Blossoms at O2 Academy Birmingham 29/11/2022

Writer Laura Mills / Photographer Ewan Williamson

As I enter the O2 Academy the atmosphere is booming after tonight’s England victory defeating Wales with a score of 3-0. No support for tonight’s show, just the match on the big screen.

The DJ doesn’t need to rile this crowd up anymore but by God he wants to because he’s just put on ‘Sweet Caroline’ and everyone, staff included, are singing.

Once more, the DJ proves he didn’t come to fuck around tonight as he plays ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ followed by ‘Three Lions’.

The second the crowd recognise what the DJ is playing they roar: “It’s coming home, it’s coming home, football’s coming home.”

Will the crowd peak before Blossoms have even had the chance to grace the stage?

And then the lights lower, it’s a signal to everyone it’s show time for the boys from Stockport.

They take the stage looking smart and chic, there is a complete air of swagger to Blossoms – it just radiates off them.

Our Tuesday night set is kicked off with a classic Blossoms tune, ‘At Most A Kiss’. It’s such a popular and fan favourite tune, and it eases the crowd in.

This opener shows off every bit of what Blossoms are about, the distinctive guitar riffs with a consistent tempo guided through with the beat of the drums.

The vibe changes slightly with the song ‘Oh No (I Think I’m In Love)’. Which isn’t classic Blossoms.

The sound has been carefully crafted and placed together to create an indie, funky rhythm. This song has some pretty pristine layering with different sections changing tempo ever so smoothly.

Some parts of this track appear more fast paced than others because the band is persistently groovy.

Tom Ogden is the band’s singer, and tonight he’s hosting Birmingham. He knows how to interact with the crowd as he makes little comments here and there to fire the fans up even further.

Next up is ‘The Keeper’. This one really shows Blossoms interacting with each other as a band, looking at each other cheekily while giving everything they have to their instruments. The sound feels like Blossoms are drifting the crowd away to pure escapism, there’s a smile across everyone’s faces.

As we move through the set we’re offered songs like ‘Ode to NYC’ and ‘The Sulking Poet’, which were released earlier this year. These are all lapped up by the crowd who’ve done their research before arriving here tonight, singing every single word.

Birmingham are also getting treated to the tour debut of a song called ‘Like Gravity’, cheers bab.

Moving towards the end of the set the band strip things back for a second with an acoustic version of ‘My Favourite Room’. Then they drift into covers ‘Half the World Away’ and ‘Last Christmas’ making this an evening of festive fun as well.

I think as they’ve not played it yet we are all expecting it, and it’s warmly welcomed by this brummie crowd as Blossoms finish their set off with ‘Charlemagne’.

There’s been a bit of bouncing tonight, but as Blossoms launch into their final track the crowd mount each other’s shoulders or prepare for battle around the mosh pits.

Reaching the bridge of this song while Tom sings: “Don’t go, if only I could show you”, the pits open while the crowd awaits the final chorus of this song.

Tom sings: “And the river always flows, so if you go. I will know by the rain, my Charlemagne” – sending the crowd flying into each other with pints of Carlsberg filling the air.

What a sight to see and what a song to finish the set on. Blossoms are a band that show no signs of stopping.

Blossoms @ O2 Institute 29.11.22 / Ewan Williamson

For more on Blossoms visit: www.blossomsband.co.uk 

For more events at the O2 Academy Birmingham visit: www.o2academybirmingham.co.uk

Horror in the Modernist Block Explores Dystopian Brutalist Landscapes At Ikon Gallery – Running Until 01/05/23

Writer Sadie Barnett / Photographer Connor Pope

 

The atmosphere is one of excitement as photographer Connor and I arrive at the Horror in the Modernist Block press tour. This marks a new season for the Ikon, their first opening since director Jonathan Watkins stepped down. The exhibition aims to explore modernist architecture, starting with Birmingham and the city’s renowned Brutalist style buildings and as our tour guide explains, “expanding outwards globally”.

Continuing to describe the exhibition, she tells us how it aims to explore the implicit dystopian nature of the landscapes around us; “it’s important that the show is a provocation,” she says.

Thus we all enter, eager to be provoked.

The problem with architecture exhibitions is that at first glance it’s hard to tell if something is a part of the exhibition or the building. This is the case with one of the first pieces we see, Exit Sign (2021) by Abbas Zahedi.

I see the classic green and white design of a standard exit sign. However, on closer inspection we see that the running figures on either side of the arrow – which points to the ceiling rather than giving directions – are turned upside-down.

Zahedi tells how this work is inspired by his experience in Grenfell Tower. The crowd is silent as he describes, with contempt, watching an interview where politician Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “If I was in Grenfell I would have left, common sense,” showing us how an exit route can, at times, be a privilege.

Next, I enter a second floor room. On one side is Seher Shah’s Notes from a City Unknown (2021). This work is made up of black and white prints paired alongside short pieces of text. Through the geometric nature of these prints, with a clear dichotomy between the shaded and non-shaded segments of the shapes, we see a blueprint of Brutalist New Delhi.

A personal favourite of mine is a print entitled City of Privacy, a black backdrop with sharp white imagery layered over it and corresponding text reading: ‘To listen to a city / The sound is distant / Eyes open in the dark to a mouth with no teeth.’

Here, we see a major theme of the exhibition shine through: architecture creating a looming spectre, the horror of the everyday.

On the other side of this room is Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann’s Vanquished Space, Controlled Energy (2022), featuring a 3D structure that takes up half the room. It is a combination of screen-printing and painting that depicts a larger than life image of a room.

This ‘para-architecture’ (something that resembles architecture) is a style used in modernist horror film sets, and as I watch it blend almost seamlessly into the walls of the room it brings to mind the concept of the ‘uncanny’.

As I’m guided through the rest of the tour certain pieces catch my attention more than others. I enjoy Amba Sayal Bennett’s Carus pieces, showcasing hand-drawn blueprints so precise they seem almost digital. I am intrigued by Firenze Lai’s paintings, which depict brightly-coloured figures within tight spaces – exploring Hong Kong architecture and the effect that packed-in cities can have on human psychology.

I am stopped in my tracks by Ismael Monticelli’s Spaghetti Junction (2022), a new commission by Ikon. The piece takes up a wall; a blue triangle covered by ornate wooden and paper mâche symbols, gold and red standing out against the backdrop. English is not Brazilian artist Monticelli’s first language and so he employs a translation pre-recorded with a friend to describe his work.

The voice plays over the speakers and as the room listens in hushed awe, looking up at the triangle looming over us the air takes on an almost Ozymandias-esque worshipful silence.

“Look on my works, Ye Mighty, and despair!’”

Listening to the recording, it’s clear this homage to ancient Egypt is not an accidental one. It describes how Brazil’s retro-futurist architecture draws inspiration from ancient Egypt. This is clear in the work’s iconography, depicting various hieroglyphic-style figures. Though the scenes in the picture represent ancient conflicts, we are told how these conflicts are ones echoed in the political turmoil of modern-day Brazil.

In the same room is a bench. I am keen to sit down and am about to do so when the tour guide speaks again. She tells us that ‘This is a bench but it is also an artwork!’

And I realise I’ve stepped into every art enthusiast’s cliched worst nightmare. It’s an architecture exhibition, of course the bench is art. I make a mental note to keep my wits about me, and look mistrustfully at every other unassuming object in the room. The bench, by Simon and Tom Bloor, aims to explore the functionality of modernist architecture.

Moving forwards, I’m intrigued by Monika Sosnowksa’s dramatically spiky sculpture, Tower (2019). It draws inspiration from avant-garde Soviet architect Shukhov, with the sculpture particularly referencing his method of deliberately fatiguing steel.

This reference is one that taps into the exhibition’s core of ‘horror’ – as this same technique, the tour guide tells us, ended up being the cause of the death of several construction workers executing Shukhov’s vision when it did not work as intended.

I’m tickled by Richard Hughes’ Lithobolia Happy Meal (2022), it consists of several suspended chunks of rubble alongside an out-of-place and smiling Space Hopper. However, on further inspection I am thrilled to realise that this is his brutalist simulation of a happy meal.

Hughes balances a genuinely playful and nostalgic piece with a skillful commentary of the capitalist nature of demolition and rebuilding through both its materials and subject matter.

Finally, I end the press tour with the film screenings, which will be the exhibition’s start point for the visiting public. I sit on one of Simon and Tom’s helpful modernist benches as the show begins. Each short film is projected one at a time onto the different walls around us, so that we follow the videos around the room.

I’m particularly blown away by Kihlberg & Henry’s Slow Violence (2018-2022). It explores ever-encroaching man-made environmental changes through a fast-paced mix of spoken-word, text on screen, videos and images. It’s fascinatingly meta, with words flashed across the screen before being flashed across the actors’ screens.

There are too many memorable segments to choose from; a slideshow of cigarette packet images provides a damning commentary of an industry invented with an aim to limit smoking –  “It’s the one I ask for in the shop, you get to choose!”.

A prisoner who reflects on how brutalist architecture impacted his life: “I learned to love the cell”.

A slideshow of images switches from natural landscapes to building sites as a deadpan cast chants, “Mountain. Mountain. Mountain.”

It is a devastatingly clever representation of the exhibition’s core theme, horror.

Horror in the Modernist Block – official trailer

Horror in the Modernist Block runs at Ikon Gallery until 01.05.23 – entry is free. For more on the exhibition visit: www.ikon-gallery.org/exhibition/horror-in-the-modernist-block

For more from Abbas Zahedi go to: www.abbzah.com
For more from Seher Shah go to: www.sehershah.net
For more from Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann go to: www.laetitiabadauthaussmann.com
For more from Amba Sayal Bennett go to: www.ambasb.com
For more from Ismael Monticelli go to: www.ismaelmonticelli.com
For more from Simon and Tom Bloor go to: www.simonandtombloor.com
For more from Monika Sosnowksa go to: www.hauserwirth.com/artists/2824-monika-sosnowska
For more from Richard Hughes go to: www.richardahughes.com 
For more from Kihlberg & Henry go to: www.daniellearnaud.com/artists/artists-kihlberg-and-henry.html 

For more from Ikon Gallery go to: https://www.ikon-gallery.org

Episode 1 From >THEM. Collective More Than Meets Expectations 23/11/22

Writer Jasmine Khan / Photographer Joe Marchant

Following our interview, the >THEM. collective have set expectations high for their first event, Episode 1. It’s set to a mix of DJ’s with a sprinkling of live acts, and filling up Mama Roux’s for a dance event on a Wednesday, especially in this weather, isn’t going to be easy.

As I walk in from the rain, Ishy’s running up on stage to shout out Manchester based DJ Jasmine, who’s been spinning a sweet collection of RnB classics and modern femme hip-hop over trap beats.

The >THEM. logo stands out projected behind the stage and a tasteful neon light repeats this imagery at the front of the decks. At the door I receive some hip-hop trump cards, a handwritten note from the collective, and a >THEM. sticker.

Small efforts like this make you feel like you’re part of the experience, rather than just another punter at a gig.

Getting caught up in friendly chatter, I don’t return to the main room until quarter-to-ten when it’s properly grooving.

Yonko Leck spins some Frank Ocean and then old skool hip hop to a hyped-up crowd. Ishy’s MCing, keeping the energy high, is demanding we dance. “Louder,” he shouts over a remix of TLC’s ‘No Scrubs’ and the crowd responds to his demand.

“Step the fuck forward and give it up for Yonko Leck.”

We again oblige, crowding the stage, and Leck plays King Kunta, then pulls it back and stops the track. It’s clear we’re not giving enough, and Ishy teases us, asking if that’s all we’ve got. The crowd gives in, screaming the lyrics until Leck lets the track rip.

His set is a real mix of hip hop and RnB through the ages alongside some tight bassy production, which turns even the most soulful of Sunday rhythms into foot-stomping bangers.

Every now and then he switches it up with some trap or Afro beats, and all the while Ishy’s curating the crowd, rapping, dancing. The lights are flashing and Ishy windes his waist, swinging the mic in white dungarees, and calling us out when we don’t match the intensity of the music.

There’s a little dance battle breaking out to my left and it’s barely 10pm.

The >THEM. collective knows how to get a party going, that’s for sure. But can they keep it going until 2am?

On the second floor there’s art, and on the 3rd floor there’s an Xbox – which adds some fun, interactive elements to the already well thought out night.

Leck continues to roll out a spicy arrangement of beats and lyrics until singer Mellow Solis takes to the stage. And whilst there wasn’t really the need for a switch up, Mellow’s presence elevates the room’s mood significantly.

The environment’s so supportive, with Mellow receiving applause before she even starts singing. But she deserves them as she delivers her first crystal clear note over the exceptionally loud backing track.

Mellow’s resonant voice pierces through her somewhat shy exterior as she smiles down the mic, flexing a fierce range and her namesake (I assume) mellow tones. She enjoys the appreciation, wiggling about the stage.

Although Mellow only stays to perform one track, and I high-key want more, the interlude offers some sonic and visual variety without pulling focus away from the dance.

I pop out for some air because it’s getting hot in here, and catch up with Sannah from the 9300 collective. I also talk to a few people who’ve travelled all the way from Kent to see Lord Andrew perform for the first time, and it feels like there’s a lot of inviting, creative vibes about the place.

After a while, we’re called in by Louis D. Prince who politely lets us know if we’d like to see >THEM. perform, the time is now. Everyone comes inside.

Back in the venue I’m greeted by Ishy spinning Cardi B and a seemingly fit to burst mainroom. People are jumping, dancing, throwing their arms up and their arses back. I can’t remember the last time I went to something this packed on a Wednesday.

Louis D. Prince, Lord Andrew, and Yonko Leck mill about the stage for a bit building the anticipation over Ishy’s mixes.

The first track they lay down puts the evening on a heavier, grimey path, setting the tone for what’s to come. The lads rap around and over each other, building the textures of their gritty collective sound with the unreleased ‘W.W.’

There’s a small sound issue but it’s well handled, and Andrew mounts the stage barrier spitting parts of the next song without a mic straight into the crowd. The rest of the collective rap and dance about the stage, now down to vests and skins.

The crowd’s frenzied, but not quite as frenzied as they should be.

Ishys jumps out from behind the decks and onto the barrier rapping back and forth with Andrew, both of them sweating, pumping their fists into the air, and the crowd cranks it up level.

Then, >THEM. play their growingly famous track ‘Pull Up’ and although we’re all trying, it’s too quick for the crowd to shout “Pull Up” at just the right moment.

Silencing the decks and going acapella, the lads relay the lyrics. We call it back louder with each repetition, and the DJ comes back in.

We get some more immaculately mixed beats, even though they feel a tad slow straight after the rawness of the mini live set.

I spend the next half an hour not thinking and just dancing, the tempos back on track, and after a few racy songs I need some air again. In the smoking area, I find out that Mama Roux’s is at max capacity and the doors are closed.

I promised myself earlier I’d leave at midnight, but I just can’t.

There’s another live performance from Yonko Leck. This time it’s ‘NEO-TOKYO!’, a track I haven’t heard of but lots of the crowd clearly have. They show their appreciation with whoops and cheers and lots of movement, while I sit back and take it in.

Just after midnight, King Kai jumps on the decks and the sound gets dutty with some atmospheric DnB. Even though I’m gutted not to catch the last act, it is a Wednesday so I must sadly make my way home.

But if it wasn’t obvious, I’ll definitely be back for more of >THEM.

Episode 1 From >THEM. @ Mama Roux’s – 23.11.23 / Joe Marchant

For more from >THEM collective go to: www.morethandem.com/party 

For more from Yonko Leck go to: www.open.spotify.com/artist
For more from Louis D. Prince go to: www.open.spotify.com/artist
For more from Lord Andrew go to: www.instagram.com/lordandrew_ 
For more from Ishy go to: www.instagram.com/bigfootishy
For more from Mellow go to: www.soundcloud.com/mellowmellonmusic
For more from King Kai go to: www.soundcloud.com/kkcava

For more from Mama Roux’s go to: www.mamarouxs.co.uk

>THEM. On How Community Culture Needs To Change In Birmingham’s Music Scene

Writer Jasmine Khan / Photographer Charly Humphreys (Charly Jeane) 

Turning up at Mama Roux’s on yet another wet, rainy evening ahead of Episode 1, the >THEM. (more-than-them) collective’s first event, it’s clear the raw nature of >THEM. live sets isn’t an act, they’re all extremely close, joking at each other and for some reason shouting children’s drinks brands loudly into my mic.

“Fruit Shoot, what you saying?” calls Yonko Leck.

“Nah Bruv!? CaPRI Sun, CaPRI SUN!” yells Ishy.

“Man said CaPRI Sun,” laughs Leck.

Someone breaks a Magnum bottle, and I’m creased over as I realise Leck and Ishy are calling for sponsorship while other members run about looking for paper towels.

The >THEM. collective’s energy is infectious, while their individual beats and flows are also infectious, this interview is about who the >THEM. collective are and what they stand for – an alternative RnB, hip hop, and grime group who performed at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games less than a year after their inception.

All round musician Leck and founding member of >THEM. sets the record straight, explaining that each member is an individual artist in their own right, so all 12 (I’m sitting with the founding four) have got their own followings and projects.

>THEM. is a community whose members are driven to make lasting, positive change in the Birmingham music scene using collaboration and quality as their foundations.

“I wanted to make something that was culture shifting,” states Leck.

He goes on to explain that whilst being new to Brum, Leck had met DJ Ishy at a party and Louis D. Prince and Lord Andrew through mutual friends. In December 2021, the group made it official, laying down their signature track ‘Pull Up’ in a studio together.

Louis D. Prince says: “It’s a shared drive and ambition, everyone’s dedicated to making more of themselves than we currently have in our surroundings.

“Being aware that we’re capable of so much more, but the infrastructure isn’t what it needs to be in our areas. Knowing that the fan culture is there, but there isn’t the medium to channel that through.

“We’re all in the same place, we all believe in our own talent, we all believe in our own growth and potential, and we’ve just got to work.”

Reflecting on his own experiences being supported by the >THEM. community, Ishy says, “If one person has something going on all of us will be there to support.

“For myself as a DJ, which is a solitary job, anytime I say I’ve got a set these guys are always in the crowd, whether it’s to hype me, whether it’s to capture footage, whether it’s to bring awareness to it.

“So everything I do is essentially powered by >THEM..”

With Episode 1 being their first event, Lord Andrew explains that it’s a chance for all of the >THEM. creatives to collaborate and combine their skill sets.

“We wanted to have live music at the heart of it, but we also wanted to bring other elements to the event, so we don’t just have a space that’s catered to people who’ve come to dance.

“Having more of a community space – it’s a chance for everyone to express their ideas and put them in a melting pot, so what we’ve got is very personal.”

Leck makes a final comment that leads us on nicely to what I was hoping to talk about next:

“All the event places are doing great but it’s like, bring something that’s fresh, bring something that’s new. ”

It’s clear that while >THEM., especially Leck not coming from Birmingham, deeply appreciates the love and support of the city because it’s got them where they are today, they also have lots to say about what’s gone wrong and how things need to change if the music scene wants to grow sustainably.

“In certain pockets of the community,” says Prince, “there’s definitely a strong communal feeling of ‘we want to see everyone break through’, and a lot of talent.

“Certain things like the Neighbourhd events which give people a space to do what they want to do and develop while they do it.

“The biggest thing for me is just how much potential there is in Birmingham that’s just waiting to bubble over, but for me I’ve got a lot more criticisms of the Birmingham scene than I do praise.”

Lord Andrew offers up an insightful observation: “There’s this thing where London gets put on a pedestal, but there’s so many different kinds of creatives in Birmingham.

“If we all banded together, what’s the point in thinking I’m going to make my name in Birmingham and then move straight to London. We’re the second biggest city in the UK, and Manchester has more infrastructure than we do.

“It’s crazy to me; there’s little pockets of community but I feel like if all of these communities banded together, and we put the infrastructure in place, then there’s no way people wouldn’t listen to Birmingham.”

Prince comes back in, bringing up a point that gets everyone’s heads nodding: “I think the biggest thing with the Birmingham scene that is creating difficulties is how poorly it was run for so long. And I won’t go into details, but who it was run by.

“The scene was driven into the ground to a point where no one wanted to be involved or associated with it.

“It’s now struggling to rebuild itself because people are in an imaginary competition with each other.”

“Let’s work in a way to elevate and improve and get better together,” begins Ishy, then someone pokes their head round the door for a third time. It’s clear our time is up and the night very much needs its artists back.

“I feel like with more collectives like >THEM. bringing creatives into a space to work we’ll be able to change the scene a little bit,” Ishy finishes.

For me, >THEM. have a clear, collaborative vision of the music scene. And they’re taking accountability by aiming to be the start of some new creative infrastructure.

That being said, Episode 1 will show if it’s just chat or if the >THEM. collective can stand on its own and, in the words of Yonko Leck, “bring something fresh” to Birmingham.

For more from >THEM. collective go to: www.morethandem.com/party

For more from Yonko Leck go to: www.open.spotify.com/artist/
For more from Louis D. Prince go to: www.open.spotify.com/artist/ 
For more from Lord Andrew go to: www.instagram.com/lordandrew_/
For more from Ishy go to: www.instagram.com/bigfootishy/ 

For more from Mama Roux’s go to: www.mamarouxs.co.uk/

Wet Leg On Their Debut Album Tour Wet Leg At A Very Wet O2 Institute 21/11/22

Writer Jasmine Khan / Photographer Connor Pope

 
To say Isle of Wight indie rock band Wet Leg have come up quickly is quite the understatement. With their first single ‘Chaise Longue’ released in 2021 reaching 3 Million streams, quickly followed by EPs in 2022, and their recent album (also) Wet Leg, which debuted at number one on the UK album chart, Wet Leg have taken the UK indie scene by storm.

With five Grammy nominations in tow – including one for Best New Artist, shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize, and bragging an impressively large 2.5 Million monthly listeners on Spotify, I’ve got reasonably high expectations of the duo as I battle my through torrential rain to the O2 Institute on Digbeth High Street.

The doors are a breeze, and as I enter the misty lavender lit main venue I hear someone talking about new wave Bowie, then I notice a spattering of black and white Vans. Sheepishly I look down at my own shoes, clearly we all got the memo.

Upsettingly, I don’t see any support acts mentioned online (though I later find out they’ve been posted on Wet Leg’s Instagram story) but I arrive just after doors in the hopes of seeing some local indie acts.

At 8pm, just when I think I’ve wasted my time, a four piece takes to the stage. Introducing themselves too quickly for me to catch a name, they begin confidently with cool indie breeze and a big slice of rocky edginess.

The drums are rhythmic and pacy, feeling a bit like garage rock with sharp pulls and perfectly timed pauses. I catch that Malady is from London, and the frontman drags his accent as he sings the bass notes.

The guitarist produces classic, melodic indie licks, the bass twangs and Malady bops about the stage. It’s a well-placed support (even though it’s not local) and the room’s getting so full I’m having to strain on my tiptoes to see.

Malady’s final track is about London bringing you down, and there’s some really wobbly synth sounds coming from, I think, the bassist, who’s got a laptop a metre in front of him.

As Malady heads into the last chorus the sound swells, made more interesting by the additional textures, and the lads use this energy to take up more space on stage, closing to claps, whistles, and whoops from the audience.

There’s a 30 minute break and then it’s time for Wet Leg. There’s barely room to move now.

As the stage goes black, several people scream from the audience, and the opening soundtrack to Lord of The Rings plays accompanied by a singular spotlight. A guitar pacily strums, and the audience are already clapping.

Cooing vocals join the guitar and the track breaks down into a spiral of tantalising tones, snares, and bass bass bass. Wet Leg smiles as the audience sings along.

They seem the tiniest bit nervous but it’s endearing and isn’t affecting the quality of their delivery. To begin with, there’s more movement coming from the backing musicians than Wet Leg themselves, but as their confidence grows sassy personalities glimmer through.

The lead vocalist, Rhian Teasdale, is putting her pipes to work, pushing her voice to the back of her room. She reminds me of MARINA dynamically reaching high notes with ease whilst maintaining her resonant vocal tone.

Hester Chambers’ vocals are breathy, at times taking centre stage, but often layering delicate, fluffy harmonies over Teasdale’s main melody.

The next instrumental feels like running between rides at a fun fair, and the duo starts to jump around the stage, rushing back to the mic to deliver their vocals.

“It’s so nice to be here, hello everyone at the top,” Teasdale laughs, “Hello everyone in the middle… Hello everyone on the ground.”

Each section shouts louder than the last.

Someone yells “Shrewsbury” and, “Turn it up we can’t hear.” A man comes to the bar complaining that he can hardly hear the music even when he’s at the front. “The crowd’s dead,” says someone behind me. Although I’m not sure Wet Leg is music to go wild to, it feels more like a groove to me…

Then, Wet Leg plays their next track ‘Oh No’, and I think ‘Oh no, I was wrong’.

This one is much heavier with bending elongated guitar tones, clamouring drums and near screaming vocals. I think I’m getting what the hype is about now as Wet Leg enter the raw second half of their set.

They’re a bit aggressive, a bit promiscuous, the sound’s tight, indie with a delicious twist.

I thought I heard a theremin earlier and as if by magic its crisp devastating voice soars wavering at ungodly pitches for what seemed like hours and no time at all. I’m dumbstruck, it reminds me of Benjamin Clementine singing what angels sound like.

A tear wells up in my left eye, the pounding drums kick back along with Teasdale’s gut-wrenching vocal and I’m smacked back to reality.

The next track is ‘Ur Mum’ and the teenage angst is present in the guitars from the get go.

“What the fuck is going on with the sound?!” shouts someone else, clearly also feeling the rebellious nature of the song.

There’s no chance of me getting involved because the sheer amount of bodies would be impossible to penetrate, but everyone else does seem to be enjoying themselves, especially at the front jumping around and waving their arms about.

A single guitar chord rings out in anticipation of Wet Leg’s final track, the drums come in, then the guitar, then the vocals bolstered by the collective voice of the crowd.

It’s the long awaited ‘Chaise Longue’ and everyone knows the line from Mean Girls screaming it out: “Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?” Then, even louder, “What!?”

Wet Leg and their backing band work their instruments to the max, finishing to elongated applause and ‘Careless Whisper’ by George Michael.

Although I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Wet Leg are my new favourite band (to misquote the O2 bio) but I will say they’ve mostly met my high expectations.

And I, like everyone else apparently, eagerly await their second album release date.

For more from Wet Leg go to: www.wetlegband.com 
For more from Malady go to: www.open.spotify.com/artist

For more from O2 Institute Birmingham go to: www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham