From renaissance to rock: Snail Mail at Baltimore’s historic Parkway Theater

y Allison Foster

Snail Mail’s debut album ush as a tsunami in the indie rock community. In the waves, Lindsey Jordan gets a glimpse of her bright future.

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On June 12th, Snail Mail made a tour stop at the Parkway Theater, a Baltimore venue popular for its independent film showings through the Maryland Film Festival. From Ellicott City, Maryland, a nearby suburb of Baltimore, Snail Mail was brought close to home at the recently renovated venue. The show was the first live concert event at the charming space, where much of the original architecture and framework is a focal point. The Parkway is insanely cool, not to mention that indie rock stars Beach House filmed the music video for their single “Chariot” in the theater, fitting with its eerie vibe.

Through closed doors, local favorite Romantic States was promptly taking the stage. Lead singer Ilenia Madelaire performs with vocal stylings reminiscent of Lou Reed, with a soft, paced tone and near monotonous pitch. Shawn Durham keeps the beat with a single snare and bass drum, coinciding perfectly with Madelaire’s vocals. Durham’s involvement in the project could be considered interesting to any longtime Snail Mail fans, as they were previously the drummer for Snail Mail, playing on abi before current drummer Ray Brown. Opening with a very toned down set, Romantic States was a crowd pleaser to fans new and old.

All while skyrocketing to stardom with their well received debut album titled ush, nail Mail set out on a sprawling album release tour after returning to the states from their European stint. With dates across the country, Snail Mail brings along Detroit native band Bonny Doon, who plays self-proclaimed “low-key slacker pop,” a fitting way to describe the lo-fi indie rock trio. Lindsey Jordan, the lead singer and guitarist for Snail Mail, impressively plays a red Mustang bass alongside the band’s frontman Bill Lennox. Jordan contributes harmony vocals to Bonny Doon’s catchy, angsty anthem “I Am Here (I Am Alive),” as well as a few other tracks from their new album Longwave. Bonny Doon holds a similar energy to Snail Mail, and surprised some fans after seeing Jordan performing earlier than expected.

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Just minutes later, Snail Mail took the stage, the group complete with touring guitarist Ian Eylenbekov. Jordan did a quick costume change, walking out in a blue jumpsuit and white FILA Disruptors, her hair in two french braids. They opened their set with a repetitive, psychedelic intro that transitioned into “Stick,” a fan favorite track from both abi and us. Show after show, Snail Mail plays an impressive set list, with a good balance of their songs, like “Thinning,” “Pristine,” and the summer anthem “Heat Wave.” However just before the encore, she stood alone, performing a seemingly new and emotional track, as she teared up and poured herself over the microphone.

Briefly, Jordan spoke to the audience, saying “Thanks to everyone here at the Parkway for putting on such a beautiful show in your beautiful space,” with her bubbly and giggly personality shining through in a few jokes she made. “I can’t tell if this is an encore crowd or not,” she said jokingly, “It’s a seated venue so y’all look so bored,” which was met with cheers and applause from the audience as if to say, “No, please!” The band returned for a two song encore, met with a standing ovation and cheers that fell down like roses from the balcony.

The Parkway Theater quite literally set the stage for a perfect Snail Mail show, showcasing each of the members’ diverse musical talents in a venue designed for acoustics and spectating. Lindsey Jordan brings magic to each and every one of her concerts, her outward emotions flowing down and over everyone in the audience. Lush holds a presence that few other indie rock albums can attain, embodying teenage love and grappling with an existence beyond what you see in movies.

If you’re interested, you can catch Snail Mail on a few more album release tour dates, as well as four shows with Alvvays in Brooklyn and Philly in September.