Baltimore-based indie rock band Snail Mail has become one of the most buzzed about bands of 2018, with singer/guitarist Lindsey Jordan putting forth some of the most passionate and wise music I’ve heard in years, and all at the age of 19. They are in the middle of a full US tour right now, and I was able to catch the second night of their sold out weekend at the Bootleg Theatre in Los Angeles.
Opening the night was Philly darkwave band Empath, who set the tone for the night with their heavy synth-rock that was complemented by a stellar performance by drummer Garrett Koloski. Following them were Snail Mail’s tourmates, Bonny Doon, joined by Lindsey Jordan on bass, warming the audience up with their soft, country-twinged slacker pop reminiscent of Trick-era (Sandy) Alex G or White Fence.
Snail Mail took the stage and opened up with a shoegaze-heavy improvised jam session, each musician messing around with their instruments to let everybody know they were ready to start the show. It made a seamless introduction into their first song “Heat Wave,” the lead single off their new album Lush. Jordan’s passion for her music and performance is infectious, rubbing off on the audience almost immediately. Although a teenager, Jordan has the stage presence of someone who has been playing shows for a decade, charming the audience with her banter about her Twitter account and her favorite LA food spots, along with bouncing around the stage during her set. Bassist Alex Bass and drummer Ray Brown held down the rhythm section and complemented Jordan’s guitar leads perfectly, letting her shine while also giving the songs a more well-rounded feel. Jordan played some of Snail Mail’s older songs like “Slug” and “Dirt,” plus their breakout song, “Thinning,” before going into songs off their newer album, including standouts like “Pristine” and “Deep Sea.” For the final two songs, the rest of the band left the stage, leaving Jordan alone to finish the show with the devastating Lush closer “Anytime” and a cover of “2nd Most Beautiful Girl in The World” by 90s Olympia indie-pop band Courtney Love.
Snail Mail is already on their way to becoming one of the biggest rock bands in the country. You can see that in the way Jordan carries herself on-stage, and I, for one, am beyond excited to see where they go from here.