Turning up at the Deaf Institute tonight to celebrate their 30th anniversary, Shonen Knife is a musician’s band, in the same way Peter Cook was a comedian’s comedian, loved by connoisseurs and music buffs but managing, relatively, to avoid even the alternative music scene’s radar during their impressive career.

Having been lauded by the likes of Kurt Cobain and Thurston Moore in the past, the punk trio has pulled a crowd tonight that is buzzing with admiration, fun and a little bit of a teenage crush.

As the recently altered lineup take to the stage and dive into their first tracks, the predominant vibe here is cutesy, fun and innocence, but the band’s name and anything-but-fluffy abilities with their instruments give the impression that they could just as easily kick your ass as pinch it.

Like the Ramones, to who they have been compared and are obviously influenced by, Shonen Knife know the extent of their crowds’ needs and attention span. One of the things that makes their tracks so engaging is their length. Although they are sticking to the punk formula here, no single track drags on, imposes on the listener or repeats itself.

Highlights include new songs ‘P.Y.O’, ‘Perfect Freedom’ – the opening track of their latest album ‘Free Time’ – and covers of ‘Sheena…’ and ‘Blitzkreig Pop’  which are well-received and betray the many dedicated followers in the room.

Completely uplifting and catchy songs such as ‘I am a Cat’ and ‘Sushi Bar’, demonstrate why the band may be so loved by high-profile, moody musicians – they convey joy on the surface without trying to delve too deeply into it or kill it with over-explanation. Carefree tracks, executed with serious skill – a rare contrast.

Shonen Knife, despite looking like innocent, grinning schoolgirls, have a lot of seriously impressive talents that any musician would do well to possess.

And if they still sound and look this good after 30 years, then we could all do worse than to shun the gaudy limelight, go with our instincts and get some sashimi in the fridge.