Live Review: Wet Leg @ Rough Trade

There’s no messing about a at Wet Leg gig, writes Joe Hughes. And their chic matter-of- fact swagger is even plainer to see in abidingly intimate venue, Rough Trade. They rattle through ‘Being In Love’, ‘Convincing’ and ‘Wet Dream’ with only a perfunctory acknowledgement of the baying crowd.

Said crowd, was made up of a committed group of headbangers, determined to mosh to even the most mellow ballad, and a healthy handful of sway-at-the-back 6 Music mums and dads. This is testament to the universal appeal of indie-rock’s newest stars. Perhaps gig-goers were especially geed-up to see the duo live because their debut album, WET LEG, had been released to critical acclaim just days prior. I’d been lucky enough to speak to Hester Chambers and Rhian Teasdale a few weeks before the gig, as they expressed their profound excitement about unleashing the album into the world.

Much of the set, of course, featured cuts from that latest album- a rousing rendition of ‘Too Late Now’ rode the crest of the wave in the middle of the set- but hints at Wet Leg’s new sound experiments came in the form of even newer tracks ‘Obvious’ and ‘It’s a Shame’. Great use was made of an on-stage spacey synthesiser, and much hilarity ensued when it churned out a bum note. These moments demonstrate the creative chemistry between the two and the backing band, that is mirrored in a friendship and working partnership that is as collaborative as possible. It goes without saying that ‘Chaise Longue’, the now anthemic track, closed the set, to the stomping gratification of the crowd. I do hope that Rough Trade stage is built on solid foundations.

WET LEG, amounts to a brand of punk- tinged indie rock that is pleasingly refreshing if not revolutionary. It could see Teasdale and Chambers lauded as the guitar heroes of a glittering new indie age. Not steeped in narcissistic introspection- as is some contemporary post- punk- and much more mature than your average indie fodder. The sophistication of the album’s social critique goes a long way to proving that Rhian and Hester are achieving something very subversive, and having heaps of fun doing it. In its candid vulnerability is a tenderness. In its angry moments is an elegant rage. In its extravagance, a euphoric pleasure.

After the set, a queue forms for album signing and a rare chance to speak to Hester and Rhian. I can confirm that the pair are as pleasant in person as they are over the phone. Signings are always awkward- as much as you think you know an artist from listening to their music, seeing them up close and personal is daunting. And not just for the fans, Wet Leg said it was so surreal to see hoards of people lining up for a chat.

I weighed up whether to mention our recent interview and, in the end, decided against it- the embarrassment if they didn’t remember me, or worse if they pretended to, would have been too much to bear. But in retrospect, Hester and Rhian, with pints in hand, put us at ease so quickly that I should have asked them there and then: is your muffin buttered?

Joe Hughes


Featured image courtesy of Wet Leg via Facebook. In article videos courtesy of Wet Leg via YouTube.