Tuesday 8 July 2014

BabyMetal at The Forum 07 July 2014


I'm having fun in the longest queue that I've ever encountered at the Forum. It snakes round so long that those at the back are out of eyesight of the venue and are just trusting to luck that it's a gig and not late night opening at the big carpet warehouse nearby.

I'm joshing with a group of Japanese lads who are jumping around and getting very excited. One of them says that he has written songs for the band. Before we can get to the bottom of this he is whisked away into a special queue and that's the last we see of him. Maybe it was true…

Once we get inside, we find the place rammed with fans of every stripe. Virtually everyone is wearing a BabyMetal T-shirt, virtually every T-shirt is different from the one next to it. Merchandising is massive. Every fan is super duper excited.

I take my place in the throng in front of the stage. Around me a gang of lads are building a human pyramid (not successfully) and waving a Japanese flag. By now everyone is so excited that steam is coming out their ears.

The lights go down and Star Wars-y credits scroll across a curtain. A tale is told of a distant heavy metal galaxy long ago where… something something… heavy metal had got a bit crap …something something… therefore the Fox God had charged three girls to save it…

The curtain falls, the lights dazzle and for the next hour it is just as that other fox, the one in Von Trier's 'Antichrist', had prophesied -"Chaos reigns!"

Told you!

There are thunderous machine gun drums and two shredding guitarists dressed as Japanese ghosts, all long white robes, ghoulish make up and long black hair. A bassist stands among them as an evil, decaying monk. You barely notice them.

Along with the tumult and onslaught you can hear high pitched squeaking. I then have to adjust my sight lines for BabyMetal as the three girls in pig tails and metal anime warrior costumes are absolutely tiny and are momentarily invisible amongst the forest of outstretched arms and banners of the joyful crowd.

The girls dance and 'sing', popping up and down like hand puppets and whirling around the stage as though on wires. The crowd has gone from excited to utterly incoherently delirious. We all chant along to 'BabyMetal Death'.

Of the three girls, only Suzuka Nakamoto aka Su-Metal is even pretending to sing. Moa Kikuchi and Yui Mizuno  (Moametal and Yuimetal) are so young and swept up in proceedings that even their dancing is somewhat approximate. It doesn't matter a jot.

If you want authenticity, go and watch three hours of Bruce Springsteen lumbering about. This is a sweat drenched celebration of the absurdist fantasy side of metal, sixty minutes of rummaging in the dressing up box and a whole heap of consensual carnage.

The crowd surges and moshes, slamming into each other and laughing as the weakest amongst them are ploughed underfoot. A guy comes by me forlornly looking for his glasses. He's not going to find them.

I am soaked in beer and sweat and exhilaration. The band play 'Catch Me if You Can', '4no Uta' and 'Megitsune'. There is bedlam onstage and off.

For an encore the band play 'Headbangers!!!" By now the scene around me is one of devastation, with people wandering blindly through the fog as if through a battlefield.

When the show finally explodes in an all smothering air cannon salute of silver foil and bright red streamers, the survivors turn to each other in their sodden clothing and wipe the matted hair from their eyes.

Heavy metal has been comprehensively saved.


Anonymous said...

"Pretending to sing" ?? plot twist mate, that's Su-Metal live!! they have been at it for almost 4 years too :)

Real_PHV_Mentarch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Real_PHV_Mentarch said...

Quite the glowing *and* hilarious review - cheers mate!

(P.S. one little thing though - my understanding was that the show lasted about 75-80 minutes, not 60? Just wondering ...)

Rommel Reyes said...


Anonymous said...

BABYMETAL DEATH!!! singing or not, they are still way better than any autotuned trash you see on tv or on stage for that matter. These girls are killing it worldwide and at only 15 and 16 years of age. babymetal is simply awesome. Kitsune up!

Anonymous said...

Jealousy is rife in you man.

Unknown said...

You're fucking delusional if you thought Sumetal was pretending to sing, I was there myself and It was all live. Haters are gonna hate on people who're more talented than themselves