SXSW Liveshot: Blondshell brings punchy alt-rock to Radio Day Stage

Trisha Dasgupta, Senior Life & Arts Reporter

Standing in front of rows of conference seating at the Austin Convention Center might not be where alt-rocker Sabrina Teitelbaum normally performs. However, that did not stop Teitelbaum, known by the stage name Blondshell, from transforming the ballroom into a dimly lit indie venue bursting with energy when she took the Radio Day Stage at SXSW on Thursday. 

“I feel like Brené Brown,” Blondshell said to the crowd. “I feel like I’m about to give a talk on bravery or something.” 

Opening with “Veronica Mars,” a nostalgic ode to 2000s television shows, the L.A. native’s passionate voice filled the room with intensity and angst integral to her artistry. Accompanied by intricate guitar riffs and syncopated basslines, the singer’s robust vocals shone from the get-go, with a booming and powerful sound that never wavered throughout the performance. 

Ever sardonic, the musician strode the stage belting cutting lyrics with biting imagery, effortlessly cool in her tracks about complex relationships and exes. With the production of a 90s alt-rock band and lyrics that invoke those of Fiona Apple and Patti Smith, Blondshell’s tracks reinvigorate classic grunge sounds with Gen Z references and stand out when compared to other indie artists. 

Fresh from opening for Suki Waterhouse on the “Coolest Place in the World” tour and just a month shy of releasing her debut album, Blondshell performed several unreleased songs such as “Dangerous” and “Salad” that had the audience cheering and clapping for more.

Described as her social anxiety ballad, “Dangerous” showcased a reflective and despondent tune from the hyper-self-aware artist. Swaying her head from side to side with her eyes closed, the musician’s somber and introspective track highlighted her skill for writing about the emotional intricacies woven through her discography. 

With a commanding stage presence and punchy production, Blondshell’s performance at Radio Day Stage proved the artist’s incredible performance ability. Set to embark on her first headlining tour for her self-titled debut record, Blondshell returns to Austin in July, looking to take her cool demeanor and head-banging tracks to Antone’s Nightclub.