Snail Mail @Molotow (Hamburg): Review

Lennard Boldt November 8, 2018

Right in the middle of her set Lindsey Jordan, better known as Snail Mail, made clear that this may be her Hamburg concert debut but not her first time in Hamburg. The first time she visited Hamburg was unintentionally, at the end of her graduation trip, when she fell asleep on a train on her way to the airport in Berlin but woke up in Hamburg instead. Although she made it back to Berlin with the next train she missed the flight, she told us.

Well, that was the past and one thing is for sure: This evening in Hamburg went a lot better for her than the last visit. A sold-out Molotow, sweat dripping from the ceiling and hardcore Snail Mail fans in the front row which literally sang-a-long in every song is for sure much better ingredients for a concert debut in Hamburg.

After delivering some high quality indie rock with a breeze of fresh air this summer, getting high scores in many prominent music magazines, it was no wonder that the concert at Molotow was sold-out. I have to be honest: Even I just got to know her through the 8.7 rating by Pitchfork making me curious enough to attend tonight’s concert. And the people came in hordes to see the hottest export of America singing about the struggles of love and life, accompanied by the sound of nineties indie rock.

The fact that she just turned nineteen and is probably half as old as the average concert-goer didn’t matter; you may think that young people haven’t experienced the hardships of life, well, you’re wrong. Everyone myself included, loved to hear her sing about the small and big problems she has faced in her life growing up in Ellicott City in the US.

Before Snail Mail started their set the wonderful SASAMI opened the night, and it just couldn’t fit better. A light-hearted indie rock performance which was interrupted by several energetic outbreaks full of distortion, a playful band and several jokes about German words such as the very funny German translation of Snail Mail, ”Schneckenpost“, and paved the way perfectly for the following concert. Indeed a good choice for a support act.

With a crowd warmed-up beyond a healthy body temperature by such an awesome support act, Snail Mail had an easy opening of the show and started with her biggest hit to date, ”Heat Wave“. It’s a story about the ending of a relationship and was created while she was sitting crying in her bathtub. ”I’m so tired of moving on, spending every weekend so far gone“ she sang, but she performed the songs with such an ease and coolness that all you could see in the crowd was happy faces and dancing people.

In general, the vibe of the first half an hour reminded me of some light-hearted garage rock, which made it easy to forget that there’s actually a teenager on stage opening up about her emotional secrets and singing about all the troubles she has encountered in life.

Just as a snail mail takes a bit longer than a WhatsApp-Message to reach its receiver it will still arrive, but after a while. And the feeling that these songs are more than just “feel good” songs reached the audience not later than she played the beautiful song ”Pristine“.

From this point the concert took a small turn and the songs in general got a slower, more melancholic tone but were still received euphorically by the audience. Or was it the effect of my last few beers that eased up my mind a bit, making the melancholic feel of the songs to slowly disappear? The morning after the concert I wasn’t sure about this anymore.

Did I mention the hardcore fans which sang-a-long in every song ? Well, they never stopped, never hesitated to continue, not even at this melancholic moment. Even the songs from her 2016 EP “Habit“ were perfectly accompanied by the singing voices of the crowd.

The concert came to an end exactly one hour after the start with ”Anytime” and was performed by Lindsey alone, thus the concert ended as the career started for her: With the matching pair of her voice and a guitar.

Considering that this is the tour of her debut album I’m even willing to forgive that she left out an encore. With a promising debut album like this there will be more than enough songs on the next tour.

Highlights: ”Heat Wave”, ”Pristine” and ”Full Control”

Photographer: ©Teresa Enhiak Nanni
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