LIVE REVIEW: Grandma’s House @ Little Buildings, Newcastle (21.10.21) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Rosie Carne

A solitary cheer rings out in the entrance of Little Buildings, Newcastle as Yasmin Berndt screams “I AM THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE!” The supportive cheer begs the question: sympathetic Satanist or Halloween enthusiast? Either way, the sheer power of each member of Grandma’s House soundchecking their microphones with this quintessential phrase lures the audience from the bar upstairs to the foot of the stage, like a pastor calling in their flock.

There’s an air of unmistakable cool that surrounds the band as they don their instruments; preparing Newcastle for their brazen punk. As the band kicks into gear, jamming the stick in fourth, a wave of faux nostalgia hits as I’m suddenly confronted with the striking similarities of past punk troubadours The Slits and Raincoats – yet this is just a mirage, only the essence of 1977. This is something new. More controlled but twice as pissed off as their predecessors.

Berndt’s vocals hit with a tremendous boom and are packed with so much gravel that she makes a cement mixer sound like a lullaby machine. The overdriven, thick guitar is pushed to its limit as it hacksaws out a tune from the solid piece of mighty oak constructed by Zoë Zinsmeister on bass and Poppy Dodgson on drums. Zinsmeister flaunts that Paul Simonon of The Clash energy; that effortless energy that only comes naturally to those nonchalant enough to accept. Her mighty strokes of the bass thicken the guitar parts, as well as add an exceptional melodic drive. Dodgson’s contributions can not be understated – she drives every song; beating the drums as if they had wronged her in a previous life. Whilst thrashing the hell out of the skins, Dodgson adds the middle ground between shouting and singing to elevate each song’s lyrics and really punch out the parts that the audience need to remember. The ability to sing and play drums is reserved strictly for Ringo and Dodgson.

An electrifying performance, which sees Grandma’s House run through their ever-growing discography of singles, the doom-laden No Place Like Home, the sarcastically dripping Always Happy and the latest single Girl – an upbeat ode to women, love and the struggles of the queer experience. Celebrating the release of the band’s self-titled debut, Feed Me and Pasty have definitely found their place amongst the behemoth singles, the former about hangovers and the latter about…pasties? Short and sweet, Grandma’s House have left themselves bare for Newcastle to hear.

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