A personal reflection by Just Panda.
There have been so many bands over the years that have made an impact on my life. My musical tastes are vast and eclectic, and no matter what feelings I have there will most certainly be a song that I can go to to enhance those feelings, be it sadness, joy, rage or just something to take me away from the daily toils of being a grown up.
Music took hold of me at a young age, and no more so than my teens. I hated everything. I hated what was considered popular, I hated the cool kids and their Top 40 chart toppers. My friends and I were all part of the alternative scene in town. The odd kids, the ‘goffs’, the kids you didn’t want your own kids to hang out with. But they were my family. They were my gig buddies, my confidantes that I still hold to this day. Most of my social group were into metal and rock, but the genre that took hold of me most, and still to this very day, was punk.
Those 3-chord, fast and angsty songs became a part of me, and sculpted the person I was to become. Bands like The Offspring, NOFX, the Vandals, Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies and the early pop punk bands of the mid to late 90s were the soundtrack to my youth, better days gone by that I fondly remember.
So, when a little known Japanese punk band called Knuckle Chiwawa popped up on my Twitter feed not even a year ago, I was suddenly catapulted back to my teen years, joyous fast paced punk songs that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. What an incredible feeling! It had been a long time since a new band had made me feel alive the way Knuckle Chiwawa had.
I immediately sought out their music and immersed myself in their catchy punk driven sound. Formed back in 2019, the ‘fancy animal’ themed band burst onto the scene after lead singer and all-round firecracker Shibazuko Rei-Chan graduated from her idol unit Burst Girls. As someone who is only a few years into their alt idol journey, I was unfamiliar with Rei-Chan and her previous work in the music scene, so I had fresh unbiased eyes on her new venture. Not alone in this, she is joined by Saekitty on guitar, Beniko on bass and Mrs Yamabiko on drums. This four-piece works. They all bring that special element that a punk band needs: energy on stage. And they have it by the bucket load.
Seriously, what a band! With two albums released so far, mini album ‘Hello Eater’ and a slew of live shows in Japan, they have steadily built a dedicated fanbase (called Livestock) both at home and abroad. I would give my left arm for a UK tour (someone make it happen please). The utterly genuine joy this band brings to me has had me moshing in the car with a grin so big I’m certain it can be seen from the driver in front.
Most of the UK community members know me from the Babymetal scene, the band who introduced me to Japanese bands in the first place. But there is something about Knuckle Chiwawa that just puts me in a good mood. After years of emo and melodic pop rock that turned every house party into a wake, I am beyond happy that upbeat punk is making somewhat of a comeback. And I hope the Chiwawas continue on their ‘in your face’ high energy journey, and I will definitely be joining them for the ride.
You can find Knuckle Chiwawa on streaming platforms Apple Music and Spotify.
‘Hello Eater’ is available now.
To support Knuckle Chiwawa https://knucklechiwawa.jimdofree.com/ https://twitter.com/Knuckle_chiwa https://twitter.com/reichan_Chiwa https://twitter.com/saekitty_nyan https://twitter.com/DON_Knuckle https://twitter.com/knuckle_ganbae