The May 2014 issue of Hammer featured a ‘Hot New Band’ called Babymetal.
Sure, they had racked up a million YouTube hits in one day for their Gimme Chocolate!! video but the jury was still out on their long-term prospects. Back then, the notion of them playing Wembley Arena was about as probable as Dave Mustaine rejoining Metallica. Now, on a bright and sunny April Saturday, fans are turning up at midday to catch these J-Pop enigmas play to 12,500 people in one of the UK’s biggest and most legendary venues. What the fuck happened?
It’s 8.30pm and as the lights dim the foreboding strains of Babymetal Death signal the start of the show and with all eyes on the stage it takes a moment to clock Su-metal, Moametal and Yuimetal rising from a podium in the middle of the crowd.
The tight riffs that blast out from the Kami Band (the trio’s live backing band) are monumentally heavy and undeniably joyful, not least because the sight of three tutu-clad girls jamming out precisely choreographed moves to raging heavy metal is the weirdest thing you’ll have seen for a long time. The hour and a half that follows seems to go by in a trippy flash. Their new album Metal Resistance has been out for little more than 24 hours but the second they play Awadama Fever the (mostly male) crowd are following the trio’s moves like some bizarre metal version of the Macarena.
YAVA!’s seismic, sugarcoated rapid-fire J-Pop is ace but it’s GJ! with its leadweight, Southern-slung riffs that proves one pivotal point: this is not a gimmick, this is certified heavy metal. While Moametal and Yuimetal’s synchronised moves amongst the flashbombs and rising flames are mesmerising, the real star of the show is Su-metal. Her voice is awesome and she nails it when they go balls-out with the epic ballad The One.
Road Of Resistance is the last song of the night and while we don’t get a cameo from Sam Totman and Herman Li, it hardly seems to matter. Tonight is like a gig and an afterparty all rolled into one. And let’s not forget that Babymetal have pulled in 12,500 metalheads to watch three young girls sing in Japanese for nearly two hours, and if that’s not bonkers then it’s downright genius.