Sophie Fennelly reviews...
It may have been a cold and rainy Friday night, but that didn’t stop Leeds coming out in numbers to see Wet Leg play their sold-out gig at Leeds Beckett University Union. Having gained a significant portion of their popularity and fame from their use of social media, particularly TikTok, one might expect for Wet Leg to have quite a niche fanbase of twentysomethings. However, if their audience on Friday is anything to go by, this assumption could not be more wrong. Whilst, of course, the assumed audience was present, what was most striking was the diverse nature of the audience. Spanning across generations from preteens to those old enough to be their parents, the attendees could not have been more varied. Notably, despite the explicit nature of some of the band’s songs, the gig was very much a wholesome, family friendly event.
While some of the other dates on the European leg of the tour are supported by Lava La Rue, for Leeds (as well as a few others), the band Malady were the support act. Releasing their debut single, London, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down, in late 2020, at first glance the British indie rock band might not have been the obvious choice. The crowd certainly seemed sceptical to begin, with most unfamiliar with their work. But the band quickly won them over, and by the end of their opening set, the majority of the audience were sad to see Malady leave the stage. In many ways, Malady’s performance epitomises the purpose of an opening set: energising the audience for the headliner, whilst providing exposure for a smaller act.
As for the much-anticipated performance by Wet Leg, the band did not disappoint. The performance was high energy from the start, with their hit single Wet Dream making an early appearance on the setlist. The bands versatility shone through, with high energy in the mass audience participation during iconic Ur Mum yet a quiet and pared back performance for Obvious, one of the band’s unreleased songs. It was notable throughout that the diverse audience were united by their respect for gig culture. Both the treatment of other crowd members and the two bands that performed demonstrated exactly how a gig should play out.
Controversially, the band chose not to have an encore, leaving after the end of Chaise Longue not to return. Although this stunned the audience to begin with, the band took the opportunity for a moment of comedy by responding to the audience’s chanting by blasting George Michael’s Careless Whisper over the speakers. This daring and potentially risky decision proved quite refreshing. Ending the concert on the band’s high energy debut single left the audience lost in the moment, with no anticipation of the end.
Words: Sophie Fennelly
Photo credit: Holly Fernando for Rolling Stone