If generating hype was a sport, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, the Isle of Wight duo known as Wet Leg, would be World Cup champions. On an unseasonably warm Saturday night at Columbus’ A&R Music Bar, they could have played their certifiable viral hit, “Chaise Longue,” for the entire duration of their 45-minute set, and no one would have been opposed. That’s how buzz works these days: pummel your audience with one undeniably catchy, wry single for months, slowly leak out a few more equally acerbic songs from the debut (theirs will finally be released in April), and let the soldout crowds eat from their hands.
That was certainly the case here. Teasdale and Chambers, backed by a three-piece band, ripped through 14 mostly unknown songs, before arriving at a rousing cathartic finale of that hit. Given that their delivery—a coy sing-speak cadence of self-deprecating and often hilarious lyrics—is vital to the core of their appeal, closed-captioning the words with a bouncing ball with which to follow along would have added value. As it was, “Wet Dream,” a chanted, groove-filled anthem, was bolstered by the audience knowing the refrain of “I’ve got Buffalo 66 on DVD.” Likewise, the line, “You’re so woke. Diet Coke. I feel gross. Oh no!” from “Oh No,” was participatory and communal in its charge.
Unfamiliarity is a minor gripe of course because Wet Leg provided ample proof that “Chaise Longue” isn’t a hype-created fluke. Elsewhere in the set, “Rollercoaster” was a wiry post-punk attack on bubblegum pop wherein the girls traded barbs on the mic with ecstatic glee. “Obvious” was a slow-motion prom dance number, while “Your Mom” was surely another track where the lyrics complete the joke. It was an infectious dynamic to witness. And to see the germination of buzz in a small, intimate setting–when Wet Leg will no doubt be playing to throngs at festivals soon–was an incomparable thrill.