Blondshell, also known as Sabrina Teitelbaum, opened for the iconic Liz Phair on November 17 at the Palace Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota. The four-piece band out of Los Angeles was a welcome lead-up to an evening of celebration for Phair’s Exile in Guyville, which celebrates a 30-year anniversary in 2023.
It was an evening to laud the ’90s, and one might say that Teitelbaum’s lyrical style and mellow sound are today’s version of “alternative music.”
The New York native began her career under the moniker BAUM, and in 2020 changed her stage name to Blondshell.
On this night, Teitelbaum and her band seemed relaxed and casual, initiating the evening with “Veronica Mars,” the first track from their eponymous album. The lead singer shared that the song is indeed about the TV show, which she recently confessed to being “obsessed with” when it was on the air.
Next, Blondshell dug into “Cartoon Earthquake.” The bouncy melody seemed to lift the crowd’s spirits and continue the tone that had already jump-started.
Then came “Sepsis,” a song that has the vibe of lightheartedness but deep lyrics when one pays attention. With an opening line like, “I’m going back to him. My therapist’s pissed,” the listener knows they’re not heading into a love song.
Teitelbaum removed her puffy jacket and, near the end of the song, perched on the edge of the stage to enjoy the audience singing along with her.
Blondshell then moved into “Joiner” before taking on its new song, “Man,” which Teitelbaum said the band had just begun to play on this tour.
Then came a cover of Le Tigre’s 1999 hit, “Deceptacon.” Teitelbaum and her band seemed to truly revel in this tune, and the audience responded in kind.
“Street Rat” was next, a groovy and up-tempo song that saw drummer Anna Crane rocking her kit and a shaker at the same time.
The band then delved into the dreamy “Olympus,” which created a sonic blanket for Teitelbaum to lay her intelligent lyrics upon.
Afterward, Teitelbaum paused to ask the audience, “Is anyone here on a date?” When a few people in the crowd raised their hands (or hooted), she responded, “This is a song about dating. Well, about casual dating.”
Blondshell then jumped into the raucous “Kiss City.” At the end of this tune, Teitelbaum’s howling vocals and a striking guitar solo intensify into pure, raw energy. It felt like she was exposing vulnerability and imperfection through her powerful performance, as she pleaded for the bare minimum in a relationship.
The band next meandered into the grungy “Salad,” a song that depicts a vengeful fantasy of punishing a sinister abuser who escaped with minimal consequences. The foursome wrapped up its set with the song “Tarmac,” a smoky, low-key track about a not-so-great coupledom.
Blondshell was a fun, moody punch that helped guide the crowd into a night of honoring the music of the early ’90s.