BABYMETAL are a phenomenon like no other. Trying to pinpoint just when they came to the world’s attention is difficult, but the past few months for SU-METAL, YUI-METAL and MOA-METAL have been a whirlwind of fame, admiration, and explosive live performances. Having now played a rave set at Sonisphere, the girls are set to play their very first headline show in London tonight. Did we mention it’s a sell out? The queues begin to appear, winding their way around the Forum in the morning, and the anticipation doesn’t waver when the crowd make it inside at 6.30pm, instantly transforming the venue into a sticky quivering mass of bodies.
The thing to note about this audience is not just their legal age, but their clear devotion to metal. For those not convinced of BABYMETAL’s place in the metal spectrum (oh yes, the girls have their ‘haters’) the crowd tonight couldn’t be more metal if they tried. Festival wristbands and Anthrax t-shirts are the norm, and Master of Puppets can be heard playing in the background as people struggle to the bar to get the drinks in before the Japanese idols arrive on stage.
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As the white curtain concealing the stage begins to billow and cast BABYMETAL-looking shadows (emitting frenzied screams from the already exhilarated onlookers) we see the words; “A Long Time Ago, In A Heavy Metal Galaxy Far, Far Away”…
Cue the narrated story of BABYMETAL, complete with animations of flying guitars. BABYMETAL’s journey to Earth is explained to us in the most noble way possible; via a Star Wars opening crawl! The “METAL MASTER” appears on screen (who bares a striking resemblance to Eddie [Iron Maiden’s mascot]) and we are told that when the HEAVY METAL RESISTANCE began, three girls were chosen, (their silhouettes appear to more raucous cheers) and the FOX GOD (Kitsune) named them BABYMETAL, and gave them the mission to “make the world become one with HEAVY METAL again”.
And with that, a flurry of smoke machines and drum beats ensue, and the curtain drops to reveal BABYMETAL in all their glory. Then begins an hour and 15 minutes of painstakingly choreographed dance routines, searing guitar solos, and some very impressive vocal performances by SU-METAL.
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As we all feast our eyes and ears on the often-times jaw-dropping show, we’re treated to such tracks as Catch Me If You Can, Megitsune, and of course, stand-out hit, Gimme Chocolate!! It’s as entertaining as it is surreal.
Their dancing and singing may sometimes seem too clean-cut and pitch-perfect to be authentic, but behind every slick dance-move or high-note, is a genuine smile. As the show closes and BABYMETAL go back to their heavy metal spaceship (probs), every single person leaving the Forum has a grin on their face, and nothing but good things to say about this new breed of “kawaii metal”.
Dismiss BABYMETAL as a gimmick or say its not “real metal”; but isn’t the whole idea of metal music to rebel and be different? This is pretty much the most rebellious and unusual thing we’ve ever seen on our shores.
And if the girls’ mission was to “make the world become one with HEAVY METAL again” – mission accomplished.