Aspiring female musicians could all learn a thing or two from Shonen Knife. The Japanese pop punk peddling three-piece have been killin’ the game since 1981, attracting the attention and adoration of rock icons Sonic Youth and Nirvana along the way. Their sound may reflect the gritty punk rock that influenced them, but their message couldn’t be more different. The carefree, positive and upbeat spin they place on their music has earned them a cult following and a dedicated fanbase.
For the fourth time in twenty years, Shonen have arrived on Australian shores after tirelessly touring their 2016 album Adventure through Japan, The UK and North America. Since then, they’ve also released Ready! Set!! Go!!! Adventure Tour 2017, a companion compilation to the tour. Their seven-date run of shows has seen them stopping in all major cities, and it’s clear their affinity for high-energy live performances are a key to their success and longevity.
Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory was abuzz with excited fans both old and new on Wednesday evening, setting the scene for a night of pure fun, and songs about food. Lots of songs about food.
Front woman Naoko Yamano is a fierce performer, filling the room with her dynamic presence and voice. The group, in ever changing and ever vibrant matching attire, smashed through track after track, hits and deep cuts, from their enormous discography. The band made excellent use of the time given their massive catalogue and new material- the audience were in no way disappointed. Hits ‘Twist Barbie’ and ‘Riding On The Rocket’ were met with gleeful sing-alongs, while new tracks ‘Wasabi’ and ‘Rock’n’Roll T-shirt’ were received with ecstatic screams from the crowd.
The band was dressed to kill and apparently rehearsed to kill, delivering a tight and consistently enjoyable set, punctuated with anecdotes from the road. Of course they are sickly sweet, undeniably and endearingly twee- but simultaneously tough, hard-working bad bitches with twenty studio albums under their belt and no signs of letting up showing. Their deceptively simple musical and performance style is whimsical, refreshing and above all, fun. Naoko and the girls possess such irresistible charm, it’s obvious how they’ve accumulated and kept their devoted fanbase.
Shonen Knife’s Down Under dalliance has come to an end, and while the band haven’t announced what’s ahead of them, it’s definitely safe to say we can look forward to whatever comes next for this legendary group.