Wet Leg played an abbreviated, at times joyous and thumping show at The Depot Tuesday night. When you have Wet Leg in Salt Lake City on a Tuesday night it means they’re not going to bring the house down for an hour. And they didn’t. But in the short time they played, the band showed the spark that will place their terrific, loopy post punk debut at the top of many Best Of lists this year.
Wet Leg starts slowly, quickly shift gears
To begin, forgive Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers if they’re still getting accustomed to stardom. The duo are famously from the Isle of Wight, which few of us could find on a map of the UK. It’s been less than a year since their American debut at the Mercury Lounge last December.
Wet Leg began their Salt Lake show a bit tentatively. Even with the crowd’s ceaseless bouncing on “Being in Love” and “Wet Dream,” it was a hesitant start from stage. It wasn’t until the second song that Rhian offered a shy wave to someone on the front row. Her conversation on stage was limited to feckless chit chat…less banter than a text thread (“How are things?” U good?”) One memorable line was her appreciation for escaping England, “a country that is fake mourning.”
When “Supermarket” kicked in with it’s brilliant hi-ee-ai-ee-ai-ee-ai-ee-igh’s, the band hit its stride and matched the Depot’s energy with their own. Nearly every Wet Leg song is pop gold and Rhian played the dynamic well. The set included audience sing-a-longs, indie handclaps and an extended mob yowl on “Ur Mum.” And I do mean extended. As in, cathartic and existential. Likewise, the show’s culminating moments came during the band’s Call and Response to the audience during “Supermarket” and “Oh no.”
Rhian was at times strong and confident, at other times quaint in her appreciation. It’s easy to miss what a lovely voice she has until she’s solo with a guitar. When she was crooning tonight on their unreleased “Obvious,” it was a real highlight.
Wet Leg in Salt Lake City, but only for a moment
Despite the slow start and the forced stage chatter, Wet Leg had the audience from the first pounding guitar lines of “Being in Love.” The sound was booming. I’ve been to a lot of venues, including once before at The Depot where I saw Elbow play The Seldom Seen Kid. Wet Leg was playing a small venue but believe me, it has a remarkable sound system. Despite the sound and growing energy, it was a perfunctory set even by “Tuesday night in Salt Lake City” standards. Wet Leg wrapped in scarcely 40 minutes.
Maybe we’ll be treated to lengthier performances for their completed second album.
Edit September 14: Just a few hours before taking the stage in Salt Lake City, Wet Leg posted an explanation to their Facebook page about cancelled tour dates in Denver and New Mexico. Perhaps it should be no surprise–a year of touring, interviews, TV and newfound world fame had driven band members to exhaustion.
When they stepped foot on stage at The Depot, it was their return to the limelight after a brief reprieve for their physical and mental health. A few hiccups and moments of trepidation make more sense in that light. I support 100% any person’s need to prioritize their wellbeing. Read more from the socials.
Here is the studio version of Tuesday’s highlight “Supermarket,” + a few photos to follow. I promise to work on my phone’s night mode.