After I bought my first Shonen Knife CD way back in 1999, the Happy Hour album, I dreamed of some day seeing the band march onto the stage and break into a high-speed rendition of their self-referential introduction song Konnichiwa. In their first Australian shows since their tour with the 1997 Big Day Out, there was nothing to be disappointed about. The girls emerged on stage in their matching Supergroup uniforms, proudly waving bar mats that read ‘OSAKA, JAPAN’ like flags, then broke into just the song I’d hoped for.
There was plenty to jump around to in the set that followed, with the all-new Shonen Knife sticking mainly to their most upbeat songs from across their entire catalogue, with a good helping of songs from their latest – a fine thing, since it is a fantastic album. Muddy Bubbles Hell was a highlight live, as was BBQ Party, with even the audience members who were simply out to sample some new Japanese pop-culture able to join in the ‘Pig out, pig out, pig out!’ sing-along chorus.
The first encore really got everyone moving, not surprisingly their biggest hit, Banana Chips. Once that was out of the way, there was a frightening moment where it seemed to be over too song. Luckily the girls came back for a second encore, including their Ramones-esque cover of the Carpenters’ Top Of The World, which elicited cheers from the back of the Corner Hotel.