Up-and-coming artists like Wet Leg make great first impressions | News, Sports, Jobs
It’s always fun to see a band come together.
The rooms are smaller, more intimate. And the bands are less polished. The musicians haven’t done enough gigs together to fall into a routine. They are less likely to make a certain gesture at a certain time in exactly the same way every time.
This creates an element of discovery for both the act and the audience. The performer is still learning what works and what doesn’t work on stage. And when a band is on their first US tour, chances are everyone in the audience is seeing the band for the first time. Watching clips on YouTube or perusing setlists online in advance can only give audience members an idea of what to expect.
Saturday I met a friend in Columbus to see Wet Leg at the A&R Bar. The band, fronted by Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers from the Isle of Wight, won’t release their debut album until April, but their song “Lounge chair” was one of the most played tracks on The Summit radio station in 2021 and it’s an earworm in the best sense of the word – quirky, catchy and instantly memorable.
I mainly use music streaming services like Spotify to prepare interviews with artists I know less or to discover new releases, but “Lounge chair” and the other Wet Leg singles are go-to picks when I’m not on time. The fact that “Lounge chair” wasn’t my most streamed song of 2021, according to Spotify, which is why I have no confidence in its tracking algorithm.
Apparently, I’m not the only music lover in the band. The A&R Bar show was sold out before I knew it existed, so (with StubHub fees) we paid about three times the face value of the ticket to see the show.
That’s another benefit of seeing new bands. Three times face value was around $45. A $45 ticket to see the Eagles next week at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse would likely be a place to stand outside near a heater vent where you could somehow hear the music. And standing near the back of the A&R Bar, I was still closer than 99% of the people who paid to see Don Henley, Joe Walsh and the rest.
It was worth the trip. The sound could have been better, but the show was fun with a loose vibe.
Teasdale tends to look very serious in the group’s videos – even “Wet Dream” where she wears an Amish-style dress and a large red lobster claw. Dressed in a t-shirt and cap, she found herself more relaxed on Saturday and her voice was loud during the 16-song set (however, it was impossible to hear what she was saying the few times when she spoke between songs). Much like she is in the videos, Chambers was her more manic and animated counterpart.
The show was short – around 50 minutes – but the band currently only has five songs available, so that didn’t surprise me. Singles – get closer “Lounge chair,” “Wet Dream” “Oh no” (a great song about time-consuming technology), “Too Late Now” and “Angelic,” the latest version – stood out the most because there was already a familiarity with them.
But a few others — “Supermarket” and “Your mother,” if the few notes I typed into my phone are correct – also made a great first impression and made me even more excited to get that debut album.
If Wet Leg is getting huge, I can say I saw his first tour. If not, I had a good time with a good friend. Either way, it’s a win.
Andy Gray is Ticket’s entertainment editor. Email him at [email protected]