Shortly before 9 p.m. on Thursday night, a surge of people arrived at the Room 5 Lounge in Hancock Park, an intimate bar and performance space on the second floor of an Italian restaurant. Friends, family, and fans packed the room to see musician Jacob Snider, the New York-bred artist now living in Los Angeles, play a short set.
Snider’s profile has been steadily rising in the New York and Los Angeles music scenes; while studying music at Columbia University, NPR affiliate WXPN began playing his music on the radio, and named him Best New Artist. KCRW in Los Angeles invited Snider to play School Night!, a popular showcase for emerging young artists. In his short career, he has shared the stage with Matisyahu, Bobby Long, and the Civil Wars, and was recently selected by BMI to perform at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.
“He’s a very smart, interesting guy,” said Tony Berg, a record producer who worked on Snider’s forthcoming LP. “He played a show [in Los Angeles] last month that really blew everyone away. I’ve never seen him play without a band before, but it should be good.”
The show began almost a half-hour late, but no one minded. A hush fell over the by-now large crowd as Snider wordlessly took the stage.
He proceeded to run through a tight, focused set, changing up instruments between almost every song. Snider began his set with what he later told me was an electric Indian banjo, and then switched to guitar. For his third song, a cover of Neil Young’s “Bad Fog of Loneliness,” he switched to piano, and it was on the piano that Snider really shined. With clear, piercing vocals complimenting his excellent playing, he ran through the cover with confidence and conviction. The crowd loved every minute.
Much of Snider’s original music is characterized by intricate melodies and complex harmonic arrangements. Perhaps no song embodies Snider’s style more than “I Am Not Alright,” the fourth tune he played during his set. Playing both a keyboard and his electric Indian banjo simultaneously, Snider sang: “I’m in the wrong, I have the right/although I wanted it all to be alright/there is something in my blood and/I am not alright.”
After Snider finished playing the jazzy tune, a man in the back of the room yelled out, “Who are you?”
Snider took it in stride. “My name is Jacob… Jacob Snider.” Then he laughed. “Gotta have one heckler or it’s not a good show.” The crowd laughed with him.
After he played a few more songs, the show was abruptly over. At about 40 minutes, the only criticism I had was that it should have gone longer. Still, everyone went home happy. When the show was over, Snider got a huge round of applause.
Breitbart California caught up with Snider after the show. He said he moved to Los Angeles last August, and has been steadily writing and recording music since. He explained that his record producer, Tony Berg, taught him how to play the electric Indian banjo, and he also spoke about his influences; Nick Drake, early Bjork, and the Cocteau Twins are what he’s listening to right now. Snider also said he”ll support his upcoming LP release with more shows in the area.
Snider looks to be poised for big things in the Los Angeles music scene, but it’s his bio that puts it best: “As his artistry becomes the foreground, there are seemingly no limits for what is to come.”