One month after releasing her first studio album “Lush,” Snail Mail came to Union Transfer July 14 with something to prove. Snail Mail is the solo project of 19-year-old guitarist and singer/songwriter Lindsey Jordan. After assisting Bonny Doon as a stand-in bassist, it was time for her to take center stage as Snail Mail.
From the moment her fingers gripped the neck of the guitar it was apparent to everyone in the ballroom that if this was sold as an indie rock show she would make sure the second half of that deal was fulfilled. She opened the set with a roaring solo to make sure she had the audience’s attention. That solo led straight into the album standout “Heat Wave,” which was filled with the same kind of high impact energy from start to finish. I can only assume her decision to play “Dirt” and “Slug” off her 2016 EP, “Habit,” was to give the audience a chance to catch their breath. These two showed a passionate side of Jordan commanding the stage with her voice rather than the rock bravado of the opening number.
She returned to “Lush” for the emotional “Golden Dream.” A song which almost reads more of a poem, but believe me when I say it may be a perfect song to be played live. The song’s short two line chorus erupted from the crowd along with Jordan as it went by. During “Thinning” a song which she is arguably more comfortable playing live as she’s been doing so for two years, she again displayed a talent for performance that is even more shocking when taking her age into consideration.
After “Thinning,” and now half way through the show, Jordan still had said very little to the audience. However, it didn’t feel impersonal; it almost felt as though she was letting us experience the music and for Snail Mail the music can speak for itself. “Full Control” was next, a song which should cause a riot in the audience, but maybe the decision was made to play it more softly in order to avoid wearing out the audience too soon. Perhaps Jordan hasn’t gotten the feel for how she wants to play it live yet, but regardless it left something to be desired.
She then rolled into “Stick” a song which has been re-recorded for “Lush” but originally appeared on “Habit.” As she played the looks she gave the audience had a certain intensity to them as though she wanted to freeze you in place.
“This next one is about love” she said, before diving into the lead single off “Lush,” “Pristine”.
It would be hard at this point for anyone in the audience to not feel the personality and stage presence that radiates off Jordan as an artist. Things slowed down again for “Let’s Find An Out.” Jordan lengthened this performance however with the addition of two shorter solos, which broke up her three poetic verses.
The set came to a close with “Deep Sea” and “Anytime”-two very similar slow building songs that feel appropriate as a goodbye, and presumably the reason why these songs play at the end of “Lush.”
As the band exited the stage Jordan invited a guest on stage: Waxahatchee, the solo project of Katie Crutchfield. Together the two women sang a cover of Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough.” After the duet came to a close the two left the stage before Jordan and the band reappeared to play a final encore. The final song was 2016’s “Static Buzz.” If I had to guess I would say the buzz of loud music and a good time was felt by the audience long after the show ended.
While the band could have benefited from a few more shows under their belt, Jordan certainly brought everything she had. As I assume she always does, she left everyone in awe of her artistic ability.