Babymetal was one of the more interesting “bands” I think I’ve ever seen in concert. So much fusion going on, and not just the music but the people in attendance as well.
Originally I’d heard that Babymetal was going to be coming to Toronto and really didn’t care. They’re entertaining and catchy but ultimately not really my thing so I didn’t have much interest in paying money and using my time to go watch them. But as time went on and friends started to get tickets and ask me to go I caved and decided why not? It could be interesting, it would be my first Japanese band, and I don’t even have to leave Canada to see them.
It was definitely an experience like no other for me. I mean yes it was a concert and that much was the same as concerts I’ve attended in the past, but it was definitely different. The fusion of heavy metal and JPOP alone makes them different, but add to it they’re Japanese, they’re between the ages of 15 and 17, the lyrics and themes match their ages, they have heavily choreographed dance moves on stage, and they’re entirely manufactured as a band/group, they really were like no other group I’d seen.
I’ve never attended a manufactured band like Babymetal before, it’s been bands like The Cranberries, Coheed & Cambria, U2, Muse, Blink-182, etc which will all have commercialized aspects to them of course but were never designed in the same way that Babymetal has been. That isn’t to say it’s bad (or good), just that that’s how it is. So with that in mind I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of musical skill. I knew they’d be well choreographed but if they’re just dancing to a recording and fake band that’d be pretty lame. As it would turn out they had a very skilled band playing for them, they alone would have been worth admission. Not only did they look the part, they played exceptionally well, and they had some solo time on stage to just shred. I think I’d like to know more about them.
The three girls dancing and singing on stage to that band was really just icing on the cake. Really really sugary and sweet icing, the kind that can make your teeth hurt if you eat too much of it. And boy did they have the energy to go along with all that sugar. All three weren’t on stage the whole time so they did have moments of rest throughout the concert and they definitely needed it given all the choreographed dancing and singing that went on. They wore I guess their typical outfits, they seem to be the ones I’ve seen at every concert recording I saw, so they looked cute like always with pigtails for the two younger girls and a ponytail for the older, and of course frilly frilly skirts. Wonder if Horo and Alice would look good dressed like that?
The crowd that attended was really quite an eclectic bunch. You had metalheads, otaku, jpop fans, children (and their parents), old folks, a tall guy who dry humped me until I decided I’d had enough of that and went elsewhere. There really didn’t seem like a demographic that wasn’t represented there except perhaps older women, the only older women I saw there were with their tween/teenage children. And they looked pretty unhappy with what they’d allowed their child to witness.
That eclectic bunch of people led to some interesting or strange moments in the concert, along with the concert itself just being strange and interesting. I believe one of the songs Babymetal sings is about anti-bullying and/or anti-violence yet while that song is being sung the moshpit forms. Which seems entirely anti-thematic to the song being sung at the time. I wonder what the girls in Babymetal think about that? Meanwhile you’ve got parents and their kids trying to avoid the mosh pit. Or songs that sound like death metal and then seemingly out of no where you’ve got the cutest thing you’ve ever heard and then back to death metal. I know that’s kind of the point of the fusion of music in Babymetal but sometimes it’s like someone flipped the radio station on you.
All in all I quite enjoyed watching Babymetal live, they had nearly non-stop energy, they sounded great while they were dancing about and never seemed out of breath and always seemed to be on time with the music. It was entertaining right through and I’d be happy to go again if they came back to Toronto. It also makes me interested in more JPOP concerts, do many others make their way outside of Japan like this? Some big names have I know, but it seems like Babymetal has covered more ground than many many others.
I wish I’d known they’d let me in with my dSLR… Smartphone shots suck…
PS: Suzuka’s arms bend backwards when she holds them out ‘straight’ and it weirds me out.
PPS: I’ve never heard someone speak and yell so high pitched in my life (I mean in reality, not anime). Like, do they really sound like that when they’re talking to each other back stage? That’s surely not their every day voices… right?