Live Review: Blondshell, Hello Mary at 7th St. Entry…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 9:15 am July 12, 2023

Blondshell at 7th St. Entry, July 11, 2023.

by Tim McMahan,

When you think of First Avenue and 7th St. Entry what immediately comes to mind is the iconic club scenes from Prince’s Purple Rain; this venue was voted among the top 3 in the country (according to their signage). But that’s First Ave you’re thinking of, not 7th St. Entry. 7SE is a tiny shithole of a venue located in the same building as First Avenue, and really that’s its only connection.

That said, the room wasn’t without its charm. After showing your ticket you pass through a thick velvet curtain into a room that is shockingly small, with a small bar tucked into one corner adjacent to a tiny stage. The all-black room feels like it slopes down to the stage, but that may just be an illusion. Capacity couldn’t be more than 100 (wiki says it’s 250, but that cannot be right), though there were at least 150 in there last night.

Knowing the show had sold out, we purposely arrived late to cut down on the amount of time we’d have to suffer in what I assumed (correctly) would be a crush mob of people in a tiny space. In the end, it didn’t matter because the opening act, an NYC trio called Hello Mary, started 45 minutes late — which meant standing in the hot hellhole of a stink zone for a half an hour, shoulder-to-shoulder, listening to a drone pre-set track on the PA. It was ungodly uncomfortable, and I started to consider skipping the gig altogether except for the fact that we were literally surrounded by people who were years (decades) older than us who were gutting through the experience. Here I thought I’d be the oldest person in the room. Whoda thunk that Blondshell would attract such a geriatric audience?

Hello Mary at 7th St. Entry, July 11, 2023.

Well, just before giving up, on came Hello Mary. As shabby as 7SE is as a club, the sound was pristine, driven in part by a talented band of players who really knew their way around their instruments, especially the rhythm section. The bass player, Mikaela Oppenheimer, was particularly awesome, working her hands up and down the fretboard, all the time looking bored out of her skull. Maybe it was because of the songs, which were pure ‘90s indie girl rock (everything from The Spinanes, Squawl to Helium came to mind) powered by That Dog-style vocal harmonies between guitarist Helen Straight and drummer Stella Wave. Despite going on 45 minutes late, the band played an excruciatingly long set, which only got better the longer it went.

After a quick equipment swap out, on came Blondshell, playing as a four-piece with frontwoman Sabrina Teitelbaum standing alone instrument-less, behind the microphone backed by a super-tight band that had me thinking they must be hired studio musicians who’ve come in to handle the tour or who played on the record. You never got a sense that they’re actually her band, though they killed on every note of these hook-filled indie tunes. I wish I could tell you Teitelbaum did as well. Throughout the set, her vocals were a mere facsimile of what’s heard on the album, which is a studio-produced masterwork. Live, the voice is there but it’s nowhere near as powerful.

What Teitelbaum does have is a solid set of songs, which the crowd spent most of the set singing back to her. While most of her album is downcast, she wisely brightened the set with a couple covers, including a tasty take on Le Tigre’s “Deceptacon.” The night’s highlight was a sterling rendition of “Kiss City,” the best performance of the night, though she struggled to pull off the high notes during the song’s intense last chorus. Don’t blame road fatigue; this was only their third night.

Despite a luke-warm performance in a smelly, tiny venue, the trip was worth it if only to say I’ve been to this legendary club next to the one Prince made famous.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Blondshell, Hello Mary tonight (in Minneapolis)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 7:45 am July 11, 2023

by Tim McMahan,

Welp, tonight is first in what is likely to be a series of out-of-town travel concerts — i.e., the new normal if you’re a fan of modern indie music and live in Omaha. 

I bought the tickets to tonight’s Blondshell concert in early March after I discovered her music via an article that listed the most anticipated acts at this year’s South by Southwest festival in Austin. Blondshell topped Brooklyn Vegan’s list. After listening to the singles she’d released, I checked out her tour schedule and saw that her closest pass to Omaha would be tonight’s show at 7th St. Entry. 

A somewhat unknown entity at the time, tickets were easy and cheap ($15), and I figured if anything came up that prevented me from making the drive, I could just ditch them. Four months later and Blondshell, a.k.a.  Sabrina Teitelbaum, has released her debut album on Partisan Records, had a successful week at SXSW, and made her network television debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. And, of course, tonight’s concert is now sold out.

Since she announced this tour, she’s also announced that she’ll be the chief support for Liz Phair’s upcoming national tour, which also is skipping over Omaha. It’s a potent combination, as Blondshell’s confessional rock was heavily influenced by Phair as well as Hole, PJ Harvey and Patti Smith, among others. 

Is she an LA product act? Probably. When that Brooklyn Vegan mention first happened there wasn’t much about her on the inter webs. Now her Wiki entry is voluminous. Turns out her first shot at music was a pop act called BAUM, which released songs used for Target ads. She’s no poor indie upstart. She (reportedly) attended The Dalton School. No doubt she comes from $$$. Now, apparently, she’s trying the indie thing. I don’t care; her debut album is among my favorites so far this year. 

Anyway, I’ll be writing a full report on the trip and live review, probably tomorrow sometime, so look for it…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Who will emerge at SXSW? Thick Paint, Summer Like the Season tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:34 am March 16, 2023
Thick Paint at Reverb, March 16, 2022. They return tonight.

by Tim McMahan,

I used to love love love going to South By Southwest, if not for a chance to see both emerging and classic indie bands than as an escape from our crappy, cold weather here in Omaha. I attended four years in a row and saw some amazing acts, including The Oh Sees, Jesus and Mary Chain, PJ Harvey, Peter Murphy, Glen Hansard, Big Star, Bob Mould, the list goes on and on, not to mention a lot of local talent that made the trip to Austin either on their own (Digital Leather, Little Brazil) or as part of a Saddle Creek Records showcase. 

Saddle Creek, by the way, is back at SXSW again this year, doing a joint a showcase with Sub Pop and Hardly Art, happening tonight at my favorite SXSW venue, Mohawk. Creek bands playing are Young Jesus, Pendant, Tomberlin and Indigo De Souza. I would definitely have gone to this showcase had I attended this year.

Who else would I have seen? Well, top of the list is an LA band called Blondshell, which I’m noticing now is emerging on the top of a lot of people’s list. Both NME and Brooklyn Vegan list Blondshell, a.k.a. Sabrina Teitelbaum, as a must-see act. The reason is the release of the band’s self-titled debut April 7, which includes tracks previously release on an EP that already is on my list of favorite releases of 2023. Teitelbaum is the first artist to emerge in the past decade with both a tunefulness and lyrical honesty that rivals Liz Phair during her Guyville days. Needless to say, her tour isn’t taking her to Omaha, but I’ve already purchased tickets for her 7th Street Entry show in Minneapolis in July (my first travel gig). 

That’s the standout. Also on the list is Tacoma’s Enumclaw, Chicago post-punk act Lifeguard, Matador rock band Algiers (who will never come to Omaha, I guess), legends New Order and Tangerine Dream and The Oh Sees (again).

The only uncertainty about going to SXSW is rolling the dice when it comes to the weather. When it’s warm and sunny in Austin, it’s heaven. Unfortunately, the forecast calls for rain today and highs the rest of the weekend only in the 50s and 60s. Dang! It’s still better than what we’re going to have here this weekend.

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We’ve got our own indie show going on tonight right here in Omaha. Former local band Thick Paint returns to Reverb Lounge (hey, weren’t they here one year ago on this very day?). What have they been up to since then? Find out tonight. Joining them is Detroit band Summer Like the Season. Omaha’s own Masonjixx headlines. DJ Hair Brain opens at 8 p.m. $15.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.