Let's Eat Grandma

Let’s Eat Grandma

Last time I saw Let’s Eat Grandma (LEG for simplicity and word count for the rest of this piece) I was in pain. It was a Monday night in April 2018 at the Deaf Institute, and I’d just cycled over from playing 5-a-side where I’d fallen awkwardly on my wrist. It was throbbing intensely as I took a seat at the back, holding it gingerly, not really participating in applause because it was too sore. However, LEG were so utterly spellbinding that night I soon forgot about my wrist based woes, utterly mesmerised by the duo of Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth who utterly smashed it. I awoke at about 4am that morning in quite considerable pain, hot footed it to A&E, and reader, sympathy please, I had broken my wrist. The lengths I will go to to see live music know no bounds.

Cut forward four and a half years, and I’m giddily awaiting the arrival of the duo at Yes, memories only of how good that gig was, not of how much it hurt being there. Since then they have released their third album, Two Ribbons, a kind of friendship break up and getting back together album where the chipper melodies mask the turbulent lyrical content. Hollingworth had tragically lost her boyfriend to a rare form of cancer, and she told the Guardian that she felt her and Walton ‘were fundamentally misunderstanding each other somehow’, and they wrote the songs for it separately for the first time ever. You wouldn’t be able to tell from this brilliant performance that anything had slightly been amiss with the duo, it’s a purely joyous celebration of friendship and wonderful music.

It’s all there in plain sight though. Take the jubilant opener ‘Happy New Year’, a huge bouncy pop with these lines:
‘And nothing that was broken can touch how much I care for you / because you know you’ll always be my best friend / and look at what I made with you’


‘Been thinking a lot about that / how I’d want the old us back / it’s ok to say what you wanna say / and that we’ve grown in different ways’

A celebratory song of reconciled differences, it’s quite the start. They nail a phenomenal ‘Hot Pink’, one of the finest songs of the last five years or so, here made bittersweet by the sound of the future pop production of SOPHIE, who is immensely missed in the world of music, a person who brought out a thrilling new side to LEG and so many others. ‘Falling Into Me’ is pure drama, ‘Watching You Go’ is one of the finest examples of a sad banger around, and a reminder of just how beautiful Hollingworth’s voice is; clearly about loss, it’s a minor miracle she can perform this night in, night out to an audience.

The two switch around vocal and instrumental duties throughout, Walton taking to a sax, Hollingworth to guitar, both to an elaborate patty-cake routine much to the delight of the sold out room. They seem thrilled to be here, sharing these new songs with an adoring crowd, it’s infectious. Two Ribbons is an album of two halves, the second gentler and more downbeat than the first, and we get the stunning final title song from the latter here. ‘Two Ribbons’ is so heartbreakingly moving it’s a miracle I hold it together, never mind Walton and Hollingworth. The line ‘but we’re changing / like two ribbons, still woven but we are fraying’ is such a beautiful distillation of their recent past that it should be framed and put in the Louvre.

The encore is, of course, the staggering ‘Donnie Darko’, a 10 minute, multi part extravaganza that simply cannot be topped by any band as a closer. It has the crowd bouncing, grinning from ear to ear, leaving into the Friday night on an unassailable high. Thank fuck LEG got through their differences; they are probably the best pop act we have operating in this country, I want them to make thrilling music together forever, even if they are fraying.

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