Social media delivered two lots of news to Australian music lovers on Friday, firstly the bad news that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs had cancelled their tour downunder, including their performance at Splendour in the Grass and then the unexpected good news that Wet Leg, who were due to be supporting the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at their Hordern Pavilion show, were doing a ‘secret’ gig at the Landsdowne pub in Sydney. It was a not-so-secret gig as it turns out. Fans were able to RSVP for the show, but this did not guarantee entry…
With the doors of the pub due to open at 5pm, I arrive at the venue together with what seems to be a thousand other hopeful punters. The queue to get in snakes around the pub and down the street. It is a cold Sydney evening and a girl in front of me is wearing a glittery, mini dress with no jersey, she is shivering as we wait and anxiously try to calculate how many people there are waiting in the line and how many have been allowed into the pub by security. Apparently the pub can accommodate 250 people. It’s a nerve wracking arithmetical nightmare, as we painstakingly make our way to the front of the line, praying that the pub will not hit capacity before we are allowed into its warm and welcoming environ.
Sure enough, that’s exactly what happens! The very genial and friendly security staff announce that capacity has been reached just when I am third in line to get in. The girl in the summer mini dress leaves. I decide to stay with some other diehard fans because security has promised to allow fans into the venue in exchange for anyone leaving the pub. I am not very optimistic about this state of affairs because who in their right mind is going to leave such a sought after gig? As we shiver in the cold, a PR person comes outside to meet local celebrity, Dr Karl who, to my surprise must be a Wet Leg fan. He obviously has brains and good taste! Dr Karl arrives and is ushered into the Lansdowne as we forlornly look on.
Then, just as the shivering group outside is about to lose hope, the security guards announce that they are allowing 15 people in! I estimate that there are still at least 50 people in the queue behind me. The now delighted dirty dozen start high fiving and scuttle into the pub like rats leaving the Titanic or more aptly like a bunch of teenagers rushing into a Beatles concert.
By this time, the pub is packed to, well, capacity and it is heaving with excitement. People are standing on the counter to catch a glimpse of Wet Leg. The bartenders are dancing as they serve the patrons, looks of glee on their faces – happy to be working and witnessing a bit of history tonight. I am right at the back and am basically unable to see the band at all. But that’s a good thing as I can focus on the music.
To be honest, I have been skeptical about the hype surrounding the band. But, as soon as they start blasting out their songs in this packed sweaty bar I realise that they are the real deal. It doesn’t take long before everyone is wildly dancing along. Wet Leg have the uncanny knack of being able to infuse melodic, yet somewhat discordant, earworms into their punchy indie rock, it’s a heavenly mix. There is little banter from the band, as they scorch through the playlist, by the time they reach their breakout hit ‘Chaise Longue‘ there is a feeling of bliss in the room that only music can induce. It washes over the crowd like a warm and loving embrace. I look around and there are smiling faces everywhere as people join the band in singing “I got the big D”.
And then, suddenly Wet Leg are gone and George Michael’s ‘Careless Whisper‘ is played over the PA. It is oddly apt that the band end their set with this anthem from an artist who produced a catalogue of perfect pop songs as part of a duo. Based on tonight’s performance I cannot help but feel that similar superstardom awaits Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers.
Wet Leg definitely live up to the hype – they are one of the most exciting live acts on the planet right now. Combining acerbic lyrics with irresistible hooks they are a must-see. Australian fans do whatever you need to, sell the house if you have to, but make sure that you see them whilst they visit our shores.
Wet Leg Setlist Lansdowne 15.02.2022
Being In Love
Too Late Now