November 2nd, 2011 – The Casbah – San Diego, CA

The crowd at The Casbah seemed to lovingly embrace fem-fueled rock and three-pieces at the tour stop for Shonen Knife and Oakland’s Shannon And The Clams. Between all three acts, all with strong female leads, and the customary guitar, bass, and drums set ups, the night wasn’t without fast three-chord ditties all nicely honed to a woman’s touch.

Jungle Fever

SD locals Jungle Fever were up first, a trio with all the pop-power of a band like Shonen Knife, but with enough bad girl edge to set them apart from being a cross-cultural equivalent. Songs like “I Won’t Tell Your Wife” and “Cryin Blood” are every bit street-tough as they are catchy Go-Go’s-inspired fun. The pouty lips of guitarist Kelly Alvarez delivered blazing teases and backhanded dismissals in a set of spunky garage rock. In hearing their buzzy punk guitars, it didn’t seem surprising that these ladies’ next gig will be in a motorcycle shop.

Shannon And The Clams

Shannon And The Clams’ seemed to be an even more distant throwback to ’60s rockabilly and baritone guitar with twangy country soloing. Bassist Shannon Shaw’s blasts of gritty caterwauling have a raw yet romantic chemistry with guitarist Cody Blanchard’s squawky vocal melodies. The single “Sleep Walk” was a raucous flexing of Shaw’s alto while she simultaneously kept dexterous rhythm on bass. The band’s interplay of kooky live energy and turn-back-the-clock style effortlessly made their songs of young love and regret feel happily danceable as well as bittersweet. Do catch them live if you get the chance.

REVIEW CONTINUED BELOW

Shonen Knife

With over 30 years of history backing the band, chances are that Shonen Knife were rocking before you were in kindergarten. The band has never slowed in their career of dedication to fun sprightly punk, making their live show a vast timeline of their work. The band continuously passes vocal duties when playing their catalog; even drummer Emi Morimoto led many of the songs in playful chants over her drum kit. Taking the stage with matching patterned dresses and plenty of enthusiastic smiles, these ladies from Japan prove that underground music transcends time and space. Songs like “Rock Society” feature more technical guitar leads while classics like 1991’s “Red Kross” get a nice live update. They may loose a bassist or drummer here and there, but Shonen Knife have enough “hey-ho”‘s and power chords to avoid thinking of retirement.

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