ALIVE! in Europe 2019 Tour


Kraków, June 4, 2019



Shonen Knife have finally come to Kraków. It's high time since they've been playing for nearly forty years now. Unfortunately, the place was not packed as they have never been popular here. It's a shame as Shonen Knife is one of the great modern classics of popular music today. Especially if you think punk pop.

Formed in Osaka as early as December 1981 and influenced by the 1970's punk bands like Ramones or Buzzcocks as well as The Beatles, Beach Boys, girl groups of the 1960's and hard rock, they remain one of the best pop punk bands in the world. The original lineup of the trio consisted of the two Yamano sisters: Naoko, singer and guitarist and Atsuko on drums with a bass playing friend Michie Nakatani.

After four decades and over twenty albums, it's still an all-female trio, still with the Yamano sisters, though now Atsuko plays bass. Risa Kawano who joined on drums in 2015, is a fantastic addition and gives Shonen Knife even more energy and style. Their show at MOS was a really tight prformance. The band offers music which is very simple and to the innocent ear may even seem primitive. But that's what it's all about. The three women make a perfect use of all the archetypal features of classic rock and roll and punk.

Nothing will surprise you. They will give you what you know very well and like very much. The idea is very similar to that of the Ramones. Squeeze all the possibilities out of the known and well tried formula. The Ramones played simple songs with lyrical content ranging from serious ("Bonzo Goes to Bitburg") to rather trivial ("Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue"). Shonen Knife went one step further - simplified their music even more and wrote lyrics that basically revolve around the topic of, as they put it, "delicious food".

Their set was graced with songs about ramen, banana chips, sushi, wasabi, green tangerine or sweet candy power. Naoko even offered an anecdote about their ultimate ice cream experience they had had in Kraków the previous day.

Yet do not let the simplicity fool you. This is good stuff. And the Kraków concert was a perfect proof. Complete with mock headbanging or the two guitarists playing back to back and occasional riffing reminiscent of, let's say, Deep Purple. And colourful dresses, specially designed for the band by Atsuko Yamano herself, dresses that send you back to the innocent sixties and seventies. And their 2019 tour T-shirt which is black with violet lettering that will remind you of that Black Sabbath's "Masters Of Reality" album cover.

Though there is a sense of parody here and there, the whole thing is pretty serious as long as you can accept the basic, grassroots rock and roll with a punk flavour. And yes, humor does belong in music.   














Next page: SICK OF IT ALL

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