Hare and Hounds
If you had tried to come up with an indie novelty act in 1981, its hard to think of a more ephemeral idea than three Japanese girls in kwai dresses playing Ramones-style punk rock. A great gag for maybe a 10″ ep, tour and Peel session. Yet, 37 years later here we are at the Hare and Hounds with one of the great survivors from the post-punk era. Not so much of a in-joke, more an international treasure now. Founder member Naoko is joined by sister Atsuko and Ritsukoon. Over an hour and a bit we get twenty-five songs that stick rigidly to the pop-punk-rock template: brief, crunchy riffs, catchy chorus and slogan lyrics. What other band could say ‘This is the first of four songs about food’ – then deliver Ramen Rock, All You Can Eat (a personal favourite), Wasabi and so on. Barbecue Party is a set closer, and Banana Chips elsewhere. There really is no-one else like them. Rock shapes are thrown, audience sing-alongs encouraged, and everyone is firmly in Knifeworld: a more colourful, happy place. Is there another band who can create such a happy and positive vibe: the drummer in particular is grinning like a loon throughout the show, and were she to explode at the end that would be entirely in keeping with the tone of proceedings. Age only increases their impact, as they start to enter that period where we treasure artists for still being there doing it, and still being good.
Support was from Hungry Ghosts – nothing more than a soup of Doors/Mary Chain/Velvets/Cramps influences IMHO and the fantastically irritating but may be huge next year Kolas. It’s a husband and wife combo: he’s a singer-songwriter-guitarist – she’s a tap-dancing Animal drummer in a shimmery dress.
They are still out on tour and I would urge them on everyone as a tonic. There is nothing they do that isn’t completely wonderful, even holding Shonen Knife towels above their heads at the end.
Core of forty/fifty somethings but definitely a sub-set of geek girls with backpacks.
It made me think..
Great they’re still around.