeling of skipping out on a solid local show to go see the “next big thing” when calling that act the “next big thing” ends up being as far from the truth as possible. All that being said, the second that a friend told me about The Last Dinner Party and how they would be making a stop at Minneapolis’ First Avenue as part of their first-ever U.S. tour, I knew this was one that I couldn’t miss.

Before I get into The Last Dinner Party, let’s talk about the opening act—Miss Grit. There was something super mysterious and almost alluring about Miss Grit’s performance that utterly captivated me. Born Margaret Dewey Sohn, Miss Grit is a Queens, New York-based musician with a clear talent and an endless amount of creativity. You felt, heard, and saw her creativity throughout her quick thirty-minute opening set on Thursday, loud and clear.

Let’s first talk about the amazing yet understated visuals throughout her set. The stage and room were dark, except a light projected on the stage. This light would dance around in tandem with Miss Grit’s electronic sounds in a beautiful way, creating these images across the dark backdrop and Miss Grit herself. The visual of only getting bits and pieces of her face at a time just added to the air of mystery around this woman. It was a super easy way to add a theatrical effect to the set. I am surprised that this was my first time seeing something like this, but it won’t be the last time. Even if bands start doing this more, I don’t think they will do it as flawlessly as Miss Grit did on Thursday night.

Now, let’s talk about what was heard and felt throughout the set. The amount of passion that Miss Grit puts into everything she does is jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring. The way she could make her guitar sing in the same sense that she herself was singing left me absolutely floored. Sure, there were a lot of effects happening throughout the set giving the overall vibe of the music an almost electronic influence yet there was something so raw and emotional about it at the same time. I wish I had the right words to describe all of the things I felt throughout Miss Grit’s set, but I don’t. Honestly, it was one of those sets that just had me so mesmerized for so many reasons, and that’s more than I can say for a lot of sets that I see.

Are you unfamiliar with the baroque-pop scene? No worries, I was too until I started to dig into The Last Dinner Party. Baroque-pop is just what the name would lead you to believe it is– a mixture of modern pop music and classical baroque-styled music. I know it’s bizarre, but this description is what instantly intrigued me about The Last Dinner Party. I’ll be honest: the style wasn’t as quirky as I wanted it when it came to their live show. That being said, I didn’t spend much time with their recording prior to the performance, so I really don’t have much to compare it to, but I will say that they lit up a sold-out First Avenue in a beautiful way on Thursday night.

I would say that musically this band landed more into a standard indie-pop scene. That being said, there were intricacies that added a little chutzpah to this band that kept me hooked. There were also the amazing outfits being worn by everyone on stage. I definitely got the baroque-pop style from the outfits alone, which was more than enough for me.

The performance from this U.K.-based five-piece band was stunning, exciting, and full of life. Vocalist Abigail Morris is a hell of a front-woman. There’s really no other way to put it. Although I found my eyes constantly darting across the stage so as not to miss a single moment from any of the stellar performers in this group, they always landed on Abigail. There was something so over the top about the way she pranced around the stage, but, at the same time, it all felt so natural. Her movements, as dramatic as they may have seemed, matched what was pumping through the speakers in such an organic way that it made you feel like you should be moving the same way– and people in the audience were.

One of my favorite things about Thursday night’s set was the way the audience was so captivated by The Last Dinner Party. Whether they were dancing along to the infectious indie-pop songs or screaming along to the words in a way that drowned out the actual performers, the excitement throughout First Avenue was palpable. This wasn’t a show that you decided to go to at the last minute; this was one that took planning. What I mean by that is that this was a night out for nearly everyone who was in attendance. From the outfits that clearly took some creative thought to how people were attached at the hip to their best friends, I loved that The Last Dinner Party had brought an event to town, not just another concert.

Whether or not The Last Dinner Party is just a flash in the pan that will only last for this one album before fading out, I am glad I got to spend my Thursday night with them. It was a fun night that breathed a sense of life into me with every beat that passed.