Tonight I headed up to London to see Babymetal – currently one of the most controversial names in heavy music.
The J-pop/metal trio have been extremely divisive within the music community across the world, captivating some, but alienating many since their music video for “Gimme Chocolate” went viral (now at 17.3m views).
I can safely say, after attending the concert as a casual listener to the band (having only checked out a couple of songs on YouTube), most, if not all of the ‘haters’ are wrong. It’s easy to hide behind a keyboard and slate bands you don’t like these days, which seems to be a growing problem with the digital age. But with two sold out UK shows, a performance at Sonisphere and a tour across the states as the main support for Lady Gaga, the girls already have some impressive experience under their belts – and they’re clearly doing something right.
I feel that a lot of the negativity surrounding the band comes from them being perceived as “not being metal” as they incorporate mostly cleanly sung vocals, slightly ‘poppy’ undertones in the songwriting and choreographed dancing. I’ve heard a lot of people referring to Babymetal as a “guilty pleasure”, an idea which I find ridiculous. We shouldn’t be trying to make each other feel ashamed of liking things – people need to be more open-minded and try new things more often. It seems one of the reasons that Babymetal has exploded into such popularity is that they’re actually doing something new with heavy metal which hasn’t been done before, hence the name – ‘Babymetal’ – apparently meaning a new style of metal. Personally, I’m actually quite impressed at how they’ve not only bridged the gap between the styles of heavy metal and pop, but also how they’ve brought together two separate art forms – live music and dance.
Considering that Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal are only aged 15-16, they’re extremely talented for their age and have already achieved things musicians well into their 30’s could still only dream of.
I’ve also heard a lot of negative things about the ‘backing’ band, who retain anonymity with a sort of corpse paint, such as being likened to a “bargain bin Slipknot rip-off” – but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Throughout the set, a few specific tracks gave each member of the band their chance to shine with broken down instrumental passages. I’d also like to note that Su-metal has an impressively powerful voice and extensive range for her age, something I imagine will only get better with time.
Powering through the frenetic setlist with hits from their debut album such as “Babymetal Death”, “Megitsune” and “Doki Doki Morning”, almost the entire performance was lively from start to finish.
The only fault I could really point out with the concert is that since Babymetal have so far only released one album and a few singles, the setlist felt rather short and ended suddenly – though they did return to play a two-track encore, including new song “The One”. Enjoyable and energetic but a little short, I have a feeling that their future shows will be better once the band have released some more material.
When Babymetal first emerged, many people thought that it was just a novelty act, a flash in the pan, that would be over fairly quickly – but they’re proving to have a considerable amount of staying power, as well as a potentially promising future ahead.24 people like this