Gig review – Shonen Knife

Shonen Knife, Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, August 15.

2011 marks Shonen Knife’s thirtieth anniversary. When they climb on stage and tear into their set, it’s with an impressive amount of energy for people of any age. Not only that but – as with their records – it’s just a performance full of sheer cheeky joy and pleasure. And they keep it up for the entire gig.

The last time they were here, they tell us, was eighteen or nineteen years ago, when they opened for Nirvana. As with other acts, they certainly benefited from Kurt Cobain’s patronage (see also The Vaselines, BMX Bandits, The Raincoats…)They then tear into ‘Perfect Freedom.’ This is the nopening track on their excellent, most recent album Free Time.

Tradition dictates that each Shonen Knife has a song about food, so tonight we get the ‘Sushi Bar Song’ as well Free Time‘s ‘PYO.’ This song was inspired by chance visit on trhe last trip to the UK when, between Brighton and London, they found a pick your own fruit farm.

It’s a hot sweaty night in Edinburgh and a tightly packed, sold out gig. But the sheer joy of watching them means any physical discomfort is soon put aside. This gig has so many highlights. Drummer Emi taking lead vocals on ‘I Am A Cat.’ ‘Supergroup’ being so good I buy the album from the merch stand next to me before the song is even finished. ‘Economic Crisis’ from the latest album and the song that made me fall for them in 1992 ‘Riding On The Rocket.’

They also have a side project as the Osaka Ramones so for the encore we get Ramones songs ‘ Sheena is a Punk Rocker.’ ‘The KKK took my baby away.’ And of course ‘Blitzkreig Bop.’

I waited nearly twenty years for this. And it was worth it!

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