“I’ll sacrifice a band member for a good Pitchfork score!” – Lindsey Jordan
Snail Mail (aka Lindsey Jordan) brought a special level of indie rock acumen to The Fillmore Silver Spring on September 9th, to the great delight of young and old alike who jam-packed the venue to the seams.
Lindsey and her backing band blazed into the 16-song set with “Heat Wave”, a song from her first album, 2018’s Lush. It started out with a slow countryesque drawl before morphing into a 80’s style dance number. Lindsey sported a black trucker hat and a tan jacket with matching shorts, an ensemble Angus Young would be proud of. She does both vocal and guitar duties, and was accompanied with backing band members Alex Bass (bass), Ray Brown (drums), Benjamin Kaunitz (guitar, vocals), and Madeline McCormack (guitar, keyboards).
Snail Mail is touring for her second album, 2021’s Valentine (via Matador Records), for which she wrote all of the songs. She did an exemplary job at showcasing the whole album, giving the exuberant masses eight (of the 10) songs from Valentine. Lindsay is a local artist, having grown up in Ellicott City, Maryland. She started performing as Snail Mail at age 15 in 2015.
One of these Valentine tracks was “Madonna”, where Lindsey gave up her guitar to focus solely on singing. It must have gotten hot, because she also took off the jacket to big cheers. Many of her lyrics are open windows into the pain of heartbreak. “Madonna” is no exception, this time about putting someone on a pedestal to the point where the love turns into an obsession that borders on a sickness.
The set was decorated with vines and flowers on all of the mic stands and keyboards, with a huge Snail Mail moniker in the background.
Another single from Valentine, “Ben Franklin” was a big hit with the boisterous crush of people. It would be a disservice not to highlight just how much the crowd was into the show, how much they enjoyed Lindsey’s shout from the rafters style of vocal delivery, and finally the how they fed off her energy, embracing her as a local artist. “Ben Franklin” is about making heartfelt promises of fidelity, and the brutal aftermath of one-upmanship when it all goes wrong.
Next came “Full Control”, one of five she played from her first album Lush. It’s a solid rock jam with a simple hook and a big chorus, providing ample evidence of how much she and the band have come into their own over two albums and a few EPs.
She did throw in one cover song, a rich rendition of The Smashing Pumpkin’s “Tonight, Tonight”.
The penultimate song of the main set was a demo song called “Adore You”, also released as a single in its own right. The demo would eventually become the hit single “Valentine”. They performed it with a raw, quiet intensity, with only Lindsey and Alex on stage (the others having exited for a break the song before). It was then a welcome transition for the full band to return to close out the set with “Valentine”, in full fiery earnestness. “Valentine” is about still loving someone even after they have left and moved on, hoping against hope they will come back.
The encore was “Pristine”, Lindsey’s first single from Lush. During the roar of the lyrics about never loving anyone else, the opening bands (Momma and Hotline TNT) all joined them on stage, where madness ensued in some form of raucous dance party.
As per her good-natured joke at the top of this post, she did not sacrifice any band members this night, despite certainly earning high marks from everyone at The Fillmore Silver Spring. I assume if Pitchfork is paying attention, she’ll get her high score there soon as well.
Do get a copy of Valentine of your very own, and make sure you catch Snail Mail next time she graces DC or Maryland again! You are in luck as it turns out, she is performing at The Anthem on October 9th, opening for Turnstile.
- Heat Wave
- Speaking Terms
- Golden Dream
- Ben Franklin
- Full Control
- Tonight, Tonight (The Smashing Pumpkins cover)
- Forever (Sailing)
- Adore You