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July 12, 2007

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This is weird: small band plus massive stage (i.e. small of profile, not height or anything like that) so often equals a dismal performance, but Atlanta-based foursome Snowden fill the cavernous Hammersmith Apollo – gradually filling throughout their 30-minute set – brilliantly. It’s mightily impressive, hearing taut indie-noir songs bounce around walls usually only seen by groups enjoying far greater sales than these relative unknowns.

Visually, a lot of the interest is directed the way of bassist Corrine Lee, who uses the space well, leaping from any small outcrop near her x-marks-the-spot positioning left of stage and pulling off some fine rock star poses. Vocalist Jordan Jeffares is positively statuesque by comparison, but no less absorbing to the eye. As he squints out the slew of vague indifference that, mostly, stands before him – everyone but a handful of individuals, such as yours truly, is here for headliners Kings Of Leon – he raises his head slightly and allows melancholic tones to fly forth. The mood settles somewhere near Interpol, but with precision drumming from the oddly angular of posture Chandler Rentz guiding choice cuts from the band’s Anti-Anti LP from murmured introductions to glorious closes, Snowden prove themselves to be a lot more enjoyable that the sour-faced New Yorkers.

Highlights, personally, are ?°»Bullets’ and ?°»Black Eyes’, but it’s not like most attendees care for the titles – they’re happy tapping toes and sipping beer to a band they’re steadily and pleasantly surprised by. At the merchandise table there’s a rush on, for Kings Of Leon t-shirts. Anti-Anti looks sad, taped to a display for a measly £7. Hopefully someone took a chance based on what they saw.

Because Snowden are sure to be appearing, before long, on massive stages such as this exclusively under their own steam. At least, they will if arena-playing acts of excellent taste continue to recognise their talents.

Drowned in Sound

Mike Diver