It’s amazing to think that Shonen Knife have been going since 1981, this was their 35th year of touring and writing material, with fifteen studio albums of quirky punk pop behind them and a bonkers repertories of lyrically wonderful songs to perform, this was going to be great. For me, Bedford is my local town, so I didn’t have to go into London for a change. Bossman came up from Kent and we hit the venue Esquires.
The current line up saw the return of original member Atsuko on bass, joining her perma-guitarist sister Naoko with new member Risa on drums, who was the happiest person in Bedford it seemed! Atsuko revived her historical role of designing the band’s costumes, so the stage was silver sheen and sparkle!
Brill fan vid
Opening with the savage Konnichiwa! “Are you ready to rock? Yes!” with synchronised axes spraying the crowd with happy rock bullets and hair flying - they went straight into Twist Barbie
“Blue eyes, blond hair
Tight body, long legs
She's welcomed by boys, ooh, aah aah”
They then embarked on a whirlwind set which squished in many of their classics and older songs including the cute love song Loop Di Loop, Riding on the Rocket, E.S.P and BBQ Party where the eclectic crowd went insane, their brilliant array of hairstyles, ages, musical tribes and social groups merging into a senseless seething mass of bludgeoning sweaty bodies and grins in the mosh pit. We stood on the fringes, enjoying the carnage!
“Riding on the rocket I wanna go to pluto
Space foods are marshmallows, asparagus, ice cream
Blue eyed kitty cat said, "please let me go with you"
Iko, iko everybody let's go”
Risa and Naoko
They also played songs from the new album, Adventure. As well as the punk influences, especially the Ramones, you can hear elements of British heavy rock, such as Sabbath and Motorhead, and little nods to Nirvana along the way (Kurt Cobain was a huge fan and they toured with them on the Nevermind tour). Stand out tracks with such as Rock and Roll T Shirt and Wasabi (Hot Hot Wasabi, why are you so hot?) were licked out and afterwards the band signed CDs and posters. The semi acoustic Green Tangerine was a very catchy break from the rock and punk.
“Green Tangerine, Fruit of sunshine, Tons of Vitamins, I me mine, I me mine”
The girls. And yes that man pretty much got mosh happy naked.
I also got my rare 2000 yen note signed (show a 2000 yen note to any Japanese person and chances are they might never have seen one and they’ll deliver a cartoon style double take!).
Sometimes you don’t need earnest and well meaning, sometimes you just want to have fun and laugh. Shonen Knife delivered.
“We've always enjoyed writing songs about everyday things. Besides, there are already enough bands out there singing about pollution, war and poverty. While we all care very much about those things, we also feel that music should be fun” – well, yes.
Thank you Shonen Knife, from a very grateful Bedford Rock City.