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The Snails, Vic Ruggiero and Spelling Reform @ Boot & Saddle.

January 29, 2015

Snails 1-24 (1 of 10)Text by Jennifer Granato. Images by Ken Stager.

On Saturday night, Boot & Saddle hosted the reggae/soul band The Snails for their first show back in their home city in quite a while. Boot & Saddle’s cozy room, filled with rock ‘n’ roll, blues and soul all night, turned out to be an excellent place to hide from the winter chill.

The Snails took the stage around 10. The five piece band, all matching in neat, black button-up shirts, didn’t rely on gimmicks or distractions to entertain the audience. Instead, they placed their focus entirely on the quality of their music. Their set flowed from one song into the next, featuring tracks from their most recent album, Songs from the Hydrogen Jukebox. The band’s energy sparked the crowd all night. When Vic Ruggiero, frontman of ska band The Slackers, joined The Snails on stage for a final number, the whole room was dancing.

Tim Hildebrand, the 23-year-old South Philly resident and guitarist for The Snails, spoke on what to expect from the band in the coming months.

“We’re currently working on a new full length,” Hildebrand said, as people pushed around him going back and forth to the bar. “We’re going down to Nashville to record it in the summer, in the same studio and with the same producer that did Alabama Shake’s record. We’re bringing a new soul and rock ‘n’ roll sound to our music.”

Todd Fausnacht, the lead singer and guitarist, cited early Stax Records catalogs and Chess Records artists as musical influences. Songs full of soulful melodies with layered vocal harmonies are the new normal for The Snails and it works. Songs from the Hydrogen Jukebox has just been released on vinyl and The Snails will begin playing more regular shows in April when their members are all back in the city.

Spelling Reform, an indie rock/power pop band from Philadelphia opened the show with a set of upbeat and fun rock ‘n’ roll. Before The Snails, Vic Ruggiero performed to a crowd that suddenly packed themselves into the room. Ruggiero played his set as a one-man band, complete with a tambourine, drum, guitar and harmonica. He played an hour-long set of his original music and bluesy, acoustic spins on Slackers songs, occasionally taking requests from audience members.

As he settled on stage, his thick Bronx accent an obvious giveaway that he wasn’t from around here.

“It’s nice to be back in Philadelphia,” he said.

One Comment
  1. January 29, 2015 5:03 pm

    The snails are so legitimate

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