review by Michael McCarthy
photos by Joshua Bernard
This past Wednesday night on 9/11/19 the extremely popular Japanese heavy metal band Babymetal returned to Boston at the House of Blues on Landsdowne Street and blew away the packed house with their ferocious jams. (Swedish heavy metal band Avatar opened the show with a killer performance and will be covered in another post.)
Babymetal’s music is what’s called kawaii metal, which basically means that they play very heavy metal music but with J-Pop style, melodic vocals. What makes Babymetal unique is that the group consists of young women. Some might even call them children, hence the name Babymetal.
The members of Babymetal are lead vocalist and dancer Su-metal and dancer and screamer Moametal. There was originally a third member, Yuimetal, who left the group for health reasons late last year according to Wikipedia. Since Yuimetal’s departure, the group has rotated a few young women as a third member, who dances and screams, each night. This third member is called the Chosen Avenger. Momoko Okazaki was the Chosen Avenger at the Boston show.
The musicians in the band are called the Kami Band and wear fox masks at every performance. The band at the Boston show was Anthony Barone on drums, Clint Tustin on bass and guitarists Chris Kelly and CJ Masciantonio. Barone hails from the band Shadows of Intent while the other members are also in the band Galactic Empire.
The group kicked off the show with the powerful “Megitsune” from their self-titled debut album and instantly the audience became heavily immersed in their sound with people headbanging, cheering, making metal horns and having a great time. While “Megitsune” is in Japanese, like most of the group’s songs, there were plenty of people singing along. I even spotted a small mosh pit on the floor! (At one point later, there were actually two mosh pits.)
“Megitsune” was followed by a blistering performance of the group’s current single, an English-language version of their mega-hit “Elevator Girl,” which is garnering them lots of well-deserved attention here in the States. That said, they were already hugely popular here before they released the track.
Every member of Babymetal and its Kami Band were on fire, performing at the top of their game. After the third song, a new track called “Shanti Shanti Shanti,” the band jammed briefly without the girls and their tight sound captivated the audience just fine. They were firing on all cylinders, to say the least.
Su-metal arguably had the hardest job of the night, singing powerful lead vocals and doing perfectly choreographed dancing along with Moametal and Momoko at the same time. I was amazed by how consistently in sync and energetic they were as they blazed through hits like “Starlight” and “PA PA YA!!”.
Throughout the show, the band utilized a large video screen behind them that spanned the entire stage. At times it showed the girls performing with hypnotic effects around them, the screen frequently scrolling horizontally. And at others, it showed such things as their logo or shooting stars. I loved how it added an extra dimension to the show, making it feel larger than life.
I’ve been to over 200 concerts in my lifetime and I’ve rarely seen an audience as engulfed in a performance before. Everyone was going insane throughout the show. No exaggerating, it was like the audience before The Beatles at the famous Ed Sullivan Show performance that launched them in the United States. The only obvious difference was that there were more males in the Babymetal audience than The Beatles had on the show. That said, there were just as many females in the crowd Wednesday night. Some people even brought young kids to the all-ages show! There was a little girl dancing beside us on the third floor who couldn’t have been more than four years old. And she was loving it, screaming and dancing. And she definitely was not the only child there. Fortunately, the parents all had their kids wearing protective headphones.
The group closed out the spectacular show with “THE ONE” and “Road of Resistance,” two of their most popular songs, and did so as flawlessly and vibrantly as they performed at the beginning of the concert. If you’re a heavy metal fan, you simply must catch them when they come to your city.
Babymetal’s new album, METAL GALAXY, will be released on October 11, 2019, and we can’t wait to hear it.
2- Elevator Girl (English version)
3- Shanti Shanti Shanti
— Kami Solo —
4- Kagerou (with 3 members)
— FUTURE METAL (interlude video) —
6- Gimme Chocolate!!
7- PA PA YA!!
10- Head Banger!
— Video —
11- THE ONE (mixed ver.)
12- Road of Resistance
METAL GALAXY TRACKLISTING
01. FUTURE METAL
02. DA DA DANCE (feat. Tak Matsumoto)
03. Elevator Girl – English ver.
04. Shanti Shanti Shanti
05. Oh! MAJINAI (feat. Joakim Brodén)
06. Brand New Day (feat. Tim Henson and Scott LePage)
07. Night Night Burn!
08. IN THE NAME OF
09. Distortion (feat. Alissa White-Gluz)
10. PA PA YA!! (feat. F.HERO)
PRE-ORDER THE ALBUM: http://babymetal.lnk.to/Metalgalaxy
METAL GALAXY WORD TOUR 2019 DATES:
w/ support from Avatar
09/13/19 – Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore
09/15/19 – New York, NY – Terminal 50
9/18/19 – Detroit, MI – The Fillmore Detroit
09/20/19 – Chicago, IL – Aragon Ballroom
09/21/19 – Saint Paul, MN – Myth Live Event Center
09/23/19 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater
09/24/19 – Dallas, TX – South Side Ballroom
09/27/19 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
09/28/19 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Union Event Center
09/30/19 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
10/01/19 – Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theater
10/04/19 – San Francisco, CA – The Warfield
10/11/19 – Los Angeles, CA – The Forum *
10/13/19 – Sacramento, CA – Aftershock **
10/15/19 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater ***
10/16/19 – Seattle, WA – The Paramount Theatre ***
***No Avatar, Support from The HU
11/16/19 – Saitama Super Arena (Japan)
11/17/19 – Saitama Super Arena (Japan)
11/20/19 – Osaka Jo Hall (Japan)
11/21/19 – Osaka Jo Hall (Japan)
11/23/19 – Clokenflap (Hong Kong, China)