Shonen Knife at Fibbers

Last night, legendary pop punk band Shonen Knife came to Fibbers. Famously Kurt Cobain was a big fan so we thought we’d head down to see if we would be similarly converted. Support on the night came from Sewage Farm and Fond.

Review by Martin Frank

Photos by Andy Argyle

The first band on were Fond – a new band that entertained us with clever lyrics and happy little tunes, a little like the Divine Comedy – but that’s not such a bad thing! Fond’s frontman Alex writes cheeky songs such as The Boutique Experience and The Greatest Gift Horse, which was written as a wedding present for a friend. They’re a band worth keeping an eye on to see how they develop, and we definitely found ourselves fond of them.

Next, the three unassuming members of Sewage Farm walked on stage and kicked off with a very comfortable and easy grunge sound, with lead singer Sam Forrest closing his eyes and easing us into Take The Pain Away, which he very much did. We enjoyed their set but wanted a mosh pit to jump into during Trampoline. Slick and showing great ease – these guys show great maturity and skill, and it’s unexpected to see such mature rock music being played in a small city such as York. With the right crowd, Sewage Farm would have brought the house down as they’re a band heading for something big, finishing with the great Justin Got Bored. We certainly weren’t bored, and wanted to scream and bounce along with the catchy and easy going lyrics of all their songs.

So much has been written about Shonen Knife about their bubble gum rock, with many considering them to be something of a novelty. Thirty-seven years and twenty albums later, we think they’ve proved their case and had the last laugh. Yes, they are full of musical cliché’s, rock hand signs, and swaying guitars, but we love them all the more for it, and this really is old school rock. Boldly striding confidently onto the stage in front of an enormous picture of themselves, they owned the stage and charmed the crowd. With their matching mini dresses and pink guitars they were a perfectly preserved polished act as sweet as a netsuke. These girls gave us a masterclass on being the best at what you do, playing their sweet little tunes with a bit of venom now and again and a big wide smile throughout their set. The drummer Risa never missed a beat and by the end of the show her infectious smile had caught on with the majority of the crowd.

They burst into numerous hits including All You Can Eat, Green Tangerine, and catchy finisher Rock ‘n’ Roll T Shirt’, which was ironic considering that the band were wearing their own merch. Shonen Knife do play bubble gum rock, but whilst it’s sweet, fun, and happy, you shouldn’t be surprised by their kick, as it’s flavoured with Wasabi. Shonen Knife are still a hot ticket to have.

Sewage Farm, Fond and Shonen Knife played at Fibbers on Friday 27 April 2018.