By: Olivia Anderson-Clarke
Photo Credit: Jacob HimmelhochLet’s Eat Grandma’s recent concert was everything their “experimental sludge” tagline promised to be: two teenage girls creating otherworldly sounds in an unforgettably ethereal way.
Their first opener, Odetta Hartman, shared this talent of combining unconventional sounds like a rain stick, shaker, bucket, and a trash can lid. Alex Friedman, her man on “the pots and pans”, shone through as he juggled whistles, tambourines, and bells while calmly taking a sip of beer between bars — maintaining his composure and effortlessly keeping up with Odetta’s energetic vocals. Odetta herself played violin, guitar, and banjo while singing songs like “Freedom”, “Cowboy Song”, and “Batonebo” (my personal favourite was “Good Socks”). This all came together in a soulful, folky blend, her voice an echo heard long after a song had ended. Her lyrics evoked beautiful imagery of old rockhounds and petrifying wood, ” had melodies reminiscent of blues which provided an acoustic contrast to Let’s Eat Grandma’s largely electronic set.
The second opener, Winnipeg-based Boniface, enthralled the audience with their unique energy. Where Hartman oozed confidence with her performance, Boniface’s had a frantic energy that made the band seem anxiously eager to share their music with the audience. Lead singer Micah Visser’s vocals drew the audience in with his vulnerability. Their use of 80s style synths is similar to Hot Fuss era The Killers, which matched beautifully with bittersweet songs like “I Will Not Return as a Tourist” about growing up. My only disappointment? That three of the songs they played (“Cold Feet”, “Wake Me Back Up”, and “Keeping Up”) are not yet available on Spotify to satisfy my urge to hit replay until my ears bleed.
Let’s Eat Grandma themselves were a celebration of millennial culture and peculiarity at its finest. The British duo, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, are known for their occult-like appearance and eerily similar voices and demeanor which makes it difficult to differentiate between them. Luckily, Walton’s hot pink shirt served as a friendly aid to audience members in distinguishing the two and was a handy reminder of their latest album’s opening single “Hot Pink”. The show began with “Whitewater”, an instrumental track used to set the tone of their album.
They then launched into lead singles “It’s Not Just Me” and “Falling into Me”. The band conveyed the reality of millennial love with lyrics like “Guess I’ll see you when my screen’s vibrating” and “You left a dent in my homescreen”, captivating the somewhat isolating reality that youths face through social media. This emotional tension between technology and reality is paralleled in how they balance synthesizers with raw voices and field recordings (i.e. recording a cat purr for “Cat’s Pajamas”).
After “I Will Be Waiting” and “Cool and Collected”, they went into “Donnie Darko”, the most engaging song of the night. Hollingworth came into the crowd and danced with fans before returning to the stage to wail a few notes into a recorder. They left but came back with a secret-handshake onstage before beginning the encore of “Deep Six Textbook”, their hair draped in a The Ring-esque fashion and melted to the ground in unison for part of the song. All in all, their embracing of their “witchy” ways ended up in a concert that lived up to the high expectations set by their album.
This article was originally published on our old website at https://thenewspaper.ca/the-arts/im-all-ears-lets-eat-grandma-odetta-hartman-and-boniface/.