Review | Wet Leg at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea: 'Bigger things on the horizon'

A year ago the vast majority of us were living in ignorance of Wet Leg's existence.

Thursday, 28th April 2022, 11:02 am
Rhian Teasdale of Wet Leg at The Wedgewood Rooms, April 27, 2022. Picture by Paul Windsor

Then a song called Chaise Longue was released in June and, aided by its quirky video, it quickly went viral – its new wave/garage rock sound and wry lyrics were a breath of fresh air.

The Isle of Wight-based duo of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers were an intriguing prospect.

More singles followed, expanding on their off-kilter worldview, so by the time tickets for this tour went on sale last autumn the hype was already off the scale – all the dates sold out in hours.

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Hester Chambers of Wet Leg at The Wedgewood Rooms, April 27, 2022. Picture by Paul Windsor

And when their self-titled debut album was released earlier this month it went straight to number one – outselling the second placed Father John Misty four to one.

The Wedge show comes at the end of that first proper tour, and is as close as they get to a hometown gig.

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Teasdale takes the lead vocals on most tracks – her voice is an impressive instrument in its own right, capable of leaping from a croon to a powerful howl.

Hester Chambers of Wet Leg with live band guitarist Joshua Omead Mobaraki at The Wedgewood Rooms, April 27, 2022. Picture by Paul Windsor

Just before their set begins a friend tells me that Teasdale used to sing with fellow islanders, the indie oddballs (and well worth your time) Plastic Mermaids, and suddenly a huge penny drops.

That beguiling, almost operatic voice they used to such great effect in their live sets is here given free rein.

Chambers seems more content to take a step back, taking lead vocals on a couple of songs, but mostly adding backing vocals and picking out their distinctive lead guitar lines.

When Teasdale asks if there's anyone from the Isle of Wight in the crowd, there's a big roar from a sizeable contingent – she goes on to joke that they can all get their 'webbed feet' out later.

This somehow morphs into chat about how Rhian was jealous of kids who had verruca socks, and later, misheard confusion with her bandmate about Veruca Salt, the character from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

The set opens, as the album does, with Being In Love, and while the entire album does get an airing, it’s not in order, and there are already a couple of new songs – dropped in without fanfare.

One of these new songs – Abducted By a UFO – sees Teasdale put her guitar down for the only time in the set and gets to roam the stage freely.

Wet Dream provides an early highlight while UR Mum features one of the most impressive, unearthly screams you’re likely to hear any time soon, and Too Late Now’s sedate opening on a bed of wonky synths builds to a surprisingly heavy crescendo.

While it is definitely The Rhian and Hester Show, their band of Ellis Durand on bass, Henry Holmes on drums, and Joshua Omead Mobaraki on additional guitars and synths provide solid support.

There's still a charming freshness to the band's interplay – the women are clearly enjoying themselves, their occasional choreographed twirls and swinging guitars come off as fun rather than clichéd.

For a sold out crowd, though, the audience are curiously muted, only springing to life for the singles.

Of course they finish with Chaise Longue, and the audience finally wakes up – entering into an impromptu call and response.

As the song says: ‘Is your muffin buttered?’ Oh yes, most definitely.

With their star still clearly in the ascendant – as witnessed by the queues outside the venue way before doors opened and the number of people desperate to get tickets for this gig – bigger things clearly are on the horizon.