Happy birthday to me. You know those Facebook contests where you respond to a post to win something? That’s how I got on the list for Shonen Knife’s show at The Echo, courtesy of Big Wheel Magazine. (Thanks, dudes!) Of course, the band from Osaka is not new to me. They have been featured in the pages of Giant Robot numerous times and I’ve also blogged some of their more recent shows–not to mention have my daughter and her cousins and friend dress like them for Halloween two years ago. So it was rad to see them on their 30th anniversary tour, starting off with the “Good morning, Shonen Knife freaks” intro to the timeless 712 album that introduced their music to a generation of indie punks and grunge rockers.
The set list was a rad mix of old and new–from “I am a Cat” to “Banana Chips,” “Twist Barbie” to “Capybara.” And by now, every knows that the band that was once known for raw cuteness and innocent passion totally rips, right? O.G. member Naoko handles most of the vocals, guitars, and charm. Ritsuko has been rocking the bass since 2006 and there isn’t a moment when she isn’t headbanging, giving the goat sign, or pogoing while playing her axe. Emi is the newest member who can drum like a beast and then sing “I am Cat.” Awesome! It was extra cool that they played one of their tributes to one of their favorite L.A. bands “Redd Kross” with Jeff McDonald in the crowd. Too bad there was no sign of Dave Naz or Jaime Pina when they played “Devil House” (which the Chemical People covered).
After a brief intermission, the trio came back onstage wearing leather jackets and jeans as a familiar Western soundtrack played to start a seven-song set of Ramones hits. Their latest album, Osaka Ramones (what Joey Ramone called them), is nothing but Ramones songs and on Tuesday night they started with “Blitzkrieg Bop” and ended with “Pinhead.” Usually, I hate it when people in the crowd sing along but anyone who wasn’t shouting the lyrics to every song should be sent back to Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. It was truly awesome and provided maximum fun, and even started a little pit.
The next morning, my cousin and I were inspired to visit Johnny Ramone’s grave at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. (He went one step further and had chicken vindaloo for lunch…) R.I.P. Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee. Long live Shonen Knife! See them on this tour and whenever you can.