Grandmas House: A Triumphant Homecoming
Grandmas House | Bristol
Photos: Molly Davies
6th November 2021 - Grandmas House at Rough Trade
Having zig zagged across England for the past month, the 6th November sees Grandmas House finally return home.
It's a chilly Saturday night in Bristol's Rough Trade as I hurry through the doors just in time to hear disco-punks Try Me launch into my favourite song of theirs. As always, I attack the role of audience member with perhaps a little too much exuberance and receive some raised eyebrows as I cry “BEANS, EGGS, CHEESE, TOAST,” at the top of my lungs. To top it off, I’m pretty sure I get the lyrics wrong too. Try Me are a beautiful ball of confidence tonight as they gleam on stage. Their lyrics are descriptive and brilliantly insane - a cross point of lyricism that mixes the everyday mundanity with phrases like uh, 'funky chicken'. After a stellar performance of Heavy Lunch they start an ad lib, encouraging the crowd to shout out suggestions, and end up improvising a never before and never again heard track about dolphins and Aldi. "Get yourself a dolphin friend, they'll be with you until the end" scream the duo.
Bendy Wendy stalks across the stage, lean in a tank top, expressive and stealthy. Hector Boogieman is softer, with the cutest hair clips holding back a fluffy mop of brown hair. With a roar, Bendy Wendy announces the debut of a new track, right here, right now, and it’s a banger. The bass is so deep it reverberates through your hip bones. The two are in sync in a way only close friends can be. Both move like boogie snakes. Harmonies are long forgotten, instead the pair bellow to chorus - "Think of yourselves never each other and when things go wrong you can always do another" - of their post apocalyptic new hit. "Let me see your sweaty armpits!" screams Bendy Wendy. The crowd complies, bending to their whim. “Big up!” they scream, “It's been such a good gig. Everyone gass yourselves up. There's a lot more to come.”
Panic Shack are new to me. The five piece are reminiscent of early Heart, if Heart had written Dreamboat Annie on speed at 3am during an afterparty in Brixton. Their lyrics are conversational and aggressive in the most justified way. They’re completely comfortable on stage, with each member perfectly in sync without a note out of place. Highlight of the set is their debut single Who’s Got My Lighter. “Who’s got my lighter? I’m gonna fight ya!” yells lead singer Sarah Harvey. The crowd shouts back and soon the room is awash with accusatory yells and finger pointing.
And then, the highlight of the night... Grandmas House’s set is an absolute dazzling blur. The headliner whips the crowd into a frenzy with their thudding post punk riffs and raucous vocals. Something that Grandmas House does really well, undoubtedly due to drummer Poppy's exquisite taste, is style. Each performer has a unique flair whilst retaining an air of cohesiveness as a group. With each song, the back room of Rough Trade becomes sweatier and more chaotic. At one point a pair of feet appear above me as a member of the crowd (later identified as Bristol DJ Dan Davies) is lifted to the ceiling and carried across the ocean of dancers.
I sneak to the back of the stage and wedge myself between drum kit and bass amp, hoping to get a shot of the writhing crowd. Instead, all that is visible from the artist's vantage point is a moving swathe of darkness, with occasional limbs and silhouettes highlighted by an errant stage light. With the crush of sound emanating from the girls and the hypnotic green and blue fluorescents, it's like the room shifts into an ominous dreamscape. Zoe’s hair flies out with each emphatic bass note, a mess of cropped blonde turned blue under the lights. I press myself against the wall, desperately trying to sink into it to get a better view from the stage, but eventually miss being in front of it.
The set doesn't let up and is over too quickly. Afterwards the foyer of Rough Trade is full of happy fans, eagerly chatting to the musicians who smile in selfies and show off their merch. I buy Grandmas House debut EP on vinyl. The gals christen me with a bottle of beer and in the morning I wake up with half blurred Grandmas House signatures all over my tits.
Find Grandmas House on Instagram here!