Some bands are simply built for bigger spaces. Wet is one of them.
The Brooklyn dream-pop trio has been defining their sound and identity for the last three years, making small adjustments that paid off during their performance at the 9:30 Club last Thursday. Aided by a sea of fans who sang along to every word uttered by vocalist Kelly Zutrau, the audience was rapt by the band’s floating, lovelorn melodies. With the addition of a fourth member (a drummer) for the tour, Wet is as confident and dynamic in a live setting as they’ve ever been.
It was a clear contrast from the jitters that were on hand when I saw them at U Street Music hall just over two years ago. Opening for SOHN on that cold November night, Zutrau and bandmates Joe Valle and Marty Sulkow played the songs off their eponymous Wet EP, but it was evident that some things still hadn’t fallen in place for them. Wet’s music makes the most of negative space and space for recordings, but this meant that the live show was low-energy and fell somewhat flat. It’s refreshing to see that they’ve taken steps to address this.
A change of label – signing directly with Columbia Records, versus boutique imprint Neon Gold – and a move to Western Massachusetts to record their debut album helped the band find surer footing, and the confidence transmits to a more assured and compelling live performance. The 9:30 Club’s higher production values also helped, with a stunning light show framing the band in interesting an unusual ways.
The show was short – which is to be expected considering their limited discography – but sweet and to the point, and Zutrau echoed Joni Mitchell by playing an Appalachian dulcimer during the encore. Ultimately, Wet seem to be on the cusp of a major breakthrough: Valle and Sulkow’s production is gorgeous and intricate, Zutrau’s voice has a unique, glistening timbre, and the band continues to write and record scintillating and heartfelt indie tracks about love lost and unrequited, all while building a solid, devoted fan base.