By Calli Ferguson | June 4, 2022
Walking into Webster Hall’s ballroom to find white sheets floating down from the ceiling didn’t come as any real shock. Wet’s indie pop music bares an undeniable prettiness. Emotional songs (some may say sad songs) are touched with a mesmerizing romance. Their sound is airy, alluring, ethereal. Kind of like what a daydream might sound like. Or–for that matter–what delicate white sheets hanging around electric guitars might sound like. Talk about ethereal…
And just when we thought it couldn’t get more dreamy…a delicate breeze started blowing from the back of the stage. At that point, those white sheets weren’t so much sheets hanging like Halloween ghosts, but blowing like flags, white flags gracefully swaying in deep, blue lighting and stage fog. Murmurs of the symbol of ‘surrender’ began to circulate through the crowd. What were they surrendering to? Or rather, were we the ones surrendering?
Wet’s stellar multi-instrumentalists Marty Sulkow and Joe Valle came out dressed in the color of the evening: white, with their dynamic front person, Kelly Zutrau, donning a white pantsuit. Just the pants and jacket, that is. No shirt, no shoes, and absolutely no problems, if you ask us. The way she stood on the Webster Hall stage, she seemed to live there. The bare-foot-suited-up juxtaposition alludes to a David Byrne sort of quirk, but it also feels quite homey and intimate here. Like kicking your shoes off at the end of a long day. An exhale. And perhaps… a surrender.
They opened with “Larabar,” the last song on their album, Letter Blue. On the record, it’s quite a synthy one, while live, it has their quintessential prettiness in a totally different way. Next up, was their playful and popular track “Clementine.” And by then it became quite clear: This band sounds flawless live. The atmospheric melodies captivated the space. Zutrau’s poppy vocals have just the right amount of wine until she floats up into her head voice on a natural breeze. We can’t help but want to use the word heavenly. Our notes from the evening literally read: Kelly’s voice sounds perfect. What a damn angel up there.
That bare-foot, angelic sense of comfort on the stage made her mid-show revelation all the more endearing: The singer/songwriter shared that she had “terrible stage fright.” If she didn’t have our hearts already, she won them in that moment. It’s that exact vulnerability, after all, that we crave from Wet. Zutrau revealed that she had a memory, mid-song, of performing and wanting to throw up. You would never have known. Then she shared another memory–one of the venue itself–which is apparently where Kelly, Marty, and Joe (the trio we know and love today as Wet) originally met in college.
That’s the thing about Webster Hall. There’s a magic in these walls that stays alive through the music that’s been created within them. A magic of over a century’s worth of creative expression. Where a huge art deco chandelier once hung is now a giant disco ball, but the idea is the same. And excuse us for getting all gooey again, but how beautiful is it that this place brought together three friends that would create a band, and years later host them for a concert? It felt like Webster Hall was welcoming them back home for a night. For those couple hours on a Saturday evening in early June, it would be their place–and ours–of surrender.
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📸: shot by Miles Kirsch