WRITTEN BY: Will Kirkpatrick
After almost 3 years, Lindsey Jordan returns to live shows with a sold out two-night stand at Union Transfer. Originally planned for the fall of 2021, the tour, in support of her new album Valentine, was postponed due to Jordan having surgery to remove polyps on her vocal cords.
The crowd was buzzing with excitement as the doors opened. The usual conversations of “what’s your favorite Snail Mail song,” and “oh, you go to Temple do you know __” was paired with the occasional sharing of astrological signs and socials.
The crowd grew as we inched closer to 8:00, and precisely on time Joy Again took the stage. While not the roar that you would expect from a hometown crowd, the crowd was excited. Though Joy Again have played a handful of shows since 2020, this was their first time in a while playing in Philadelphia.
Joy Again put on a wonderful show. They played classic Joy Again hits such as “Looking Out for You,” “Kim” and “Winter Snakes,” along with a cover of “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit—sung by Zachary Tyndall, who is usually found behind a keyboard. They also honored their friend’s birthday by passing a cake to them through the audience.
This was only the start of the show, and as Joy Again left the stage and the stagehands began to decorate the stage with white marble cherubs, the energy grew. The cheers of the crowd came and went with each time someone went on stage, but as the lights dimmed and Snail Mail took the stage it became real: Jordan is back. With a filled out 5-piece band consisting of long-time members Alex Bass (Bass) and Ray Brown (Drums), joined by newcomers Madeline McCormack (guitar and keyboards) and Benjamin Kaunitz (guitar and backing vocals), the show began.
Playing mostly tracks from Valentine, Jordan’s vocal performance was stellar. She hit the falsetto on “Ben Franklin,” which put any concerns about her voice to rest.
When she played “Light Blue” and sang the chorus, she proclaimed “Nothing’s gonna stop me now,” which feels like an announcement to the world that the 3 years away where she went through a pandemic, rehab, and vocal surgery would not hold her back. Jordan is proving she is not some Pitchfork indie darling that will fizzle out after one album.
Nearing the end of the set, there was an interesting synth line that was not reminiscent of any released Snail Mail songs. But as the guitar arpeggios started, they surprised the audience with “Tonight, Tonight” by the Smashing Pumpkins, appealing to the parents whose kids dragged them out on a Tuesday night to see Snail Mail.
The band walked off stage and returned for an encore where Jordan quipped, “I was backstage and realized I forgot to say goodnight to fake you out.” They ended the first night with the classic song, “Pristine,” and with the house lights and the overhead “muzak” turning on, the crows funneled into the rainy night.
Overall, it was a great show. You could tell they still need to get their sea legs back, but by the time she is back in Philly everything will fall into place. It is an honor that Philly was able to welcome her back.
For more photos from the night check out the album on my site.
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Snail Mail Setlist:
- Ben Franklin
- Speaking Terms
- Heat Wave
- Golden Dream
- Light Blue
- Full Control
- Tonight, Tonight (Smashing Pumpkins Cover)
- Forever (Sailing)