One of the most hyped, and most hype-worthy, bands of the last few years bring unbridled glee to Birmingham
As one of the most hyped, and most hype-worthy bands of the last few years, Wet Leg are one of the hottest tickets in town. It’s rare to catch a band this captivating at such an early stage in their career, and it’s especially strange to see a band of any repute playing on a Saturday in Birmingham’s Institute2 (it turns out Reef were playing in the big room). The duo – Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers – are already stars, such is the allure of their sound.
First of all, the band’s hand-selected support act, Honeyglaze, deserve special praise for their own organic and meteoric rise, and their own singular sound. They could easily have coasted by on the fact they’re the latest band to have been involved with Dan Carey’s star-making Speedy Wunderground label – Carey has produced, worked with and/or signed such a huge variety of the big names in modern rock, from Wet Leg themselves to Fontaines D.C., along with Squid, Kae Tempest, Black Midi and Black Country, New Road – but they let their incredible live presence do the talking here.
Vocalist /guitarist Anouska Sokolow, bassist Tim Curtis and drummer Yuri Shibuichi make a righteous noise, to a packed room, and the audience give them rapturous applause at the end of each song, and especially at the end of the set. Although their set is kept to a brisk 30 minutes, the band make a few hundred new fans by the end of it. Big things are coming for Honeyglaze, so it’s best to get on board now.
As for the main act, Wet Leg, it was their early singles that gave the world some clue about their moreish flavours, but it’s been the release of their debut album and simultaneous live shows that have provided an insight into just how diverse and engaging their songwriting style really is.
The band walk on a few minutes after an impromptu crowd singalong of Rhinestone Cowboy, and continue headlong into a show where they play their full record. The show gives off a whiff of a Greatest Hits show, not least due to the enthusiastic base of supporters already on board. The band seem completely at ease gliding through a setlist of BBC 6 Music staples – Wet Dream, Oh No, and recent release Ur Mom all receive thunderous ovations. Wet Dream caused a particularly hilarious moment for some fans, who began a drink/water fight on the stairs – health and safety be damned. Some fans started headbanging during Supermarket, and at least one started crying during Piece Of Shit (honestly). Oh No, in an especially brilliant live turn, took on a glammy hard rock flavour that the fans just ate up.
But of course the night, and the entire show, is geared towards the song that Iggy Pop said, “You could ask 100 people to sing it and it wouldn’t sound the same.” Chaise Longue, their best song, is as simple as it is mysterious and evocative. According to online voices, it’s reminiscent of The B52’s, Tom Tom Club, Dry Cleaning, Delta 5, The Waitresses or The Au Pairs (amongst many, many others). Here, it brings about the kind of unbridled glee that only the truest kind of singalongs do – everyone joining in, enthusiastically and with utter abandon.
Then the band hit the firm curfew with minutes to spare, and a few hundred revellers spill out onto Digbeth’s tarmac wasteland, beaming and wondering about what the band will do next. It’s a night to remember for sure, but Wet Leg have thousands of those left in store.