Shonen Knife

24th May 2010
Written by Lorna Ransome
Photography by Lorna Ransome

No one could guess that playing at Scala tonight was a band world renown and loved by people of all ages...The queue consisted of around twenty people who waited for the doors to open, others seemed to walk up to the signs on the wall, before leaving...on closer observations it was noted that Shonen Knife were in fact coming on to play at 22:00! This was 3 hours after doors opening! Not one, not two...but three support bands would be playing before the Japanese trio themselves.

Entering Scala, the room was a vast aray of colours, the stage lighting bright, seeming appropriate for what was to come. The crowd slowly started to grow as the night went on, as each support band ended, everyone would multiply until by the final support, Screaming Tea Party, the venue was almost full. Entering the stage, the three members of STP began their first it seemed no one knew quite what to make of them and instead stood staring, occasionally tapping their feet. However it was an ear-splitting scream that began what seemed to be one of the strangest and most hyperactive performances that perhaps most of the people there had ever seen. The guitarist, wearing bandages all around his head, was just a blur as he flailed and spun around, so much energy he'd make roadrunner fall behind. From the start to finish, Screaming Tea Party went from casual just plain mental...the vocalist/bassist lying on the floor, guitarist spinning his guitar by its neck around and around while the drummer simply laughed and repeatedly knocked his kick drum out of place. It was certainly entertaining to watch and enough to get everyone back up on a high from a long and utterly exhausting wait.

At around 22:10 Shonen Knife finally were ready to make their entrance. The lights dimmed and a smoke screen flooded the stage before fading away in time just as, Emi (dr), Ritsuko (ba) and Naoko (gu/vo) entered the stage, grabbing their sparkling instruments and setting the crowd alight with their positive energy. Their outfits, being that of Super Group, and Emi looking proud and very at home where previous drummer Etsuko used to sit, none of the crowd giving any kind of negative energy her way as it was all cheers.

The night was finally beginning as the song 'Konnichiwa' blasted out to the crowd, most dancing the others singing along. Ritsuko and Naoko took front stage and began what looked like an exploding rainbow as they thrust their heads and hair back and forth to the music, losing themselves to the pure and fun energy that radiated around the room.

As the night continued, the crowd never tired, Shonen Knife kept delivering blow after blow of hits and crowd pleasers, Super Group was certainly the right word for it, saving their fans from droning and repetitive songs, every song was as unique and exciting as the last. The communication they tried to have with their UK audience was well received as their English was well practised and understood by the majority.

Hits such as Devil's House, Barbeque Party and Super Group seemed to be just what the crowd needed and from start to finish. Their never-ending smiles and cheerful auras were infectious and spread from the front of the stage where fans boogied, right the way to the back of the room where attentive fans stood on their tiptoes not wanting to miss the show for anything.

As everyone piled out, it was clear it had been a long night for everyone, perhaps starting so late hadn't been such a good idea as most were now heading straight to the tube station or buses. Everyone leaving looked generally pleased with how the night had been and the chattering suggested they'd most likely return again. 

If bright coloured/Rock/Punk/Pop is what you like, then Shonen Knife is a band worth seeing, even if you just feel the day at work has been long, they are the perfect band to wind-down and let go to.