Shonen Knife / Modey Lemon Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON - October 30

I'm not sure how these two bands ended on the same bill, but it was quite a contrast in rock trios. Pittsburgh's Modey Lemon unleashed a power assault of long hair, pounding drums and loud guitars that was sometimes augmented by synthesiser noise but never bass. If their furious set could be summed up in one word, it would be "rrrrrrrr." In stark contrast, Osaka, Japan's veteran poppy rockers, with their perpetual grins, matching pink Fenders and matching handcrafted outfits, epitomise the "c-word" (cute), although they may to too old for that. They seem pretty aware that people love to see them give the metal horns salute, bang their heads and flip their locks in effected rock pose unison. If it was some washed-up '80s metal band doing the same thing, it would be lame. But these guys have been around since 1981 and have maintained their youthful exuberance and sincerity, which makes these moves seem fresh. Lead Knifer and guitarist Naoko Yamano, and her sister Atsuko have not graced a Toronto stage since August 1998. The crowd was more than appreciative about their return and enjoyed smiling renditions of oldies like "Riding On The Rocket," "Twist Barbie" and "Flying Jelly Attack." A more recent highlight was their Powerpuff Girls compilation contribution "Buttercup (I'm a Super Girl)." The between song banter was charming, such as the introduction to "A Map Master," off of their latest release, Heavy Songs: "This song is about a person with a bad sense of direction. It's about me." Their three-song encore consisted of their wonderful cover of the Carpenters' "Top Of The World," "Banana Chips" and then "Pretty Little Baka Guy." A thoroughly endearing and entertaining performance that can be summed up by one word: fun.