Bleached Fest Highlights: Blondshell’s Emotional Depth Takes Center Stage Thoughts+Photos: Blondshell at Bleached Fest 8/6/23
SAN DIEGO, CA- After the disappointment of Blondshell’s abrupt cancellation of the performance I was scheduled to attend at SXSW earlier this year — a festival where the band had scooped up the coveted 2023 Grulke Prize for Best Developing U.S. Act — my anticipation for their performance on Bleached Fest’s main stage was palpable. I was thirsty for a show, and boy, did Blondshell quench that thirst.
The band oozed confidence, perhaps fueled by their recent accolades. However, it’s the raw emotion they inject into their tunes that truly captivates. There’s a reason Blondshell has been making waves in the music scene. It’s the emotional depth they unflinchingly embrace. “Cartoon Earthquake” sent an almost seismic ripple of emotion through the crowd as Sabrina Teitelbaum sang of a fragile relationship bound by mere threads of fleeting trust. The melancholic “Dangerous” further showcased this willingness for emotional exposure, allowing listeners to immerse themselves in the vulnerability so many of us yearn for in music. It’s one thing to get a crowd swaying under the summer sun, but another entirely to make them truly feel.
Yet, amidst their original hits, a surprising- to me- cover found its way to the setlist. The choice of Le Tigre’s “Deceptacon” might have been cliché in less capable hands, but Blondshell’s frontwoman took a bold approach. Straying from the original’s soprano register, she delved deep into her alto range, providing the track with a refreshingly new timbre. This wasn’t merely a cover; it was a complete reimagining. As the familiar, yet reinvigorated, notes wafted across the festival grounds, attendees were treated to something both comfortingly recognizable and daringly novel.