The Next Big Thing In RocknRoll

…and she’s from our very own backyard!

 Brihony Dawson looks as though she was born into the role of front woman and songwriter for her band Last Mistress. Commanding the stage with her gravelly voice and boundless physicality, it would be easy to assume that the Frankston-homegrown singer was born with a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a microphone in the other, or lulled to sleep by The Rolling Stones on vinyl. This notion is of course, entirely hyperbolic and far from the truth. Ahead of the band’s debut album release Blood, Sweat & Fears, PEARL hit up Dawson for some insight to the character behind the force that is Last Mistress. 

“In terms of getting into rock ‘n’ roll at a young age, it didn’t happen. I’m almost the opposite of a classic rock ‘n’ roll story I guess. Rather than having a mic thrust into my hand, I always just sort of held my friends captive as my audience in conversations, and I was involved in all the school musicals from a young age too. Funnily, I always seemed to be cast as a man…”

With the title of ‘mistress’ defining a woman in a position of authority and control, it makes sense that Dawson’s provocative and sassy attitude would be the driving force behind the band, a trait that was fostered in her upbringing.

“The angle that we try and push for the band is for people to identify with a strong woman. In my upbringing, my mum actually would never let anyone give me gifts like a vacuum cleaner or an ironing board because she didn’t want me to think to think that those things were all I was worth as a woman. Musically, my idols are Joan Jett, Chrissy Amphlett and Deborah Harry, all those really strong females who broke the mould of rock and roll and said ‘it’s not just a guys world, I’m going to show you what I can do as well’.”

Indeed these musical icons, in particular Chrissy Amphlett of The Divinyls, are the very artists Dawson is likened to in terms of sound and stage presence, a big kudos for the young rocker. Confronted with this comparison, Dawson replies with a mix of delight and grounded logic.

“I love it. The fact that anyone would even compare me to women of that magnitude is massive, I am completely inspired by them, but at the same time I am my own person and I have my own things to say.”

The last year has seen Dawson split her time writing and recording tracks between in LA and Australia, penning tunes for Blood, Sweat & Fears with a range of different musicians. Another Song saw Dawson join forces with Gina Schock, drummer of legendary all-girl rock band The Go Gos, while collaborating with Grammy-Award winning producer Jeff Bova and renowned engineer J.J Blair on other parts of the album.

“I really like that collaborative process of writing with a bunch of people, you get that new flavour with every song you write…I never write for a particular reason, I seem to get something in my head and I have to say it, almost like it’s not a choice. I think it’s important to not fit into any box also men throughout history have been writing about women in their songs, saying; ‘they do this, they do that…’ – I want to write about that – I want to write about women and doing crazy stuff because that’s my life.”

Rock ‘n’ roll has long been a ‘man’s world’, and while the line up of band members has changed a few times, one constant has been an all-male backing for the leading lady mistress. Rather than undermining the importance of Dawson as a powerful female force, the strictly male support of her band accentuates the control she exudes as a singer and group leader, orchestrating each performance with joyous energy and unyielding authority. Currently joining her on stage is lead guitarist Bryan Murphy, rhythm guitarist Ben Webster, drummer Ale Adams, and bassist Ken Hennessy, who has been with ­Last Mistress since its conception.

While the album is set for release on October 18 at Melbourne staple Revs (aka. Revolver Upstairs), October 12 will see the band take on Channel 7’s Weekend Sunrise to promote their sound, in what will be the bands first ever road trip. While the morning show might not be the band’s typical venue or key demographic, Dawson chuckles and explains that she’s grateful for the exposure and support. In a similar vein, the band’s recent Pozible campaign demonstrated immense support from a range of different people, peaking at almost $2000 over the goal target of $3500.

“I was blown away by the contributors. People I worked with – for maybe six months in Ballarat, ten years ago – pledged $100, and I was like, ‘what?!’ It was really uplifting to know that those people saw that I was doing something and believed in me enough to give their hard earned money to the cause. It was inspiring, a lot of work goes into the campaign but I’m so grateful to everyone who pledged.”

See Last Mistress launch their album with full force in a high-energy show at Revolver lounge on Friday October 18. Find out more at



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