“Cuts Like A Shonen Knife But It Feels So Right”
Japanese legends Shonen Knife performed to an enthralled full house at the Bootleg Theatre in Los Angeles, California on October 5th.
For fans at hand, this was a very special night indeed, with original member Atsuko Yamano (who left the band in 2008 to move to LA) playing alongside sister Naoko Yamano and new drummer Rosa Kawamo. There was a palpable liveliness and energy to the performance, a “once in a lifetime” vibe in the air, largely due to the rarity of Atsuko’s appearance alongside her former bandmates. And rock Atsuko did, jumping on stage alongside her bandmates and playing a fierce set of frenetic bass chords, while interacting and smiling to the audience in a display of gratitude and appreciation.
I had the pleasure of witnessing firsthand why Curt Cobain insisted that Shonen Knife open up for Nirvana prior to the release of “Nevermind.” The sound of Shonen Knife translates to any audience, despite the challenges of lyrical enunciation and accent. Their continued success, over 33 years since their original inception, is a result of their ability to communicate in the universal language of music to fans across the globe.
The band tore through a set of songs, including classics as well as songs off of their latest album, “Adventure.” It really felt like I was watching a female version of the Ramones and, for a band that has wore that influence on their sleeve (even releasing a Ramones cover album in 2011 entitled “Osaka Ramones”) this is the highest compliment.
By the closing track, the crowd was getting rowdy, with an energetic pit forming full of ecstatic fans and those less than happy audience members on the periphery who appeared annoyed to receive the random bump, shove and kick. But they quickly adjusted and focused their energy back up on stage where the true spectacle was tacking place.
After the concert, the band came out to the merch booth to meet fans and sign autographs. This satisfied author came away with a couple goodies from the night, including the vinyl reissue of their 1983 “Burning Farm“ album that I had wanted for many years.
Shonen Knife is a band that has already established their legacy, but continue to surprise and amaze audiences with their ever-evolving sound, a band that is a “cut above” the rest, slicing through musical mediocrity with their chops, one note and syllable at a time.
For more information about the band and their projects, check out www.shonenknife.net.
Inner Edge Music