A new band called Wet Leg all the way from the Isle of Wight in England is blowing up right now, and I was lucky to get to see them perform just as they are ready to launch off into the stratosphere and become a huge success. I saw them play the early show on Tuesday night at the relatively intimate venue of Mercury Lounge, which is their first of three NYC shows on their first trip through the Big Apple, and will be followed by two similarly small shows at Union Pool on Wednesday and Baby’s All Right on Thursday in Brooklyn. A clear indicator for the powerful groundswell brewing from their first couple singles is that they have already announced a show for next March that was originally planned to take place at the bigger Music Hall of Williamsburg but has already been moved over to the massive venue Brooklyn Steel, and I have a strong feeling this performance will also sell out in no time, much like how the tickets to these three smaller introductory shows disappeared in the blink of an eye. It was only earlier this year that the duo of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers released their catchy debut single “Chaise Longue,” and an equally beguiling song “Wet Dream” followed that in September, so they really so still have that brand new fresh band smell. Already, they announced the release of their self-titled debut album, which will be out April 8 via the Domino label, just in time for their Spring shows, as well as dropping two new songs from the upcoming effort “Too Late Now” and “Oh No,” that already have me super excited for what is to come from these young talents. This was a perfect chance to catch an early peek at many of these new songs that will soon be on their new album, as it will be many months before anybody else gets to hear them, apart from those other fans lucky enough to get into these shows.
Opening the performance was a local by the name of JW Francis, who kept the starting set extremely positive, even though he acknowledged that he really only signed onto the night’s bill because he also really wanted to see Wet Leg, and reminded the packed room of his gushing admiration of the duo many times during his set. This goofy guy on stage with the stoner laugh is far from a simple slacker. He is an avid hiker and even publicized his progress hiking the Appalachian Trail this summer via Instagram. He is also a poet, as Francis has self-published a number of poetry books that he sells at his shows. As a musician, he’s also released a number of singles, and also put out a full album called Wanderkid back in September. Many of the album’s songs seem inspired by his mighty trek with lots of crazy high crescendos and soul crashing jams, and I must say, I was mightily impressed by the crazy catchy grooves he and his awesome band produced.
Wet Leg is based on the duel guitarist singers of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, and from the moment they came on stage they proved to be absolutely charming. Even when the main vocalist Teasdale messed up the opening to a song, which she did a few times, she laughingly played it off as jet lag, which was especially funny as it sounded like she was saying the similar name of the band, and then she would smile and laugh, and it would all be forgiven before the next song would melt your face off. The full band was incredible too, and really helped give the songs the legs it needed to bop around to, with a lineup that included guitarist and keyboardist Josh Mobaraki, drummer Henry Holmes, and bassist llis Durand. Perhaps paying homage to the first city on their soon to be whirlwind tour, they included a cover of seminal NYC rockers Talking Heads with a whimsical take on the classic “Psycho Killer,” which was fun, but not nearly killer as their very original sound they create on their own material. Their songs can flip from angsty teen pop bopping to dark metal mosh jam in a heartbeat, which is like switching from Taylor Swift to Pavement on a dime. I can also hear many other influences like The Breeders, The Ronettes, Björk, Waxahatchee, Violent Femmes, Chvrches, and Lorde deep into the mix of their powerfully complex sound. Still, you come of the other side of all their complex brew of influences, and they do produce an entirely original mix that is both joyous and enraptured as well as dark and melancholy often at the same time. It is amazing to see a band like this, poised on the edge of success and ready to take on the world, and I can’t wait to hear more.
Article/Photos: Dean Keim