Shonen Knife Return To The Best Place, Australia!

Shonen Knife tour Australia February-March 2024.
Tim is a Brisbane-based writer who loves noisy music, gorgeous pop, weird films, and ice cream.

Forty years is a long time to be doing anything while maintaining a continuous enthusiasm for it.

However, Osaka, Japan, pop-punk trio Shonen Knife have spent their career doing just that.

After forming in 1981, the band have won fans worldwide thanks to the bright-and-bubbly punk-rock they've pumped out – including the likes of Red Kross, L7, and Sonic Youth; all of whom contributed covers to the 1989 tribute album, 'Every Band Has A Shonen Knife Who Loves Them'.

Yet their biggest exposure came via Nirvana, who were such big fans that they invited Shonen Knife to open for them in both Britain and America. Unlike those bands, Shonen Knife has never stopped, and recently released their 20th album, 'Our Best Place'.

With sisters of Naoko and Atsuka Yamano, and drummer Risa Kawano (who joined in 2015), Shonen Knife continue writing what they know: catchy and fun odes to food and animals. The menu on their most recent album includes Baumkuchen cake, taquitos, and spicy veggie curry.

Before returning for their sixth tour of Australia, singer-guitarist and longest-serving member Naoko shares their collective excitement for returning to Australia, favourite Australian songs, and where her best place is.

Where are you? What are you doing?
I'm at my home town Osaka now. I'm preparing for Australia and New Zealand tour 2024. I also play tennis a lot.

You've just released your 20th album, 'Our Best Place', and spent 2023 touring. Do you have any highlights from 2023?
It was our nine-week Europe and the UK tour from March to May 2023. The tour started from snowy Scandinavian countries. It was so cold, but we could have very hot shows there. I was happy to see our fans in EU and UK after four years and many of them love our new album.

Where is your best place?
I would like to say that my best place is 'onstage'. I also love the place of an indoor carpet tennis court.

You had to stop touring and stay in Japan during the pandemic. How did you spend that time in isolation? Was it hard? Did you learn to cook any new dishes?
It was easy for me to spend time in isolation. Shonen Knife was very busy for touring in 2019. I needed holidays. I often went cycling. I bought an 88-key electric piano and practiced The Beatles songs, like 'Lady Madonna', 'Martha My Dear'. I learned new dishes. Churros were yummy!

What made you decide to re-record your 2003 song 'Girl's Rock'?
'Girl's Rock' was included as a compilation album released in 2003 in Japan. The compilation album is out of print now. But the song is popular at our [live] shows. We decided to re-record it for people who can listen to it easily. The new version is more powerful and pop than before. I would like to dedicate this song to all girls who play rock music all over the world.

You recorded 'Just A Smile' by your favourite Scottish band, Pilot. Do you have any favourite Australian songs you would like to cover?
We covered AC/DC songs for Perth Festival's 'Highway To Hell' in 2020 and a compilation album in Japan a long time ago. It was very fun to play. And I like Bee Gees a lot. I often sing their songs at karaoke. 'Night Fever' or 'How Deep Is Your Love' might be good.

It's been three years since you were last in Australia. Do you have any plans for fun things while here? Is there any Australian food you are excited to eat?
I'm happy just spending days in Australia with good weather, beautiful towns and cheerful, friendly people. We have a couple days off. I want to walk around the town. I love to eat fish and chips.

You have been performing for 40 years and released 20 albums. How do you keep yourself motivated to keep rocking?
The reaction of our audience at our shows make myself motivated to keep rocking. I can't wait to go back to Australia and see many cheerful, friendly people at our shows!

Shonen Knife 2024 Tour Dates

Wed 21 Feb - Vinnie's Dive Bar (Gold Coast)
Thu 22 Feb - Felons Barrell Hall (Brisbane)
Fri 23 Feb - The Basement (Canberra)
Sat 24 Feb - Crowbar (Sydney)
Sun 25 Feb - Mona Foma (Hobart)
Wed 28 Feb - The Corner Hotel (Melbourne)
Thu 29 Feb - The Gov (Adelaide)
Fri 1 Mar - The River (Margaret River)
Sat 2 Mar - Milk Bar (Perth)

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