Sound Circus, Bournemouth

Shonen Knife

As Spring is now upon us, tonight in Bournemouth we are blessed with many “named” artists playing in the town this very evening. I choose to make my way to one of my favourite venues to catch a band who (to my knowledge) have never played here before. Shonen Knife are veterans from an Indie scene that burned brightly during the early 90’s. So with them appearing in my own backyard (so to speak), I wasn’t gonna miss this one.

Support act for tonight Deltorers are a complete culture clash to our headliners with their brand of harsh Grunge/Rock. With a new single “Insight” awaiting the final touches to its video, there is much to be excited about with this band. They start slowly with ‘Blacklisted’ and break themselves in gently. A gig the previous evening in London to sparse numbers hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm as they put everything into tonight’s performance. Nathan’s voice is as sharp as ever – soft and gentle one minute, harsh and guttural the next. “Pharmaceutical Profit” comes next as they slowly build their sound. “Zoot” (drums) is ferocious as ever, pounding the skins while keeping the beat. “Bad Guy” precedes the wonderful ‘Command an Escape’ with Brenden’s bass starting to really shine through.

Deltorers 1234

Tonight we are treated to a new song, sung solo by Nath. “If I Were You” is slower, mellower, softer – acting if you like as an intermission song. It’s gentle and heartfelt, sung with real emotion and I for one would urge them to keep it in future sets. The ever-popular “Keeps Me On My Toes” sounds better with every listen as they start to win this crowd over. ‘Easily Wet’ is next, but is only a prelude to the throbbing angst of “Insight” which is simply huge. Having seen the recent trailer for the forthcoming video I can’t wait for the completed version to be seen and heard by a wider audience.

“She Looks Nice” with its tongue in cheek chorus line never disappoints and tonight is no exception. This powerhouse trio seems to revel in saving their best songs ’til last. And so they end with “I Guess We’ll Wait and See” and I suppose we shall. It’s high time Deltorers were seen by a wider audience and larger gigs. You see they have it all – I guess we’ll wait and see if that is to happen but they are definitely heading in the right direction.

And so to the headliners. Shonen Knife arrive onstage in dayglo costumes and a stagecraft that at times seems well choreographed. I have to admit to not owning any of their material, but was curious to see if they still cut the mustard after all these years. Their sound is a mishmash of Punk, Pop and Indie but still works well. A decent sized audience seem well versed with their better-known songs – I for one have to contend with only recognising one of them! The first 30 minutes of their set reminds me of The Ramonas. The songs are similar but they up the ante with a decent cover of “Cruel to be Kind” which is snare-heavy and this is when their set goes up a gear. The songs then become less Pop, more Punk. A mid-set band introduction then takes place before they proceed once more. The rather affectionately titled ‘All You Can Eat’ gets a few bodies moving and the band respond with gusto. Lots of two/ three-minute epics follow and they end a confident set some 75 minutes later. They hang around their merch stand after as countless punters wish to engage with them.

Shonen Knife
Shonen Knife 1

With no set list to consult from I can only confirm what a great show they gave. Simple Punky/Pop songs, delivered by a smiling band who look like they still enjoy every minute and have never been away. It may have been some 25 years since I last took notice, but I may just now go and consult that huge back catalogue. Also, it was nice to see a decent sized audience in a venue that continues to fly the flag for live music.

Deltorers Set List
Pharmaceutical Profit
Bad Guy
Command an Escape
Say Hi
If I Were You
Patience Tester
Keeps Me On My Toes
Easily Wet
She Looks Nice
I Guess We’ll Wait and See’



Words & Pictures by Ross A. Ferrone (I’m 51 don’t you Know!!)

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