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Review Wed Sep 22 2010

Notes on Shonen Knife's performance @ Schubas, 9/21

1. I like Shonen Knife as a band name a lot. They are a trio of women from Osaka, Japan who walked on stage by 11pm, waving at the crowd, then for like an hour, they directed genuine fun rock toward us, which the positivity was necessary for me personally, having traveled toward Schubas under a light drizzle and white-purple lightning flashes in the sky, which gave me anxiety. Plus I was alone last night.

2. Naoko Yamano, lead guitarist and vocals, is the only original member of the band left. I'm estimating that she might be in her 50s right now since the band started in the early 80s. My mother is nearly 50, but I would never be able to imagine my mother onstage with the smiles and energy of Yamano, who was playing this glitter blue electric guitar, rocking her long black hair up and down like I would do in my bedroom to get dizzy and drop down. It was great, too, because Yamano and Ritsuko Taneda, the glitter pink bass player, would synchronize their hair rocking to conclude some of the songs.

3. There were three older women in their late 60s taking digital pictures at the beginning of the set. They were laughing, having a good time. The age range of the audience was diverse. There was also a woman with a British accent who looked like PJ Harvey.

4. From where I was standing, I wasn't quite able to see Emi Morimoto on the drums, but she was back there. When the three of them came out onstage and before they left, they were holding up these scarves with their band name in Japanese: 少年ナイフ. At the merch table, they were selling them as "towels" for ten dollars, but they still looked like scarves to me. Each band member also brought a sock monkey to the stage with them, and each sock monkey had long, black hair.

5. They played songs from their new album, Free Time (P-Vine), like "Perfect Freedom" which fans seemed to recognize and thus you could hear that initial cheer. Yamano likes to preface the songs with brief comments, so when she told us that their next song was about a "yummy fruit snack," I had the immediate taste of an artificial strawberry gummy in my mouth but the song turned out to be about BANANA CHIPS. That totally cheered me up. Banana chips.

6. My favorite song of the night was "Capybara," which they explained was for a "very cute animal" that looked kind of like a "giant mice." Laugh out loud. In the song, they sing, I would like to give you a rose / It's called bara in Japan / I know you have it in your name. While these songs invite us to dance, rock, roll--they are also akin to poetry or something, full of charm and sensitive eyes and dedications to the small things we forget to appreciate in our everyday lives.

7. After a song like "Capybara," I realize that listening to Shonen Knife inspires me to look up things on Wikipedia. I was told last night that Free Time is their first English-language release, which means that we have the added bonus of now understanding the charm of their lyrics.

8. Back when I was in high school and everyone had a Xanga, my favorite one to read was this girl named Lai Xu who has the same air as the members of Shonen Knife--seemingly at ease with themselves, seemingly uninhibited in their observations.

9. At some point during the show I was also thinking of Scooby Doo music.

10. As for the opening bands, I wasn't able to get into the room to see Santah perform, but from what I heard while standing outside, they sounded good. I think they're from Urbana-Champaign.

11. Aleks and the Drummer, the second opener, is from Chicago! I liked their set, which reminded me of dark, somewhat aggressive, electronic music similar to the feelings you get from St. Vincent's Actor and the outfit that Aleks wore reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, sort of. A floral dress that made me think of a mushroom over neon green leggings. I read that Dave Sitek was one of the producers of their EP. I look forward to hearing more of their music.

12. Shonen Knife's band site reminds me of making personal webpages in middle school using GeoCities with the outerspace background and yellow Times New Roman font and such. Very do-it-yourself, very nice.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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