Saturday 10 May 2014

Shonen Knife - Live At The Coal Vaults, Coventry, England

Well, it's that time of year again. The time of year I go to see Shonen Knife play live, somewhere near where I live... Last year it was in Sheffield, and this year, May 4th, it was in the city of Coventry! I'd been to Coventry on numerous occasions, but I've never been to the Coal Vaults before. It's quite a small, intimate venue; perfect for watching one of my favourite Japanese bands!

The venue was quite busy from the start, and pretty full by the time the two support bands had finished playing, and Shonen Knife had taken to the stage.

Back in the UK to promote their latest album "Overdrive", the band started with "Banana Chips" to get the fans warmed up. They continue to play with the same gusto and exuberance they have become well known for, with drummer Emi on particularly energetic form. She moved about so much, that most of my photos of her were a blur, so I've only included a few of them here.

The songs played this year seemed to be a little heavier than usual, mainly due to the inclusion of songs from the latest album, which is heavily inspired by 70's hard rock. This suits me down to the ground, as I'm a big fan of rock music from that era. With this new harder sound, Naoko had the opportunity to show off some of her soloing skills, which I think with the release of the new album, seems to have improved. Along with these new songs were also the usual pop punk infused stuff as well, which of course, is great in my book too!

As far as I can remember (and I may be wrong!), the new songs they played from the latest album were: "Ramen Rock" (sung by Ritsuko), "Green Tea" (Emi on vocals), "Black Crow", "Bad Luck Song" and possibly some others, but I'm really not sure, as the gig seemed to fly by, and was over before I knew it, and it's hard to remember everything. They say "time flies when you're having fun", and I always have a lot of fun at Shonen Knife gigs. Either that, or maybe I'm just getting old! Anyway, they rocked!

Other songs played on the night included "Pop Tune", taken from 2012's album of the same name, "Hot Chocolate" from "Happy Hour (1998) and "Boys" (Ritsuko on vocals), taken from their 1996 album "The Birds and the B-Sides". I think they might also have played "Twist Barbie", "Flying Jelly Attack" and "Bear Up Bison" from 1992's "Let's Knife", but again it was such a blur, that I can't really remember! I've probably missed a load of songs out, so apologies for that; if anyone was there, please feel free to add a setlist in the comments.


Right at the end of this song, a drunken guy and his girlfriend ended up barging their way to the front, and stood right in front of me and started to dance quite vigorously; he was gyrating and thrusting his hips, which was pretty off-putting I can tell you! They were both taller than me, so unfortunately I couldn't see very well, and had to stop taking photos until they decided to move again. I was a bit annoyed at this, as I'd liked to have got more photographs of the band, but still greatly enjoyed the performance.

Shonen Knife were on fine form again, playing just over an hour, but like I said before, this was over in a flash. Aside from the drunk couple, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance, and will continue to watch them so long as they keep coming back back to play.

If you have yet to see them live, you're really missing out, so if you get the chance, go and see them!

At the end of the night, I bought the obligatory T-Shirt, and signed CD, and also got a photo with the band. This was the first time I'd been to a gig by myself, and it was cool as I made a couple of new friends that night; also in the photo.

Thanks to my new friend Latifah for this photo.

Some more photos of the performance.

All photos by, apart from after-gig shot of the band; credit to Latifah.


  1. It was a great gig, the first time I'd seen them live.

    One song you missed was 'Buttercup (I'm A Super Girl)', which I think they recorded for a various artists compilation album of songs inspired by the Powerpuff Girls.

    1. Thanks Genba! I think you mentioned something about the Powerpuff Girls that night didn't you? Thanks for reading!

      I actually know the full set list now, thanks to the members at and I got the first song wrong! I've edited the post above to the correct one.

  2. Yeh, it was a great gig, a couple of hundred people packed into tiny room that seemed like it was not much bigger than my front room. It was hot with sweat - especially when Ritsuko did her hair dance! In a Tweet, she mentioned that it was so hot in there that it made her head swim.

    Those are some great pics that you got there, and lovely video and thankfully you managed to keep me out of them, but in one pic my hand can be seen leaning on the piano that was over by Naoko's side of he stage.

    You forgot to mention that once again on this tour, the lovely merch. girl was Atsuko.

    1. Haha, I think you've got a thing for Atsuko, eh Glor? You've mentioned her a few times on the SK forum in similar glowing terms ;)

      It really was hot in there! Ritsuko also said something about the heat during the gig. Funny though, I hadn't really noticed until she had mentioned it.

      Keep your wandering hands away from my pics! :P

  3. I remember sometime last year on twitter, some random told me Emi sells her drumsticks after the show, I'd been keeping that information in my head for months, but I somehow forgot that by the time I'd gone to get my stuff signed, I took that 'please no photography' sign a little too seriously so I am all kinds of gutted that I didn't get a pic with em. And worst of all, didn't ask Atsuko to sign anything despite having lots of early Knife memorabilia in my bag (worst because who knows if she'll ever join them on a UK tour again.)

    1. Oh, I don't remember seeing a no photography sign! Oops!

      One of Emi's drumsticks would be a cool piece of memorabilia to get from their gig. I had no idea about that.

      Yeah, I kept on meaning to take some old stuff to get signed by Atsuko and Naoko, but always forgot.

      Atsuko was in charge of merch last year too, so I'm sure she'll return, and of course she is Naoko's sister, so I reckon she'll be back :)

      Thanks for reading :)


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