An indie rock Valentine with Blondshell

This past Friday, Blondshell (Sabrina Teitelbaum) opened for Suki Waterhouse at Terminal West. Blondshell tore up the stage with breakup jams and ballads alike. // Photo by Karina Teichert Student Publications

“Does anyone like the Cranberries?” a blonde girl with a Twisted Sister shirt asks the audience. That girl is Sabrina Teitelbaum, lead singer for, and the brains behind, indie rock outfit Blondshell. The answer to her question is a resounding “YEAH!” It turns out that asking whether or not the crowd liked The Cranberries was the perfect question, if not a little redundant in assuming anyone may not have. Not only did Teitelbaum cover their song “Disappointment,” but she always showed her range. Halfway through the show, a couple audience members whispered to each other that Sabrina has a voice for the ‘90s, a perfect description for Teitelbaum’s voice and sound.

The venue? Terminal West on West Marietta Street, just seven minutes off the edge of campus. The crowd? Mostly groups of girls wearing leather blazers, chatting happily with their friends while they waited for the show to start. Judging by the name, it was assumed that Blondshell was going to be a shiny platinum blonde, but Sabrina’s brown roots and Twisted Sister shirt revealed her grunge-y sensibilities. The set began with a harrowing rendition of her song “Veronica Mars,” which succinctly describes the disillusionment of growing older and what it’s like to fall in love with someone who’s not good for you — do the lyrics “Logan’s a d— / I’m learning that’s hot’’ strike a chord? Each of her songs felt confessional, raw and unafraid of themselves. Blondshell’s music is not particularly complex sonically, but it does not need to be. It cuts through the fluff and deposits itself directly in the hearts of listeners; the hooks are catchy, the lyrics witty and the emotions real. 

With almost half a million monthly listeners on Spotify and only six released songs, it is not a far leap of the imagination to say that Blondshell is indie rock’s next big hit.

A lot of Blondshell’s music is full of love and heartache, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Here were a few of the Technique’s favorites: “Cartoon Earthquake” sounds like if Katy Kirby sang a slower, melancholy-tinged version of “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty. Judging by their Spotify data, “Olympus” is the band’s most popular song as of yet, and it is not hard to see why. It is catchy and heartfelt, great for long car drives and thinking about past lovers. The refrain, “I just keep you in the kitchen / While I burn,” perfectly captures the haze of self-destruction and confusion that follow painful breakups. “Kiss City” is a tug-on-the-heartstrings ballad with a twist: “I think my kink is when you tell me that you think I’m pretty.” 

Lastly, “Joiner” is light-hearted with a lot of forward momentum, and sounds like an operatic, atmospheric Courtney Barnett song. 

The headliner, Suki Waterhouse, was phenomenal. Seeing her on stage in a gorgeous, light pink, sparkly top with angelic lighting could make anyone fall for her. 

Her performance of “Johanna” was hair-raising, and the song is even more cinematic in person. “Nostalgia” sounds better live and her clear voice rings painfully true for those that take a closer look: again, right in time for Valentine’s Day.