Wet Leg // Coach Party // Live Review // The Limelight 1 // Belfast

Tonight’s show seems to be a pretty hot ticket, sold out and with numerous people on social media ­­­begging for any extra tickets people might want to sell. With this in mind I get down for the doors, there’s a queue but not massive. Walking into the venue the stage looks like a Fender showroom, littered with various models of amps; a Bassman, a Deluxe Reverb, a Champ, a Twin and in amongst these synonymous silver faces lurks a Roland Jazz Chorus. Creeping into the party like an outsider but by the end of the night, everyone loves them. Not unlike how Coach Party turn an interested crowd into a room full of fans. By the time they take the stage the room has filled up considerably and the band set about delivering a set full of songs that already all sound like hits. Hailing from the Isle of Wight along with Wet Leg, it seems like a nice nod to fellow islanders that they’d both be out on tour together.

They open with ‘Weird Me Out’ discordant guitars punctuate the verse with Jessica Eastwood’s melody adding a sweetness to the pulsing track. They follow this up with arguably their biggest track ‘Everybody Hates Me’ which delivers a massive chorus and you can already feel the crowd starting to turn themselves over to them. In between tracks they take the chance to tell us that they only learned today that Belfast was part of the UK, every day is a school day, right? They tear through ‘3 Kisses’, ‘Shit TV’ and ‘Nothing is Real’, Guy Page is a beast on the kit throwing in some amazing machine gun shots fills, all while doing backing vocals and harmonies. ‘Breakdown’ flies past, and we get to enjoy some guitar and pedal abuse from Joe Perry, wringing oscillations and screaming fuzz tones out of his pedal board and making that jazz chorus sing. He’s great to watch, and his guitar playing adds some great sounds to the tracks while instilling an anarchic feel. ‘Sweetheart’ takes it down a little, the band remind us that they’re back for a headliner show in February, I know based on tonight’s show I’ll be there and I’d bet my Wet Leg ticket on it that a good portion of the crowd will be as well. We’ve two more songs FLAG (Feel Like a Girl) and ‘Can’t Talk, Won’t’, Stephanie Norris’s scream of ‘I’m ashamed’ can be heard over all the drums and guitars with or without a mic. Sometimes support bands feel like support bands, Coach Party feel like headliners. The band are all on fire and clearly enjoying themselves, if you haven’t got a ticket for their return in February already I’d be reaching for the bank card now.

The stage is cleared and now only a few Fenders are left, twin crows placed atop the guitar amps set facing each other are bathed ominously in red lighting and smoke and then…the screaming starts. The band file onto stage somewhat unassumingly but already all smiles. I’m interested to see what they open with as they already have a number of songs that would send the whole room into a frenzy. They opt for album opener ‘Being In Love’, instantly arms are thrown in the air and I can barely hear Rhian Teasdale over the crowd singing along. In true one, two punch fashion second song ‘Wet Dream’ ups the ante and the crowd respond in kind, clapping along at the appropriate time and during the song I wonder how many extra DVD copies of Buffalo 66  we’re sold because of the song.

The opening fill to ‘Supermarket’ rings out and crowd are eating it up, much like the buy one get one free offers the song sings about. ‘Convincing’ is one of the album’s deeper cuts, but much like every song tonight, it’s met with the same enthusiasm that any ‘hit’ would be. Four songs in and we get greeted from the stage, it’s a little difficult to hear what’s being said, I’m a little deaf and Rhian seems a little softly spoken, but the general feeling is they’re happy to be here, it’s their first time here and we’re cool. We are cool. ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Out’ starts and I’m hit by how live the songs become something else entirely, its grungier, they’re delivered with more menace and energy. Some of the synth sounds Josh pulls out are what can only be described as gnarly, Eilis’s bass is massive and adds a huge amount of body to the live sound, Henry lays into his drums like they’ve said something mean about his Mom and the interplay between Hester and Rhian is special to watch, Hester seems to be extra quiet on the mic tonight which is a shame.

Rhian tells us this is a sad song which is meant be a very enthusiastic ‘woooooooo’ from a crowd member. People are hyped. ‘Obvious’ is next, the first of two non-album tracks tonight, Rhian backlit by a single spotlight helps drive home the emotion and poignancy. ‘Oh No’ fuzzy chords and syncopated vocals take things back up with some nice ‘No One Knows’-esque flams on drums from Henry. Second non-album track of the night ‘UFO’, starts with Rhian abandoning the guitar and doing a back bend that would make Iggy Pop jealous. Its 2 and a half minutes of fuzzy pop rock and Rhian makes the most of not having the guitar, dancing across the stage while Henry pounds the drums behind her.

 ‘You wake up in the dark and hear the screaming of the lambs’ when Hannibal Lecter said this in Silence of the Lambs I wonder if he had already heard ‘Ur Mum’. There’s that section and the screaming starts and never stops, and the crowd join in and it gets louder and louder and louder. It was fantastic. It give’s Tom Araya a run for his money with his ‘Angel of Death’ scream. I wonder if this is the first time Slayer have ever been mentioned in a Wet Leg review? ‘Too Late Now’ made me smile, watching Rhian and Hester twirl in unison while delivering those beautiful twinkly shoegazey notes and chords at the start and then it hits middle, defiant to all but bubble bath. It was a highlight of the night for me. We’re told that they’ve two songs left and that they have no idea what day it is, someone tells Rhian that it’s a Sunday ‘It’s a Sunday?! And they’re really going for it here! Thanks guys!’ The unmistakable melody to ‘Angelica’ starts to ring out over the Limelight which seems to set springs on the bottom of everyone’s feet and sends the crowd jumping around like they were on pogo sticks. Rhian and Hester file off to the side of the stage, Josh asks if were ready. We know what’s coming next and I wonder how it must feel to be about to play a song that you know is going to make the entire room explode, I bet that’s a phenomenal feeling. We’re ready, the drums start, the bass joins in, Rhian and Hester re-join us ‘Mummy, Daddy look at me…’ from then on everyone sings along and the ‘what’ is so deafening Hester covers her ears. And then, from seemingly out of nowhere, a pit opens up and bodies are sent flying; arms, hair, shirts all randomly poke out of this whirling dervish like the Tasmanian Devil cartoon. I saw Slayer here twice and again, Wet Leg giving Kerry and his band a run for their money. It’s celebratory mosh pit and not angry or violent, the band are unflinching like they’ve seen this all before, I never expected someone to ‘open up the piiiit’ at a Wet Leg show. There would never be an encore worthwhile doing after that but the house lights don’t come up, instead lasers shoot across the room and ‘Careless Whisper’ plays us out. Look around a like a flash mob everyone is bumping and grinding with whoever is next to them, you wouldn’t see that at a Slayer show.

Great show, both fantastic bands. I recommend watching Coach Party and hitting the show in February. Wet Leg delivered on everything you could have hoped from them. Live the songs are less indie pop and morph into grungy anthems still eliciting sing and scream-a-longs. Tonight is definitely one of those gigs that everyone will say they were at and weren’t, next time it’ll be a much bigger venue so I feel lucky to have caught them here and now. Next time you can ask me after the show ‘Are the lambs still screaming?’.

https://www.wetlegband.com

 

Review: Michael Smyth

Photography: Ebony Alexander

 

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