Photography: Keith Ainsworth
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  • Takotsubo Men
Harvest Sun @ The Shipping Forecast 21/4/18

Down in the dungeons of Shipping Forecast on a bustling Saturday night, my friends and I are confronted by the aggressive tones of Liverpool-based support act TAKOTSUBO MEN. Off the back of 2017’s debut album, 3rd Of 4, Ste Williams and his merry trio of men set the blistering punk pace early, with walking bass riffs and relentless drum beats. Barely containing the raucous onslaught the fans have just witnessed, The Shipping Forecast soon welcomes the main event, SHONEN KNIFE, who are in the middle of their ALIVE! In The UK tour. With a mixture of generations and a can of Red Stripe in hand, Naoko Yamano (lead vocals and guitar) acknowledges that the band may be miniature in size but, immediately, the sound thatfollows stands tall, resonating with young and old.

            The trio set off with their usual fast-paced punk. Dictating the tempo, the performers are able to mix elements of raw electric guitar and grungy power chords, yet still sound like a happy-go-lucky pop band. The resulting experience is a formula of joyous Beach Boys electrons, pacey yet assertive Ramones protons and overwhelming J-pop neutrons, equating to a Shonen Knife-shaped atom that cuts through to the back wall of the intimate venue. The innocent and almost childlike delivery of the vocals do, at times, compete with the overall barrage of sound, but, ultimately, lyrics such as “I am a cat” will always be echoed by those devoted few.

            Shonen Knife’s quirky yet catchy numbers – combined with the admiration of a certain Kurt Cobain in the early 90s – have shaped their long-lasting career and helped them remain relevant. As the only original member, Naoko thanks the fans for showing their support and the sentiment is met with a constant sway of approval.

            As I exit The Shipping Forecast, it’s clear to see that many fans are leaving with a renewed sense of nostalgia and that tonight’s gig was a lesson in a style that once was; a valuable reminder to the Liverpool music scene of what underground punk rock is all about.

Jake Penn

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