Lindsey Jordan leads her band Snail Mail in a performance at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Sept. 9, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)
Marylanders, Marylandians, whatever you label them, tend to be a boastful people.
Ellicott City native Lindsey Jordan, who’s made a global name for herself recording as Snail Mail, might be as proud as any you’ll meet.
At a highly anticipated local appearance at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Sept. 9, one that had been significantly delayed following a necessary vocal cord surgery last fall, Jordan was emphatic and shameless in her love for her home state throughout a performance that only further validated her ascension to international indie rock stardom in just a few years’ time.
“When I went outside, I could just smell that Maryland air, baby,” cracked the 23-year-old songwriter and guitar player as she took to the stage fronting her five-piece band, blood red roses bedecking her mic stand.
“FUCK NEW YORK!” she blurted with triumph, fists flying in the air.
While she merely joking with the stab at the Big Apple, where she now resides, she rode that contentious energy to fulfill the packed Silver Spring space, located about a half hour from Jordan’s home turf.
With what amounted to a family reunion for her and her band mates — she said “each and every one of” the group members’ parents were in the building — Lindsey took fans through a healthy set of music that pulled from her widely revered and critically acclaimed pair of studio albums, the 2018 Snail Mail debut, Lush, and 2021’s Valentine.
Stream Snail Mail’s 2021 studio album Valentine via Spotify:
Two tracks from Lush — the quickly expanding “Heat Wave” and the pensive “Speaking Terms” — showed early in the night that the local product and her accomplices would be covering a wide range of sentimental ground, and that they’d fill up the large space with a gleaming and still-growing sound they’re developing as a band.
Shifting to her newer release, “Headlock” was a marvelous showcase of the innocent beauty in Jordan’s voice, and at The Fillmore Silver Spring it also featured careful, timely contributions from either side of her. Another track benefitting from her sincere, toiling vocal style, “Glory” translated from an album victory to a mesmerizing rock affair in the flesh.
At the front of stage, Jordan — an emotive and passionate band leader — had glint in her eyes and was in a clear state of euphoria, sticking her tongue out at friends in the crowd, cracking up at any moment with her bandmates, a group she said would drop anything for a trip back to Maryland, where Lindsey began playing under the name Snail Mail at the age of 15.
Watch the official music video for Snail Mail’s “Adore You” via the band’s YouTube channel:
Five songs into the set Friday night, hurling the bitter lyrics of “Madonna” into the mic sans guitar, Lindsey peeled off her jacket and flung it, and it was obvious then that this show in particular — the last of this postponed Snail Mail tour — was an absolute relief and reward to her and her mates.
To her right was keyboardist Maddie McCormack, to her right Ben Kaunitz on guitar. And while they were harder to see, deep in the back was drummer Ray Brown and Alex Bass on the … bass.
Jordan and company performed a vigorous take on “Thinning,” composed for the 2018 film I Feel Pretty. But she was maybe at her most captivating with the acoustic guitar in her hands for a cathartic presentation of “Automate” from Valentine, which like her first album was praised by the ficklest of music outlets — she even joked at one point about sacrificing a band member for the sake of positive reviews from Pitchfork.
Watch the official music video for Snail Mail’s “Ben Franklin” via the band’s YouTube channel:
The only departure from her own music during the set, Lindsey performed her own take on The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight,” a real treat for those in the room who lived through the ’90s.
“Sorry this got rescheduled,” she told the crowd later in the set. “Honestly, I’m pretty shocked that people still came. I had to get worked on, and now we can rock together. Definitely a bump in the road. It sucked, and I’m sorry to leave everyone hanging.”
But this audience had forgotten the delay the moment the local hero walked on stage, cheering her on like a group of pals gathered with the intention of rallying — and partying — around her.
“WE LOVE YOU!” shouted one voice “LET’S GO BABE!” called another.
“Cheese to be here … absolute cheese,” she said, later encouraging her fans to cherish the night in Maryland together.
Jordan repeatedly heaped praised and gratitude on the tour’s opening acts, Hotline TNT out of Minneapolis and New York City-based Momma. Lindsey herself sat stageside right during the Momma set, jamming, taking video with her cell phone and posting to her Instagram Story.
“I really love these two other bands musically and personally,” she said. “If we did like an exclusive tour for the rest of our lives would you guys come? No new tour mates. Only these friends, no new tours.”
The close-knit hoard was on board for the idea.
But Lindsey thanked her own band in earnest, calling each member out for their impressive skillset that positions this band as a qualified force at its young age.
She thanked a few members of her staff in particular, but she also gave a special shoutout to perhaps the most important member of her team: her mother.
She’d go on to lead an otherworldly rendition of “Forever (Sailing),” unforgettable take on “Mia” and eventually wrapped up with the set with “Valentine,” the title track of the newest album.
Returning to the stage for an encore, Snail Mail was not alone — Hotline TNT and Momma were asked to join and the closing presentation of “Pristine,” Jordan’s most popular song by the numbers, became an all-out spectacle, with musicians riding the backs of other musicians, players high-stepping in any direction on the stage, and the overflowing hysteria had nowhere to go but into a crowd that had waited so patiently to celebrate with this band.
Stream Snail Mail’s 2018 studio album Lush via Spotify:
“I just don’t know what I’m going to do when I get home,” said Jordan, who is set to make her motion picture debut alongside Fred Durst and other musicians in the horror film I Saw The TV Glow.
So, as an artist on the rise, she will undoubtedly find plenty to do — and that will in all likelihood include scheduling another return to this area, where she is especially adored.
Tonight, Tonight (Smashing Pumpkins)
Pristine (with Momma and Hotline TNT)
Here are images of Snail Mail, along with opening acts Momma and Hotline TNT, performing at The Fillmore Silver Spring the night of Sept. 9, 2022. All photographs copyright and courtesy of Casey Vock.