Live Review: Wet Leg – Electric Ballroom, London 26.04.2022

Don Blandford

Excuse me? That joke isn’t funny anymore, huh? Well, with a debut album hitting the top of the charts packed with infectious songs aplenty and sold out gigs throughout the country – Wet Leg are certainly still laughing. The newly crowned indie disco queens continue to capitalise on the instant hit status of Chaise Long. The right song, released at the right time in June 2021. The nation was craving post-lockdown fun and Wet Leg went viral.

Of course, such overnight success for the Isle Of Wight band still needles some. Envy? Tired of the over-exposure of the band? Or is it just lazy misogyny? Whatever. Wet Leg have taken their talent and made post punk fun again. Electric Ballroom is so packed tonight there’s barely enough room to butter a muffin…

A bank of monitors span the front of the stage and foliage is strewn around the mic stands as Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers and the rest of the band appear. For quite some time, Hester was shrouded in mystery and it’s nice to see the face behind the hat! As with their eponymous debut album they begin with the slacker anthem Being In Love – a resigned celebration of lethargy or depression – or both. It’s a sedate warm-up for what’s to come. The calmness continues with Hester taking over with a breathy vocal on Convincing. The anticipated banter and engagement with the audience is missing…for now. Instead Rhian and Hester exchange knowing looks and seem to suggest they are incredulous at how they ever came to be selling out this iconic London venue.

Wet Dream gets the first irrepressible whoops and vocal assistance from the crowd. Rhian swings her guitar. Hester does some subtle circular movements. Wet Leg have started to find their mojo – just as the photographers have to leave the photo pit. Piece Of Shit is an almost Americana take on infidelity and being the other woman – wisdom rather than wit – a musical direction which may prevail once sarcasm fatigue kicks in. Talking of longevity. Too Late Now with its lengthy intro and hooks is a strong candidate to make much kerching for the band.. Perfect for BBC programme trailers and retail flogging. It also happens to have an urgent, quick-fire chorus precisely recited back at Rhian by the Wet Leg massive!

They’re definitely on a roll now. Hester is revelling in the atmosphere, wandering the stage and almost forgetting to get back to her effects pedal in time and Rhian is getting more animated. The Wet Leg lads have been on top form all night too although we know who’s driving this fun bus. Disco anti-love song Ur Mum is another highlight fully enhanced by the collective primal screaming.

The early reserve has evaporated into the Camden night. Rhian and Hester are doing synchronised spinning on the stage. Hester shoots Rhian occasional looks of mock disapproval at her stage moves and at times they seem to be on the verge of giggles. Two friends oblivious to the acclaim just having a laugh.

It gets weirder with new track Abducted By A UFO crashing a vintage early punk wave which may have a longer shelf life than the more obviously immediate songs. More Manhatten Island 1976 than Isle of Wight 2022.

We’re a dozen songs in at this exclusive party where everyone is seeing their favourite new band. It’s been fun but the best presents remain unwrapped. Angelica arrives. The gorgeous vocal interplay between Rhian and Hester is borne of their friendship whilst the song dabbles with the twenty-something angst with the repetitive party treadmill – “and then it comes to an end and we all go again, good times all the time…” – parallels perhaps with the hectic Wet Leg touring schedule.

They do go again. Got to do the song. Chaise Long is the reason Wet Leg are even here tonight. Rapturous bouncing and dancing ensues and even the band seem overwhelmed at their fans frenzied feeding back of their lyrics. Even with the extraordinary amount of airtime the song has had in it’s still brief life this is a spine-tingling moment. The message for the cynics, the jealous and the bored is that the empress has new clothes. There’s just a feeling, some moments, when Wet Leg look baffled by this acclaim. It’s not really a question of whether they can sustain this level of success but do they care enough to want to do so. Creativity has got them this far and Wet Leg won’t want to get too comfortable on their chaise long.

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