Wet Leg returned to NYC last week to perform four sold-out shows at Webster Hall, Bowery Ballroom, Elsewhere, and Music Hall of Williamsburg. I was lucky enough to catch the inaugural show on their four-night run, on December 13th at Webster, almost exactly a year since I had last seen them first on their initial US tour.
In a little over a year, from first hearing whispers of this buzzy UK band signed to Domino and catching them at a Baby’s All Right (a much smaller room than the ones they played on this run; see pics), the band has released their eponymous debut album (to critical acclaim) and made three visits to the states (each time playing increasingly larger venues to increasingly adoring crowds. See pics from Brooklyn Steel).
Tour posters special for this run (art by Karlotta Freier)
There were initial rumblings that the band was somehow an industry plant or somehow undeserving of its upward trajectory (these were based not a little on sexism imo), but I suspect that the band was always meant to play venues the size of Webster, and everything before this was course correction until they reached this level. It’s hard to make the case otherwise anyway, considering how swiftly they sold out all four venues on his run, and how they absolutely dominated their December 13th show.
Wet Leg’s Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers seemed like conquering heroes at the show, at least based on their reception. They played a blistering and confident set of songs from their self-titled debut, opening with “Being In Love,” “Wet Dream,” and “Supermarket.” It’s been a joy to see the band’s evolution, not that any of their previous performances were lacking, but the confidence and refusal to accept anything less than they deserve—themes central to their music—were on full display. Most of all the band seemed like they were having just the best time, which of course infected everyone in attendance.
A working theory I have about why the band exploded in popularity during the last two years is that these themes of dissatisfaction and feeling like you deserve better (coupled with a healthy dose of self-doubt and introspection) echo the feelings of an entire generation entering their mid to late 20s and feeling like the pandemic robbed them of something, but perhaps unable to verbalize what exactly that thing is. Wet Leg performed “Too Late Now” in the latter half of the set, my favorite song of theirs, and one which encapsulates this sentiment well, the sense that time is running out and that one is being propelled forward more by momentum than anything else. Still, the song resolves on a hopeful note, embracing self-care. “Everything is going wrong I think I changed my mind again / I just need a bubble bath / To set me on a higher path.”
Seeing their performance too felt like self-care, an empowering embrace, a rejuvenating bubble bath, and I cannot wait to see them again.
Domino label mate, Sasami, opened the show and had a short but powerhouse set of her own, perfectly setting the stage and kicking off an evening of captivating music.
Sasami setlist: The Greatest, Need It to Work, Skin a Rat, Not the Time, Toxicity (SOAD cover), Say It, Call Me Home
Wet Leg setlist: Being In Love, Wet Dream, Supermarket, Convincing, I Don’t Wanna Go Out, Obvious, Oh No, Ur Mum, Piece of Shit, Too Late Now, Angelica, Chaise Longue