Live Review: Shonen Knife bring silver-clad Japanese pop punk to Adelaide’s OzAsia Festival

Securing for themselves a well respected and enduring presence within the Japanese pop punk upper echelons, Shonen Knife have been favoured by their contemporaries in the Western scene since the 1980s. It seemed slightly surreal to have the band in Adelaide at the Nexus Arts Centre knowing their legacy, and yet, the large shadow they cast and the reverence attached didn’t bring the fun of the live show down at all.

Like any rock show, this one failed to start on time but you know, you’ve got to expect that. When they did take to the stage it was evident that Shonen Knife had a crowd of long-waiting fans in the room who were well versed in what they were about to see on stage – they were ready. Full disclosure here, I’d not known much about the band’s music prior, certainly not to the extent of some of the fans here, but there was something instantly engaging in Naoko, Risa and Atsuko that drew you in and made you feel like you were a long time Shonen fan.

The performance itself is incredibly upbeat and energetic; Shonen Knife are a silver-clad force to be reckoned with and should definitely be treated as such. The sound draws on 70s rock influences; there’s a bit of Ramones here, a bit of Sabbath and Judas Priest there. The combination of it all is excellent to be sucked in by and with the Shonen Knife ladies injecting wicked personality into the mix, you’ve got yourself a unique live performance that had the crowd wanting more.

The enthusiasm shared by performers and the crowd reached a toxic level as Shonen Knife powered through classics as well as some newer cuts from their current album Adventure. And that’s what this show was – it wasn’t a traipse. It was a sonic adventure.

The reviewer attended this show on September 29th.