Let’s Eat Grandma – Live In Nottingham
Let’s Eat Grandma are what I would call one most overlooked bands in UK music, and one of the best-named bands in the world. They have three studio albums to their name and have stood out for their unique electronica sound which changes album by album.
I’ve only ever seen Let’s Eat Grandma once. That was at the start of 2019 when they supported Scottish synth-pop trio, CHVRCHES at Nottingham’s Rock City. The two-piece performed for 45 minutes, and the whole 2000-capacity crowd was silent throughout, with all eyes on the band, clapping for each song. But the second the band performed the last note of Donnie Darko, the crowd roared with acclamation, with it being the loudest applause I had ever heard at Rock City, and the loudest standing ovation I had ever heard for a support act – even now. I was beyond impressed, and that was where I became a full-blown fan, to the point where if I wasn’t skint, I would have bought a ticket to this show and gone regardless of whether I was working or not.
Tonight, Let’s Eat Grandma return to Nottingham to play Metronome, the city’s newest venue, in support of their third album, Two Ribbons, a record I was very disappointed with (a common theme for live shows I’m reviewing at the moment!) as compared to its previous more unique and cinematic sounding records, I, Gemini and I’m All Ears, it sounds similar to other less unique electronic artists. I was disappointed because the girls have brilliant potential and it wasn’t at all utilised on this record. But tonight, I hope they can unlock this potential and show off the album brilliantly, as well as their older material.
The set was surprisingly short, consisting of eleven songs, but despite that, Let’s Eat Grandma went for quality over quantity. Starting with their stage presence, which was consistently strong and the highlight of the show. Both Rosa and Jenny were in love with what they were doing, from choreographed dance routines to doing the Macarena on stage in a sophisticated way (trust me, I didn’t think there was a way to not do that dance in a cheesy manner until tonight). What was seriously impressive was that during Donnie Darko, Jenny Hollingworth went into the crowd to dance around, then to lie down in the audience (next to me), lie on the floor where the spectator’s feet were, and get them to help her up. I’ve not seen a presence that unique, creative and formidable in the twelve and a half years I’ve been attending live shows.
What was also incredible was the duo’s fantastic instrumentation. They used a variety of different instruments on stage, such as saxophones, guitars, synthesisers, xylophones and even a child’s recorder, all of which were performed which such grace and passion and handled with such care (except the recorder, which Jenny threw on the stage after she was done with it, which was hilarious!), with not a single off note. The chemistry between Walton and Hollingworth was sublime, from the dance routines to the band chemistry, they got each other perfectly and that chemistry translated well into the crowd. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for their chemistry with the two session musicians, where at some points, I was wondering what on earth they were even doing there. When they did play, they were both brilliantly talented and I’m not dismissing that, but altogether, it’s as though they were on two separate wavelengths. They all played well together, but compared to the chemistry Walton and Hollingworth had with each other, the other two stuck out like a sore thumb.
Moving onto the setlist, and they played some brilliant tracks within the show. As previously predicted, a fair majority of songs performed were from their 2022 record Two Ribbons, and they elevated those songs to sound much better live than on record, but not in the same way as the songs from I, Gemini and I’m All Ears did when I saw them nearly four years prior, but I was vibing with every song they performed. I wanted the girls to perform a few more songs, however, at least one more from I, Gemini and maybe a couple more from I’m All Ears, but the setlist was curated well on the whole. They even performed a song called I Really Want To Stay At Your House, which is a song Rosa released as a solo artist for the Cyberpunk 2077 soundtrack, which is a song I never knew existed until tonight, and it’s now on repeat.
What I also enjoyed was they just let the music do the talking – they hardly spoke during the eleven-track setlist, just performing one song after the other, and I loved that. It added to the sophistication of the set and there wasn’t a big ego trip which some artists do when they talk while performing, they just came on stage, did what they’re best at and went off, and I appreciated that quite a lot. As a personal fan of the band, I loved the show, but as a critic, I couldn’t help but notice vocal slumps throughout the set from both Walton and Hollingworth. They only lasted a second but were continuous throughout the set, but once they performed their phenomenal finale, Donnie Darko, all of that was forgotten and they finished on a high, denoted by the crowd erupting with just as loud applause as they did back in Rock City years earlier. Every artist is going to have vocal slumps during their shows, but what I’m after is how an artist can bring their performance back, and they bought it back with a vengeance, which was all I was after.
Overall, Let’s Eat Grandma’s set was filled with natural talent, charisma and strength with their innovative stage presence, some of which I have never seen in a live show before. They had some brilliant instrumentation and they were great on the whole. However, their occasionally off vocals and the chemistry with the band left the show on a flatter note than one would expect, but the show that they put on tonight was brilliant, innovative and incredibly creative, and their finale was enough to keep the show amazing instead of letting those mistakes get them down. This show was an experience and I want to see them again and again.
- Happy New Year
- Falling Into Me
- Hot Pink
- Hall of Mirrors
- Watching You Go
- Deep Six Textbook
- Two Ribbons
- Give Me A Reason
- I Really Want To Stay At Your House
- Donnie Darko