Shonen Knife reminds Beijing of what music is all about: good times, good fun, great show!
About two weeks ago, I had no idea who Shonen Knife were.. fast forward to the present: I love them to bits and think they’re one of the most fun bands to watch. I was lucky enough to catch them this past Friday, along with a bunch a friends, at Mao Live for their first ever show on mainland China. To say that it was a great show might be one hell of an understatement.
Hedgehog was on opening duties but unfortunately, a friend’s taxi emergency prevented us from getting there on time to catch them. We literally walked as Atom was singing the last word of the last song to a packed Mao Livehouse 🙁 oh well, there’s always next time!
Shonnen Knife took the stage around 10:30 or so and my first thoughts were: Damn, these girls are tiny!!! I could barely see them behind the sea of people in front of me and I was just 3 meters removed from the stage. The second thought was: that Bass-playing chica is one hot mamassita :-p
They kicked things off with a bunch of classic songs: Banna Chips, Backyard BBQ, Sushi Bar which had a decent audience sing-along and a whole bunch of other spanning their 30 years-19 Albums career. after a punkish start with a mellow middle, they upped up the ante with some old fashioned Heavy Metal with a song called Muddy Bubble Hell off of one their more recent albums. The rest of the set was pure bubblegum metal madness that was such a joy to listen and jump to that saw the girls produce horn-worthy headbanging!
Talking about jumping, the audience was mad in a good way! It was one of the liveliest crowds I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in a long time with a non-stop mosh pit of the friendly kind, tons and i mean tons of stage diving and crowdsurfing and even an impromptu weird moment where an female audience member jumped on stage, professed her undying love for the band and asked them for hugs…
Honestly, I can’t think of anything negative to say about this gig other than the fact that it was hotter than hell in that dungeon that is Mao Live… by the time it was over, my shirt was soaking wet.. looked like I had just been rained on like crazy.
It was obvious that the band had been around for a while and had excelled at performing for an audience.. the small things that make a difference like talking to the fans, introducing your songs, getting them to sing along… those are the things that get an audience going and make it so that we feed off each other. And those ladies got it right…. I’m not sure how different it was with the previous members but Ritsuko (bass) and Emi (drums) looked like they belonged on stage. Naoko, being the veteran, controlled the proceedings and was the unquestionable leader of the band.
At the end of the day, it was worth the admission fee and they got themselves a whole lotta new fans in Beijing.. as far as i go, I’m convinced that if The Ramones and Spinal Tap were to have a lovechild, it would be Shonen Knife.
Did I mention Ritsuko?