Wet Leg Takes Over New York
Wet Leg has had a full year. Between making new music, opening for Florence + the Machine and covering a Harry Styles song, they’ve toured their debut album tirelessly. And in that time, the band (which included school friends Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers) went from cult-revered band to bona fide pop stars. They recently completed an extensive four-night trip around New York City – an experience that made them give their all v a seat in the front row. Below is an intimate behind-the-scenes look at those nights, which includes flawless vibes and plenty of headbanging.
“It was so cool,” Rhian shares v. “I feel so lucky that people come to our shows and sing with us. So thank you to everyone who listened to the album or saw a show because it’s a dream to make music with your friends every night.”
No one could have predicted that two Isle of Wight girls singing about furniture and butter muffins could arrive this way, but if you surf the internet you know their reach doesn’t wane. As an introduction – for those not so familiar – the band first rose to prominence in 2021 with their tongue-in-cheek single “Chaise Longue”. Within a few weeks, the track quickly went viral, garnering millions of streams. And the band has been on the right track ever since, quickly finding their feet with a signature style most often characterized as cheeky lyrics with dry delivery and post-punk sensibilities.
The duo told NME in 2021 that they formed Wet Leg because they “wanted to have more fun than any other individual band.” And when you see them perform at Webster Hall with electric guitars in tow, it’s clear they kept their promise. Between their guitar solos and conversations with the audience, the two exchange glances and secret smiles – and exude an exuberance that only the best of the best can conjure up. It’s a presence they’ve developed since their very first gig in their hometown: “Playing shows in general makes me nervous anyway because you’re always like, ‘Are people going to buy tickets? Will they have fun?’ But when you’re in your hometown, it’s extra stressful because you’re like, ‘I know these people,'” laughs Hester. “So it was definitely nerve-wracking, but you have to start somewhere.”
Last Tuesday night kicked off with “Being in Love,” a pounding, heartbreaking song that got the crowd going and showed how Wet Leg were doing what they do best: filling the venue with shimmering guitar riffs. As they played through their repertoire of fan-favorites: “Wet Dream” and “I Don’t Wanna Go Out,” liberation became the theme of the entire show. But arguably the piece of resistance of the entire set was the synth-and-bass pounding “Ur Mum” track, where the band treated the audience to a cathartic scream session.
And if last week’s audience reaction was any indication of Wet Leg’s influence, we can only expect an even bigger 2023. As we wrap up the year and wait for a new one, the band takes time to look back and forward. In the new year, Wet Leg will open for Harry Styles as he bounces around Europe – a feat the band still reacts to in disbelief. “I don’t think anything could ever really prepare us.” Ryan laughs.
After their electrifying performance in New York City, we sat down with Rhian and Hester to collect their thoughts while the adrenaline was still flowing. More information about the legendary night can be found below.
V MAGAZINE: Hi Guys! How are you?
RHIAN TEASDALE: Very good! How are you?
V: I am well. I’m really looking forward to chatting with you while you’re in New York. What have you done so far? Any memorable places?
HESTER CHAMBERS: Yes, definitely. We went to Champs Diner which was amazing because we are vegan. We’re really looking [vegan restaurants] because you don’t really get much of it in the UK. It was delicious. And we went to Joe’s Pizza…
V: A classic.
HC: Yes we have to go every time we are in town.
V: I love that. And how was last night at Webster Hall?
RT: it was so cool It was serious – I just feel so lucky that people come to our shows and sing with us. So thank you to everyone who listened to the album or saw a show because it’s a dream to make music with your friends every night.
V: That’s amazing to hear. It was a great crowd and I feel like everyone was so excited to be there. I also wanted to ask if you guys have any special pre-show rituals that you do before every show?
RT: Before each set, we listen to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” at least three times before moving on.
V: No way, that’s incredible. Why “Dancing Queen”?
RT: It’s just so cheerful and fun. If you get a bit nervous, it just freezes the energy. It’s great pre-game energy.
V: I love that. And since you’ve performed all over the world and are very seasoned veterans at this point, can you take us to your first gig?
RT: When was it?
HC: Well the first time we played it was at a local location on the island. Playing shows in general makes me nervous anyway because you’re always like, ‘Are people going to buy tickets? Will they have fun?’ But when you’re in your hometown, it’s extra stressful because you’re like, “I know these people.” So it was definitely nerve-wracking, but you have to start somewhere. I think we’ve definitely gotten closer as a band since then.
V: Yes, you’ve come this far – it’s so exciting to see. Do you have a favorite song to perform? Does it change with each city or venue?
HC: “Angelica” is probably my favorite. I have such a soft spot for it and I find it really fun to play.
V: I love this track. And I also want to talk about your tour outfits. I’ve seen a few of them on Instagram and think they’re so cool. How do you choose a tour outfit?
HC: Come to the venue. Open the suitcase and find everything is dirty or smelly.
RT: Yes, we take everything that is clean out of the suitcase. We’ve been touring way too long.
HC: Dressing properly at the seat of our trousers. The last time I was home I was like, ‘I’m going to do something new for the tour.’ So I stayed up until about 3 a.m. to do it, and I didn’t even wear it. It’s been at the bottom of my suitcase for 11 weeks.
RT: You have crocheted many things.
HC: I knitted a top, but it took a long time.
V: What’s the coolest thing you’ve knitted on tour so far?
HC: I knitted a hat for the first time and it felt pretty good. I’m new to this, but it’s satisfying when you put something together.
V: That’s incredible. Knitting has always been on my to-do list. I need you to give me a few pointers.
V: Thank you very much. [laughs] And before I let you guys go, I have to ask about the next year you’re opening for Harry Styles. How do you prepare for this experience?
RT: How do you even prepare for it? [laughs] I don’t think anything could ever really prepare us. I don’t know – we have a rehearsal. I do not know [laughs]. We will cross this bridge when we reach it. But overall very excited.
V: We are most excited. I can’t wait to follow this saga into next year. Last question for you – is there anything else you want to do before the end of the year?
RT: I want to go to a donkey sanctuary.
RT: Yes, I haven’t done that yet. I just spoke to my sister and she said she could take them to her garden. You can have donkeys come over for tea. And I thought, ‘That sounds really nice,’ but maybe it’ll be easier and less stressful for the donkeys if I go.
V: That sounds amazing.
HC: I’m just trying to fill up the tank with beans because it’s been a great year. I’m definitely ready to spend a few days snuggled up in bed and gathering energy for an exciting year ahead.
To listen wet leg on all streaming services.