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Mike Luckow

May 26, 1994, 2:28:05 PM5/26/94

SHONEN KNIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ah, where to start. What an evening, I MUST say! My buddy, Charles,
heard on the radio a few weeks back that they were going to be in our
town, Boulder, Colorado, for a concert, so we decided that that would
be the happenin' thing. We went up on The Hill (the happenin' place in
Boulder where all the cool people hang out) to get our tickets

On the eve of the concert we got there half an hour before the scheduled
start to find that we were the only ones there. Charles had been very
worried over the preceding few days that we might be the only ones there, or
that possibly it would be only us and a lot of high-school students (it
was an "all ages" concert, which is a bit unusual). But there was an
opening band called Grimmace which played VERY loud techno/experimental/
hard rock-ish type of music, which turned out to be very good and enjoyable.
They played about 10 songs. During that time some more folks wandered

Here's where it started to get interesting. The crowd there was unlike
anything I'd ever seen before. First, Charles and I were nearly the
oldest folks there at 35 and 36--we saw only about five people (out of
several hundred that eventually showed up) that were older than us.
Then there was the dress and style: it was what I would tend to call a
"neo-Beatnik" motif. There were lots of males sporting goatee-like
HIGE. There were lots of thick black-plastic glasses with partial
wire-frames--kind of like what conservative Japanese businessmen wear,
but probably based on what the Beatniks used to wear in the '50s. The
attire was somewhat diverse, but some vests (!), some olive-drab
T-shirts, some post-punk stuff, etc. There were many there with
alternative-type hairstyles--the side-cuts, some buzz-cuts, some dyed
hair, etc. Mostly untucked shirts. All in all, a very hipsville
crowd, not yer average Joe-in-the-street. Oh, and LOTS of cigarette
smoking, which is definitely NOT politically-correct in Boulder, that's
fer darn sure. Mostly clove cigarettes, too. Lots of cool-looking
dudes and dudesses, eh? Not what one would expect at a Shonen Knife
concert (or at least what I expected).

Then there were a lot of people there for the next band, The Dentists,
a British rocking band. They also were pretty hot and did a few pretty
good numbers, which had a clear British feel to them, which was
entertaining. They also hopped around the stage a lot, which was also
entertaining. At one point, the lead singer, who had the fastest
guitar hand I've ever seen in my life, attacked the lead guitarist with
a passion. After whaling all over him (while he was still attempting
to play a climactic part of the last song), he jumped on his back and
wrangled him to the floor where they wrestled, all the while of which
he continued to play his piece. Pretty cool.

By the time Shonen Knife came on stage (and they had been walking
through the crowd a few times with the fast food they had bought next
door), the place was completely packed. (It took Charles minutes to
get 25 feet to a restroom at one point.) There were only about 10
chairs in the whole place, and Charles and I had two of them since we
were the first ones there. Everyone else was standing, and like
sardines, I might add. Everyone was thrashing and bobbing up and down,
and the crowd was moshing down in the pit by the stage. The bouncers
were violently throwing the bad (?) moshers out every few minutes. I
saw glasses flying off faces, etc. Looked pretty rough. Lots of
bodies flying up in the air, too. (This crowd goes out to see Shonen
Knife?) Charles and I had the best position in the house: about 20
feet from the stage, center, right at the back edge of the pit.

The crowd went wild for Shonen Knife, much to my surprise. 'Course,
Charles and I were there for the fun, not necessarily expecting good
music at all. Charles did have one of their CDs, though, which had but
one good song on it called "Black Bass." Actually a good song.
Anyway, Shonen Knife was the headline act and what people were there
for, strangely enough. Did I mention that I sure wouldn't know what
such a hip-looking crowd would be doing there? Well, they played as
well as could be expected: pretty poorly, but it was a lot of fun
anyway. The crowd would never have known it, though, based on how they
reacted to the music (with GREAT enthusiasm and raving).

A reviewer in Tokyo magazine said something like (from memory): "Every
country has its Wayne Newton. Well, when the Wayne goes abroad, all
they know is that he's 'famous' in his home country, and they may love
his music for that, never realizing what crap it really is. Shonen
Knife is the Wayne Newton of Japan." Another reviewer in the U.S. said
something like, "Unlike most bands which strive to play as tightly and
coherently as possible, Shonen Knife can barely play their
instruments. Nevertheless I love listening to their music!" Fair

But to see that crowd, you'd think it was Nirvana or Pearl Jam or
Smashing Pumpkins up on the stage. Incredible, I must say. Well, it
was certainly a fun evening. And so loud my ears were ringing for
three days. (At 2.14 kHz--I measured at work the next day.) A couple
of times during the concert they announced (they did a fair amount of
talking between songs, which was fun, and always in pretty bad English)
that they would be signing albums, posters, etc., and taking polaroid
pictures with the band at the record shop next door after the concert.
So of course we had to go to that. I actually bought one of their CDs,
too, for them to sign. And in my pocket I have the picture of Charles
and me standing behind them at the counter.

All in all a very enjoyable evening.

Mike Luckow

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