Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Live Shows: Wet Leg and Lowertown, Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA 3/7/22

Photo by Hollie Fernando

On Monday night Boston hosted what could be a musical night to brag about for years to come. Wet Leg is the buzziest band to come out since Arctic Monkeys way back in 2005. From overhearing conversations throughout the night, that seemed to be why most people were there: To brag about seeing them in a small club before they get big. There were teenagers that discovered them on TikTok who had no idea what they could possibly do besides play the five singles they've released so far. There were middle aged former frat guys bragging about how much beer they drink at Red Sox games that seemed to only be there because they saw Wet Leg on YouTube and were very vocal about finding Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers attractive. And there were enough senior citizens in attendance to show that Wet Leg has cracked the NPR audience. There were even hippies that looked like they just walked off the set of a Zucker Abrahams Zucker movie set. The main focus of the crowd was being there to see an event.

But how was the music. Pretty great, actually. Much better than I could have expected. Teasdale and Chambers exude even more charm in person, despite keeping stage banter to a bare minimum. No one seems more blown away by their band's success than they are, and the band are having as much fun with it as they can. Of course Wet Leg played the five singles we know of theirs. It took until the third song for them to play a familiar song ("Wet Drea,"), and "Chaise Longue" was the obvious show closer, but it takes more than five songs to make a full set. I'm thrilled to say that Wet Leg didn't play a single filler song. All unreleased songs varied from merely good to better than anything they've released so far. One song that had "fight" in the chorus was an amazing song that blew away "Chaise Longue" easily as the best song of the night. As much as the crowd was there to see their favorite TikTok songs performed live, Wet Leg won them over with their entire set.

What was also great is how Wet Leg aren't afraid to play around with their big hit songs, which is rare for a band that hasn't even released an album yet. There are dozens of videos of "Chaise Longue" out there, but each one is slightly different than the others. This seems to be mainly to keep the band having fun, with Chambers' now famous "What?" response designed more to amuse Teasdale. At the Paradise, she blocked her ears in preparation for the inevitable response scream from the audience. At one point, the two performed synchronized twirls, seemingly more for their own amusement than looking cool or entertaining the audience.

Of course, the big question is will Wet Leg become megastars playing arenas throughout the world for the next few decades or burn out and disappear like so many Next Big Things before them. If Monday night was any indication, they have a long career ahead of them. They may not quite reach playing hockey arenas, but they won't be playing a venue as small as the Paradise any time soon.

Opening the show was Georgia's Lowertown on their first ever tour. I don't think I've been as unprepared for the difference between a band's recorded output versus their live performance since The Fiery Furnaces. On tape, Lowertown is a fairly twee indie pop band that relies more heavily on noise than the average indie pop group, but is relatively twee. Live they're more if Beat Happening moved to Seattle to try grunge out but ended up going dance punk. Songs like "My Dog" and "Best Person You Know" had much more life live than recorded. While Wet Leg are the band everyone gets to brag about seeing Monday night, Lowertown could sneak in as the hipster band we got to see before they were big.

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