Live review: Snail Mail, Louisiana, Bristol (21 May 2018)
Catch what we thought the of rising indie-rock stars, Snail Mail, on the Bristol leg of their maiden UK tour
On an evening whose warm climes and sweet air hinted at the potential of a summer of rare wonder, a youthful Ellicot City, Maryland, songwriter arrived in Bristol with the promise of so much more than seasonal enjoyment.
Snail Mail features four touring members. However, the band exists as the vehicle of one member: vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter, Lindsey Jordan. Since Snail Mail released their debut EP, Habit, in 2016, Jordan has been the subject of a smouldering interest. She’s featured in The New York Times, The Independent, and The Guardian, among others.
With the band’s debut LP, Lush, due to be released less than a month before hitting the stage at Bristol’s Louisiana, the flames of Jordan’s star were becoming brighter, bigger, and harder to ignore. The sense was that Jordan was quickly becoming the guiding light of indie-rock and that this tour, her first global one, was the chance to see something truly special, of generational significance. No pressure then.
Snail Mail hit the stage with that expectation palpable. However, no nerves were visible. Jordan and her bandmates coolness’ was pristine. It was fitting.
They began with an immaculate rendition of Heat Wave, one of the highlights from their exceptional debut album. Jordan was every inch the star already, with the crowd basking in the warmth of her wonderful voice and liquid guitar playing. It set the tone for the rest of the set.
Among the highlights to be played were Dirt, Pristine, and, Anytime, with each a gorgeous example of the band’s harmonic interplay, and Jordan’s assured songwriting. In truth, though, there was not a bum note played; every song was at least the equal of its recorded version and demonstrated Snail to be a band well-deserving of the near impossible hype that surrounds them.
After exiting once the last notes had of Jordan’s solo performance of Anytime had cleared the air, the band returned for one last song. Static Buzz was their choice and it was inspired. It was the moment on Habit when you realised that this group, and this songwriter, were something different, a once in a lifetime gift to music.
As Static Buzz finished and band politely departed, you needed not even a moment to appreciate the significance of this performance; this wasn’t simply the first show in a new city for a young group of musicians. This was the day you witnessed the potential of an artist to shape a generation. Snail Mail are more than the real deal, they’re a dream made flesh.
You’ll find Songwriting Magazine’s review of Lush in the latest edition our app. You can buy the latest edition of our app here. Not only does it feature Snail Mail, there’s also an interview with synth-pop megastars Chvrches.
Words: Damien Girling