Squeezed into a run of European and US tour dates, Blondshell only touches down in the UK to perform a rescheduled Bristol date and this brand new date in London. It’s a rare opportunity to see the LA musician live and the excitement is palpable.
Lafayette is already reasonably full for the support band Tiberius b, a Canadian musician now based in London who is giving a full headline-standard performance to the small pocket of people in the audience who know their lyrics.
Blondshell comes on and the audience is instantly right there with her. Breezing through ‘Veronica Mars‘ and ‘Septic‘, it’s clear early on that Sabrina Teitelbaum has immense vocal power. She barely wavers when getting up into a higher register and, fitting of the casual grunge instrumentals of her music, her performance style is lackadaisical yet confident, captivating. She puts her arm straight up, gesturing as if to say: of course. We knew it all along. Didn’t you?
During downtempo number ‘Joiner‘, Teitelbaum gets the crowd clapping along in time without doing anything at all which, if you’ve been to any gig ever, you’ll know is a feat in itself. It speaks to her magnetism onstage and the quiet power of her music.
At one point, Blondshell regales the audience with an impressive cover of Le Tigre‘s ‘Deceptacon‘. It’s difficult to imagine that that song could be improved upon, but Blondshell somehow do, or if not improve it, then draw something else out of the composition. It not only perfectly suits Teitelbaum’s tone and register, but she extracts a new elegance from the raw energy of the original.
By the time ‘Kiss City‘ rolls around towards the end of the set, Teitelbaum has the audience in the palm of her hand. The affection that they have formed for this song in particular, with its diaristic lyrics and idiosyncratic turn of phrase, is clear. Someone even whips out their phone to FaceTime their mates from the middle of the crowd; Teitelbaum gives them a wave in the middle of the chorus, prompting the onscreen recipient to whip their hands to their mouths in awe.
Walking out, the widespread appreciation to have seen Blondshell at such a small venue is evident. It’s an act that will go on to dominate much larger stages, and to have caught her at this stage of her career is a valuable accolade.
Photo credit: Daniel Topete