Snail Mail brings emotion and charm to Cafe Berlin

Alongside It’s Me: Ross and Shady Bug, the Baltimore trio captivated its audience last Friday night.


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Snail Mail, Shady Bug and It’s Me: Ross took the stage at Cafe Berlin last Friday for a show presented by CoMo Girls Rock!. The three bands provided a variety of styles while still creating a cohesive show overall.

St. Louis-based band Shady Bug began the evening. Its singer, Hannah Rainey, is originally from Columbia, and told the crowd before the band played its song “Walk Me Home” that the song was written about the time she lived here and walked everywhere since she didn’t have a car. The band’s songs, in just three or four minutes, often switched from gentle and soft verses to hard, energetic choruses, creating a dynamic set.

Snail Mail took the second performance slot of the evening. The Baltimore-based trio has been making a big splash in indie rock, especially over the past year. Lindsey Jordan started Snail Mail when she was in high school and has since been touring nationally and internationally. Friday’s show made it obvious how she has been able to draw so many crowds over the past couple years. At 18, her musical prowess is impressive and not what you might expect from someone fresh out of high school. Her rock is permeating, sincere and ultimately very relatable for a lot of her audience.

Jordan began the set alone onstage with a gripping and heartfelt rendition of “Stick,” a slower and almost interrogative song from the band’s EP Habit. Starting with this song, Jordan displayed her intricate guitar skills that come from a lifetime of training. She’s unassuming, but brilliant, and her voice is loud and powerful. Her voice commanded the attention of the audience as she sang “It’s a hard trip to the kitchen sink, ‘cause I can’t wash this one clean.” The way Jordan sings on Snail Mail’s EP is remarkable, but her vocal talent was even clearer in concert.

Jordan performed three more songs from Habit alongside bassist Kate Meizner and drummer Matt O’Conke, who are joining her for the tour this fall while her usual bandmates are at school.

The first was “Slug,” a song that details an uncertainty of purpose and a struggle with sense of self. Following that was “Static Buzz.” This song is similar in feel to “Slug.” It details a listlessness and boredom with life, bordering on frustration. The last song from Habit that the band played was the most popular and probably most upbeat song, “Thinning.” This song is a coming-of-age track about wanting to sleep through life and how the singer “just feels gross.” The riffs are catchy and hard hitting, and Jordan is completely engaging as she sings “I wanna spend the entire year just face down and on my own time; I wanna waste mine.”

Jordan’s melancholy songs aren’t reflected in her personality. Onstage and off, she was charming, cheerful and had many interactions with the crowd, asking about ice cream and John Mayer.

The band also played five new songs from its upcoming album. These songs stay true to Snail Mail’s unmistakable sound while also bringing a new energy. The band spent some time recording this fall, which means their album may be coming next year.

Jordan played her last two songs solo as well, which brought the show full circle and ended everything on a mellow and wistful note.

Following them, Columbia band It’s Me: Ross played a fast-paced and upbeat set. The energy of their music and the chemistry of the band onstage was infectious. The four piece has gained considerable name recognition in Columbia, and for good reason. Its sound fits in perfectly with other indie-rock bands while still maintaining unique riffs and lyrics. This set contrasted the previous one, which ultimately made performances sets stand out.

This group of three bands packed Cafe Berlin and were engaging from beginning to end, complementing each other well while still bringing individual sounds to the table. Overall, it was a remarkable evening of music and one of the highlights of Columbia’s music scene this fall.

Edited by Brooke Collier |

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