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LIVE: Wet Leg, Self Esteem and Johnny Marr – 6 Music Festival, The Great Hall, Cardiff, 03/04/2022

Taking place in the glorious city of Cardiff, this years 6 Music Festival boasted one of their strongest lineups yet. We took a trip to the Great Hall on Sunday night to see it come to an epic close with sets from Wet Leg, Self Esteem and Johnny Marr.

Opening the evening was Wet Leg – the band whose names are on everyones lips and songs are on everyones playlists. With less than a week to go until the release of their highly anticipated debut album the band stormed through a ten song set of tracks laced with millennial angst and humour – including singles ‘Wet Dream’, ‘Too Late Now’, ‘Oh No’, ‘Angelica’ and ‘Ur Mum’. Wet Leg have a charm about them that’s particularly apparent as Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers giggle and twirl in unison during ‘Too Late Now’. Through the crashing guitars and witty lyrics was an awkwardness to their set that’s most likely paired with their fast rising success. By the time they ended with their infectiously catchy debut single, ‘Chaise Longue’, the band seemed to have found their footing and we look forward to seeing their live show develop over time.

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Having dominated the #1 spot of both ‘Albums of 2021’ and ‘Tracks of 2021’ lists, Rebecca Lucy Taylor (AKA Self Esteem) has just come to the end of her biggest tour yet. Joining her band to the rumbling synths and dark beat of ‘I’m Fine’, Taylor’s intro alone was of biblical proportions and this is something she maintained throughout the duration of her set – from the blistering ‘How Can I Help You’ to the vulnerable spoken word number, ‘I Do This All The Time’.

Taylor’s band are next level – with slick choreography and flawless vocals, their choreography impressed throughout. During ‘John Elton’, they joined Taylor – who was armed with just an acoustic guitar – at the front of the stage for a goosebump inducing performance that was rudely interrupted by a member of the crowd. Taylor’s latest album, Prioritise Pleasure addresses the absurdity of being forced to navigate a world that has normalised misogyny and it was gloriously empowering to see her confront the heckler; “pin drop moment, shall we?”

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Struggling with her voice – but still sounding sublime – Taylor finished the set with her latest single, ‘You Forever’. Possessing a funky beat and sharp bass-line, it had everybody in the room dancing. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, there is nobody else doing what Taylor is doing as Self Esteem right now. She’s just announced a March 2023 tour so be sure to catch her in intimate venues whilst you still can!

Fresh from his Oscar triumph, Manchester legend and guitar maestro, Johnny Marr took to the stage with the synth ridden ‘Armatopia’, before diving into his first Smiths offering of the evening, ‘Panic’. Next came four solo offerings – including the anthemic ’Sensory Street’ and the exuberant ’Spirit, Power & Soul’. Though renowned for guitar driven tracks of a more upbeat nature, it was two of Marr’s slow paced songs that virtually stole the show – the sublime ‘Human’, which showcases some of Marr’s most emotive lyrics yet and ‘Walk Into the Sea’. A live favourite since the release of Call the Comet in 2018, the latter sees the stage lighting take an eerie turn and draws attention to the striking instrumentation provided by Marr’s powerhouse of a band. 

Skilled at writing a varied setlist, Marr’s generous with Smiths tracks but that’s not the only area of his past that got a look in – not only did Electronic tracks ‘Getting Away With It’ and ‘Get the Message’ receive a rapturous response from the crowd, but it was evident that Marr was enjoying playing them. Another strong contender in the setlist was Depeche Mode cover ‘I Feel You’, which Marr released on a limited edition 7” for Record Store Day in 2015. 

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Marr’s main set concluded with a rousing rendition of ‘There is a Light that Never Goes Out’, which was dedicated to Dave Grohl and the Foo family after the recent passing of Taylor Hawkins. Prompting 1600 fans to sing along, it was a moving tribute that brought the set to an emotional end. Returning to the classic Johnny Marr chants, Marr’s encore saw him blast through the raucous ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ and mesmerising ‘How Soon Is Now’ – bringing 6 Music Festival to an end with the tremolo-heavy riff that has become synonymous with Marr’s name. 

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.