28 April 2016
Cult Japanese punk trio Shonen Knife are doing the rounds to coincide with their 35th anniversary as a band. Tonight they play to a decent-sized crowd at Leeds’ Brudenell. I went in to the show relatively blind, not knowing much about the band other than their much talked about Cobain connection and their contribution to the 2013 My Bloody Valentine tribute album Yellow Loveless, though I’d heard good things about their live performances so I was eager to check them out.
After springing on to the stage in matching silver dresses, the trio launched into some older songs from their expansive discography and immediately got the crowd going with their extremely danceable brand of sugar-coated noise-punk. They then moved on to play tracks from the latest album Adventure, their 19th(!) LP, which largely revolved around either food or animals. The new stuff packed just as much of a punch as the classics, with catchy tracks like Jump into the New World getting big reactions from the audience as well as managing to stay in my head for the rest of the night.
The trio’s energetic stage presence and quirky banter in between songs could put a smile on the grumpiest of faces. Newly-recruited drummer Risa stole the show (and everyone’s hearts) by grinning ear to ear throughout the entire set. Shonen Knife basically a kawaii Ramones, but if you can get past the novelty of it all, there’s some excellent songs to be heard, and showmanship that is second to none.