Shonen Knife bring it back to Brighton 6

Shonen Knife - Pic by Ian Bourn / Scene Sussex / Media Works

Shonen Knife – Pic by Ian Bourn / Scene Sussex

Shonen Knife

They come from Osaka, Japan, and I can happily confirm this all lady punk trio, who call themselves Shonen Knife, thrilled everyone with an energetic reminder of what rock music is all about in a hot Patterns in Brighton on 07/04. Shonen Knife are influenced by 1960s girl groups, pop bands, The Beach Boys, and early punk rock bands, such as the Ramones, the trio provide stripped back songs with lyrics sung in Japanese and English. They have also performed as a Ramones tribute band under the name The Osaka Ramones – and have a couple of cover albums.

The trio (guitarist and vocalist Naoko, bassist and backing vocalist Atsuko and drummer Risa ) were all smiles for the hour and fifteen minutes or so they spent performing on stage, They seemed so happy to be here and constantly saying thank you between their songs.

A Slide Show

Naoko and Atsuko delivered great sounds of pop-punk fueled energy. The bass thumping at us and Naoko doing a lot of the vocals work still managed to give the crowd some guitar shredding goodness, with some solo breaks. Both giving us some well rehearsed rock poses at appropriate times.  Risa, an absolutely delightful lady and lovely to talk to, on drums and vocals. This lady has to be the happiest drummer in the world and one of the hardest working. Her constant smiles and superb percussion work just glues everything together for Shonen Knife as they powered through their set.

The Band

Band Members
Naoko: Vocals, Guitar
Atsusko:  Bass, Vocals
Risa:  Drums, Vocals

The Set

Ok, this is tricky as some of the songs were in Japanese, and the set list was partially written in English and partly in Japanese. Here is a shot of the 18 song setlist. Shonen Knife played for around 1hr 15 and they just didnt stop! We got some of the eralier material and also the wonderful Jump into the New World from their latest release. We also got Wasabi , Sushi Bar Song, Bad Luck Song, Jet Shot,  and included in their finale was a cover of Cruel To Be Kind.

Always looking for any help with translation of the setlist!  That Shonen Knife appeal may be limited to a select audience, and those in the know. But what they do is play and deliver their music with everything they can muster. Naoko gave a mention of when they played with Nirvana, which got a huge cheer.  It was just a joy to listen and watch a band having the time of their lives, a party almost, playing with such enthusiasm. Singing about cats and vegetables and so much more!



It’s impossible not to smile while watching a Shonen Knife show, and I dont know why! A fusion of English and Japanese shouldn’t really work, but it just does!  Going to see these guys again, it has been two years since I last saw them, was great, so much fun – a bit like going to your favourite theme park and getting unlimited access to your favourite ride!

Kurt Cobain once said about the band, “When I finally got to see them live, I was transformed into a hysterical nine-year-old girl at a Beatles concert.

Its amazing how powerful simple rock and roll can be when its done right.

Their set covered off just about every part of the bands 30 year history and that included material from their new album.

Have I ever been to a happier feeling gig than this one from Shonen Knife? I don’t think so!!

So lovely to chat with Risa and she finished up by thanking me for coming with a huge smile, said she looked forward to seeing the photos. She had remembered when I had photo’d them before in Brighton.

And Finally – A slideshow

The band is always generous with their time after the show, which is great considering how long they had been playing. They will stay around almost until the last fan leaves! They are so kind and gracious to everyone. They really appreciate and look after their fans. And in Patterns they were talking, taking photos, selfies and signing autographs for a good while after the show. This extended the happy vibe beyond the gig itself.

Shonen Knife are on the WWW

Shonen Knife are on Facebook

Massive thank to Love Thy Neighbour Promotions (Facebook) and Acid Box Promotions (Facebook) – keeping music live in Brighton


Please note all original images / video are copyright, please do not copy. If any of the featured artists/promoters/venues want copies of the images – or more if available – please just get in touch.

All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2018.

Got an event coming up? Need some gig photography, promo shots, previews or reviews? – please get in touch! See you down the front – come and say “hi!”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 thoughts on “Shonen Knife bring it back to Brighton

  • Aceplym

    Ok, so that set list – based on my very limited Japanese and being at the Exeter show, I’m guessing…
    1: (Poppu) – Pop Tune
    2: (Banachi) – Banana Chips
    3: (Baabii) – Twist Barbie
    5: (Tanjerin) – Green Tangerine
    11: (Sushibaa) – Sushi Bar Song
    12: Wasabi
    13: (Ramen) – Ramen Rock
    14: (Roketto) – Riding On The Rocket
    15: (Bataka) – Buttercup (I’m a Super Girl)
    16: (Pirami) – Pyramid Power
    17: (Baka??) – Antonio Baka Guy

    • Scene Sussex Editor Post author

      Thank you Aceplym! Some of this is hard to unpick – your time and reply is very much appreciated. Hope you enjoyed the gig in Exeter. They are just great fun to watch.

  • David Luke

    Set list: Most of these are abbreviations, so there is some guessing involved. First I’ll give what is actually written, followed by my guess of the actual song name.
    1. Poppu (probably “Pop Tune”)
    2. Banachi (probably “Banana Chips”)
    3. Ba-bi- (probably “Twist Barbie”)
    5. Tangerine (probably “Green Tangerine”)
    11. Sushi Bar
    12. Wasabi
    13. Ramen (probably “Ramen Rock”)
    14. Roketto (probably “Riding on the Rocket”)
    15. Bataka (probably “Buttercup (I’m a Supergirl)”)
    16. Pirami (probably “Pyramid Power”)
    17. Bakagai (probably “Antonio Baka Guy”)

    • Scene Sussex Editor Post author

      Thank you David – the abbreviations must make it tricky! I had got Sushi and Wasabi – but thanks for filling in some of the gaps. Your time and reply is very much appreciated.

  • Matt

    Great review, nailed it! Looking forward to seeing them in Leeds on 26th…

    Risa is a super-happy controlled explosion in a dress.
    Atsukoooooo an adorable rock sweetheart.
    Naoko is nothing short of a genius.

    • Scene Sussex Editor Post author

      Got some vid which I may add. Thanks for the feedback and re the band – you nailed that – love your run through of the members of Shonen Knife.