ight months have passed since Wet Leg released the unofficial national anthem of 2021, Chaise Longue, an irresistible punk-pop blast of saucy innuendo, deadpan humour and seaside-postcard surrealism. But judging by the rapturous reception that greeted the Isle of Wight band at this rammed London show, their extended honeymoon period with the British public is in no danger of ending any time soon.
Fronted by band co-founders Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, who were accompanied as usual by three extra live players, Wet Leg performed this relatively low-key show as ambassadors for Independent Venue Week, which promotes smaller music clubs nationwide. In truth, these rising stars could easily have filled a much larger capacity hall. Indeed, even months before the release of their debut album, almost all their dates for 2022 are already sold out.
Thankfully, blossoming fame does not seem to have gone to the heads of Teasdale and Chambers, who spent much of this show trading mischievous grins, charmingly wonky guitar lines and boisterous sing-along chants about buttered muffins. Forever hovering on the verge of sarcastic self-parody, songs like Being in Love and Supermarket had a wilfully ramshackle amateurism that mostly proved hugely endearing.
The bulk of this compact set stuck within Wet Leg’s fairly conservative formula of sardonic, half-spoken lyrics set to revved-up, fast-paced, linear guitar-chuggers. But there were a few stylistic digressions, most strikingly Obvious, a luminous, tremulous, pared-down ballad that showcased Teasdale’s underused skills as heart-tugging torch singer. Later, the band played a melodic grunge-pop number with a naggingly familiar ring, which eventually revealed itself as a cover version of Ronan Keating’s vintage chart-topper Life is a Rollercoaster. It takes a special kind of alchemy to transform the former Boyzone singer’s leaden pop platitudes into fuzzy-warm indie-rock gold.
Wet Leg’s rise to prominence has been so swift and smooth, the obligatory backlash cannot be far away. Indeed, the band already attract plenty of online criticism accusing them of being overhyped and overrated. But Teasdale and Chambers are smart enough to use even scornful disapproval in creatively inspired ways, plastering their latest self-directed video for Oh No with social media comments both positive and negative. In its live incarnation at the 100 Club, the song became a clobbering glam-rock beast, all swashbuckling swagger and raucous whoops.
Teasdale and Chambers inevitably saved Chaise Longue for the finale, with the audience gleefully bellowing along to every Pavlovian call-and-response lyric. Eight months later, this punky nursery rhyme still sounds like an arena-sized anthem in waiting, demanding to be blasted across huge venues and festival crowds. There is no mysterious secret to Wet Leg’s booming success: unlike most of their angsty male peers, they simply make being in a band look like giddy, cheeky, infectiously joyful fun. This honeymoon could run and run.
Next London dates are April 7 & 8, wetlegband.com