Shōnen Knife @ Radio Radio, Indianapolis, 11/14/11

Legendary J-punk trio Shōnen Knife brought their Osaka Ramones tour to Indianapolis early this week. Shōnen Knife will celebrate their 30th anniversary this December and are touring with a tribute set to the band that inspired their formation, The Ramones. Despite not being huge on either band, they are both regarded as “important” by their respective “subcultures” and I am all the way for seeing bands other people tell me are a big deal!

Indeed, my attendance to the show was partly carpe Shonen, and partly I-hope-they-play-Cycling-Is-Fun (they did not). That isn’t to say I’m not a fan. I’m just a very limited fan. My two favorite Knife songs are on their first LP, Burning Farm, and despite the fact that the band has released at least 10 albums since then, it’s the only one I really listen to. Their brand of whimsical 80s flavored  j-girl punk rock is certainly a cute act, but I wasn’t sure how well it’d translate to the stage. Well, BLEEDING EDGE  innovations in technology have brought the show to YOU.

In my efforts to bring you the realest content I have secured this UNDERGROUND RECORDING of the show. Only a few will ever hear it, but true fans will download and pass it along for years to come, whispering in tongues about the legendary “Indianapolis Concert”. Here it is, presented in RAW, UNCUT .WAV format, overpowered by bass, with almost no vocal or guitar audio. It’s real “underground” kids, so snag this gem while you can.

Shōnen Knife Osaka Ramones Live @ Radio Radio
Opening Set (44 mins.) | Download: .WAV , .MP3″

Encore Ramones Cover Set (19 mins.) | Download: .WAV.MP3″

I was under the impression that they would play their Ramones tribute set before launching into their original hits, but it actually happened the other way around. The three shredded and headbanged and struck poses through “E.S.P.”, “Rock Society”, and the chillingly prescient “Economic Crisis” before covering Ramones standards. They even blessed the crowd with their first live performance of their upcoming Christmas tune, “Sweet Christmas”. Check this live guerilla footage of the event, EXCLUSIVELY at Jet Set Radio.

When I go to these shows, I always wonder whether or not the band is having fun. For Naoko, the only remaining original member of Shonen Knife, it seems like maybe 30 years of touring, recording and playing to bizarre crowds in the “crossroads of America” could get tiring, or at least lose some of the charm.

Only a small bit of ennui showed through the beaming smiles and surprisingly rugged guitar riffs; Ritsuko attacked the bass like some kind of guitar wraith while Emi beat the drums like they owed her money. There was hardly a break between songs as each one ripped into the next, the transition usually marked by a frantic 4-count on the high hat.

In three decades of their “oo-oo-ultra-eccentric-super-cult-punk-pop-band-shonen-knife!” shenanigans, SK still have an element of the excitement that makes their music so exciting, and even surprising in a “damn these J-moms are killin it” type of way. If you get a chance to see them, you really ought to.

More videos are being added to Youtube when I can swing it, so check back there for more glimpses of the show.

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