The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Snail Mail brings guitar straps, friendship, and bananas to Mission Creek 2023


Snail Mail kicked off their tour on April 7 at the Mission Creek festival swaying the crowd with familiar favorites and onstage banter. The show started off with a soft piano playing under twinkling lights before the band appeared to the audience’s uproar.

“I kicked my guitarist out of the band like, two days ago… so f*** it! Let’s do it,” lead vocalist Lindsay Jordan cracked before her set. “And I got a new guitar! All for you guys.” She flashed her Fender with a glossy wood body.

After playing two familiar tracks, “Heatwave” and “Ben Franklin”, she remarked that she “felt like [she] was just in Iowa, [but] it’s been 2.5 years!” After a couple of slight hiccups, the band reached their full stride. Jordan kicked, shimmied, and grooved around the stage, interacting with bandmates, but always making it back to the mic on cue for her next line.

Lindsay Jordan of Snail Mail sings “Pristine” with her pastel blue guitar.

“This one is brand new, you haven’t heard this before,” Jordan quipped before starting the riff to “Thinning”. Her guitar strap snapped during the song. She continued to play the riff with no interruption someone from Englert’s production team swiftly replaced it. The audience cheered at the feat. The guitarist was without her strap for a few seconds, but when something goes wrong at a show, each second matters. Jordan and the stagehand’s combined experience ensured the show went on without interruption.

Banter was common between songs. After “Sailing (Forever)”, an eagle-eyed fan noticed the keyboardist using a banana as a shaker. Jordan squinted at the patron’s phone. “Guy… banana?” She asked. The audience member replied, “Nice banana!” The keyboardist told Jordan that “They’re talking about me.” “Oh,” Jordan replied dryly. “They’re talking about you at my show?” Laughter rippled through the audience. Jordan continued. “[The keyboardist] is my friend now. He didn’t used to be, but this next track is about him.” The song “Full Control” played next.

The keyboardist kept up. After the track, he challenged Jordan. “She can’t do pushups.” Jordan shook her head. “That’s bullshit. You wanna see?” Led by the keyboardist, the crowd counted as Jordan did ten pushups.

After playing “Headlock”, Jordan added a new twist to “Valentine”. Her pedal effect on the guitarist had a slashing sound to it reminiscent of the questioning chorus. Then they left the stage, never to be seen again.

Lindsay Jordan performed “c. et. al.” with her new guitar. It was the first encore song.

A lone barstool stood on stage when Lindsay Jordan returned for the encore. “This is a song about friendship,” she said. “I rewrote this, like, 40 times so sometimes I don’t remember the right lyrics.” Her solo rendition of “c. et. al.” was a somber reflection embedded in a lively set. After the song, her backing band returned and unleashed a double track of “Dirt” and “Slug”, seamlessly connecting the songs into each other. To end the show, she played the crowd-pleasing “Pristine”. Unlike the lyrics, “It just feels like / The same party every weekend”, Snail Mail mixed up the city’s routine with a late-night concert at the Englert.

The stage is a playground for Lindsay Jordan of Snail Mail. She radiates an infectious bubbly energy that won over the audience during Mission Creek. Problems sprouted during the show, but the group was able to roll through them and connect with the audience. The group ran with the buzz Sudan Archives created for an impressive double feature Friday night.