Sabrina Teitelbaum emitted star quality as she powered through her debut album in the packed London venue
It’s a unique phenomenon seeing a brand new artist arousing such fandom despite only being at the starting blocks of their career. Seeing Blondshell at her sell-out at Moth Club was precisely that. Despite having only released her eponymous debut album on Partisan Records a matter of weeks ago, the most part of the audience knew every song word-for-word, beat-for-beat. By her own admission, the blossoming alt-rocker was humbled that London had embraced her so openly and so quickly.
Hype around Blondshell, the alias of Los Angeles artist Sabrina Teitelbaum, has been swelling since the turn of the year. Featuring on a number of ‘ones to watch’ lists at the tail end of 2022, her inclusion was justified by her standout sets at The Great Escape last month that became the talk of the seaside town. The second of her London shows in a week was bursting at the seams, with the likes of King Krule aka Archy Marshall even making the trip to Hackney to see what the furore was all about.
Feeding off the combustible energy in the 300-capacity venue, Blondshell powered into grunge chugger ‘Veronica Mars’, the album opener which riffs on the noughties high school neo-noir of the same name. The head-banging track sums up Blondshell’s allure: Teitelbaum has a knack of collaging cultural influences from her youth, setting each scene for her confessional, situational storytelling to unfold against the backdrop of fierce femme-fronted alternative rock from the same era. Her personal lyricism evokes a kind of middle-American malaise, jostling between keeping distance from painful past experiences and picking at the scabs of her emotional wounds, playing roulette as to whether or not they’ll open up again or eventually heal.
On stage however, Blondshell is anything but morose. In fact, she possessed a polished star quality, reeling off jokes in-between tracks and gazing into the rafters whilst singing as though she was lost in her own lyricism, despite camera phones being rammed in her face which brought her back to reality.
It’s the heavier side of Blondshell which best serves the emotional depth and frustration of her songwriting. The pained ballad ‘Olympus’ and maniacal recent single ‘Salad’ are highlights of the 45-minute set, the latter adopting the loud-quiet-loud formula pioneered by Pixies which became a staple of alternative rock throughout the 1990s, putting said formula to good use with her absorbing, idiosyncratic storytelling throughout the menacing verses which erupt into carthatic blowouts each chorus.
Calling time on her performance with ‘Dangerous’, Teitelbaum warmly thanked the eager crowd for the experience, confirming she’ll be returning to the capital later in year by which time her stock would’ve risen further. To use the lyrics to ‘Salad’ grossly out of context, it’d be a safe bet to assume that Blondshell is “gonna get big, gonna get big”.