Shonen Knife - The Echo - 11-1-11
Everyone raised their finger bunny ears as Japanese pop punk female trio Shonen Knife, celebrating their 30th anniversary, walked on stage. Their fans cheered enthusiastically, knowing they were about to get their fucken socks rocked off. And as soon as the ladies strapped on their checkerboard-strapped glittery axes, oh boy did that rocking commence.
They started off the hour long set with a greeting -- "Konnichiwa," a song that sounded like a gloriously cadenced soprano version of Johnny Thunders's "Chinese Rock." Ritsuko Taneda, on backing vocals and bass, was the most zippy of the bunch, headbanging nonstop but still managing to smile and sing credibly.
When it comes to describing their unique sound, "cutesy" doesn't really cut it. They have a certain type of humble vigor, and their power chords carry them from song to song in an almost Ramones-like fashion, back to back to back to back. All of it is enhanced by lead singer Naoko Yamano's thick and charming Japanese accent, not to mention her shredding guitar solos.
For their last song they decided to do a good 'ol fashioned freak out. They wiggled and bowed to each other while holding their instruments high in the air. Suddenly, they all stopped and Ritsuko looked sternly at the crowd. She pointed her finger. Their last song began; fast and thunderous, unlike those from earlier -- fast enough to even spawn a tiny hipster pit!