What sort of crowd do Shonen Knife attract on a surprisingly hot Sunday night in the dungeon-like heat of Dingwalls? Besides the band’s compatriots, the public was made up of mainly middle-aged fanboys, in t-shirts or short-sleeved shirts, panic stricken and ready to mosh throughout the night for the all-female trio.
Fresh off the release of their 20th album, Overdrive, the Osaka-based band is currently on their European tour, and their “Rock City” London headline gig was the coronation of their UK leg of the tour. The trio played a relentless 20 song set, almost not breaking a sweat into their high-paced performance, and offering the perfect soundtrack to a brutal non-stop mosh pit.
Dressed in shiny clothes, the band alternated between old material and extracts from their latest release, oscillating between pop-punk and original member Naoko Yamano’s heavy metal and hard rock leanings. The screaming grey-haired fans were treated to thrashing yet adorable tracks about the ordinary made extraordinary, from cats – “I Am A Cat” and “Like A Cat” – to food – with set opener “Banana Chips” and “Ramen Rock”.
The band cheerfully interacted with the crowd, parading their merchandise and taking song requests by the end of the set, and giving their own opinions about English football and national foods like fish and chips. They certainly stole the hearts of many, with Yamano (guitar), Taneda (bass) and Morimoto (drums) giving an altogether incredible performance and taking turns with the singing duties.
The tiny trio also surprised the crowd by bringing on stage Atsuko Yamano for a couple of tracks. The original drummer, after 15 years of hiatus played drums while Morimoto went crazy on the tambourine. She also took centre stage by singing “(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave”, perfectly suited for the almost summery night.
Shonen Knife ended gloriously with their turbulent rendition of The Carpenters’ 1972 classic “Top Of The World”, reprising the track numerous times, reflecting the state of mind of the crowd, for the joy of their long-standing fans.