How do you go on a national headlining tour when only five of your songs are publicly out in the world? That was among one of two questions indie breakout band Wet Leg attempted to answer with their Mar. 7 show at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club. The other: If you do go on tour, how do you keep an audience entertained when over two-thirds of the songs on the setlist are ones they’ve never heard before? Especially in this day and age, when the prohibitive financial costs (and still-tangible pandemic risks) of many concerts means that often only the biggest fans come out to any given show, these questions loomed large. But despite their currently limited catalog of released music, Wet Leg put on a refreshingly dynamic and candid show. It’s no surprise the British indie duo currently ranks among the most exciting and buzziest bands out there.
The band is composed of guitarists and vocalists Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, two friends from the Isle of Wight, bassist Ellis Durand, drummer Henry Holmes, and Joshua Omead Mobaraki on synths.They came to prominence in 2021 with their single “Chaise Longue,” a guitar-driven tongue-in-cheek tune that quickly went viral, garnering millions of streams within a single summer. Since then, they’ve quickly come into their own with a signature style that features sly and quirky lyrics with a deadpan delivery, post-punk sensitivities, and a refusal to stick to any one genre. As Chambers told Guitar World in January of this year, “From the beginning we didn’t want to put any boundaries on the music that we were making.” Their repertoire so far proves that.
In an interview with NME in the fall of 2021, the duo said they created Wet Leg because they “wanted to have more fun than every other single band.” Teasdale and Chambers made that decision back in 2019 from the top of a ferris wheel. Seeing them perform at the Paradise three years later, electric guitars in tow, it’s clear they’ve made good on their promise. The chemistry between the pair is endearing, with knowing glances and covert smiles sprinkled throughout the set. During the rolling, synth-filled intro of “Too Late Now” (one of the more recent singles off their forthcoming debut album), for example, Chambers and Teasdale treated their audience to synchronized spinning. With only that minimal and seemingly effortless choreography, their desire to simply “have more fun” was on full display.
The set began with “Being in Love,” a thumping, shoegaze-inspired song that showcased Wet Leg doing what they do best: pairing muted, minimal verses with exploding and shimmering guitar riffs so powerful they fill the venue. Indeed, this became a theme throughout the show. With new tracks like the confessional “Obvious” and the high-energy banger “Supermarket,” the show was restless in its dynamism. Maintaining a balance of post-punk and more folksy songs, the band gave themselves — and their audience — room to explore what Wet Leg is and can become. In an exceptionally strong set, unreleased songs like “Ur Mum,” “Loving You,” and “It’s Not Fun” are ones to keep an especially eager ear out for once the band’s album arrives. And of course, their humorously cutting breakup song and sophomore single “Wet Dream” was among the absolute highlights of the night, a point where the band really came into their own.
Teasdale and Chambers, it must be said, are powerhouses in their respective domains. While Teasdale belts away, keeping the crowd captivated with her snarky lyrics and cool girl charm, Chambers is a force on her guitar. Though Wet Leg’s music isn’t built on in-your-face power chords or soaring guitar solos, it’s still the guitars that make the songs truly stand out — not least because of the innovative ways in which the duo write. Chambers and Teasdale, who learned to play guitar in order to write music for Wet Leg, bring a refreshing perspective to the instrument with their signature sound. It’s that willingness to explore that makes their set so captivating as the duo shapeshift, changing their sound ever so slightly to accommodate for the range in their songwriting.
By the time Teasdale, Chambers, and their band arrived at the long-awaited “Chaise Longue” (preceded by their latest single “Angelica”), they had a new army of devotees at their feet. Watching Wet Leg is like being let in on a secret, and their Paradise Rock Club performance made it clear that, with their ’80s influences and unapologetic style, they’re a band everyone should be paying attention to. With such a captivating performance, they proved fans made the right choice by trusting them enough to see a show full of surprises. They made sure their audience left reinvigorated knowing they were there for the music (even if they didn’t know all of it just yet).
Wet Leg’s debut self-titled album will be released on April 8.
—Arts Chair Sofia Andrade can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @bySofiaAndrade.