Babies. Metal. Two words in and this blog has already been flagged up by Berkshire social services and a team of crack CPA agents are swooping on this writer before he does any more harm. That’s how easy it’s been for Babymetal to get attention. The brainchild of some evil talent agency genius who decided to combine hardcore speed metal with J-pop idol music, they consist of three 15 to 17-year-old flamenco cyberpunk dolls doing frantic synchronised Japanese dance routines in front of a white-clad thrash band of ghouls, zombies and psychopaths. Opening Saturday’s main stage at Reading, and with a show at Wembley Arena already on the books, they are by far the weirdest and wildest phenomenon on the bill, and here’s why…
“A long time ago in a heavy metal galaxy far, far away,” says a narrator as visual of the neck of a guitar stretching off into the distance mimics the text of the Star Wars opening credits. And so unravels a story of the metal masters deciding upon the future of metal and creating the ‘METAL RESISTANCE’, i.e. Babymetal obviously. Their backstory also involves a shadowy ‘FOX GOD’ whom singers Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal honour with vulpine hand-signs instead of the usual devil horns. This is manga metal meets Game Of Thrones – R&L catnip, basically.
They dance like maniacs
The three singers sprint across the stage, have kung fu play fights and throw synchronised tantrums to the likes of ‘Babymetal Death’ (“Death! Death! Death! Death!”) and ‘Gimme Chocolate!!’. It’s like a Japanese Little Mix have been possessed by Slipknot.
The band don’t know how funny they are
You do wonder if they’re in on their own joke – both Yuimetal and Moametal, credited as ‘dances and screams’, knew nothing about metal music before joining the band aged 10, but claim they’re “interested”. Mind you, they do have a song about a magic neck corset that turns you into a rabid headbanger, so they must have an inkling that they’re not Mastodon.
They’re a force for change
Midway through the set the music stops and the screens show a moving animation setting out Babymetal’s manifesto for the new revolution. “Why do people hurt each other?” it goes, “I do not want to see you cry anymore. If you show true courage we will show true metal. The Fox God taught us WALL OF DEATH. No more bullying forever!” So mosh yourself popular, basically.
Babymetal are an actual army
When the girls pick up Babymetal flags and stand at the front of the stage yelling “resistance! forever!” they come across like the world’s weirdest shogun army, then launch into a crazed thrash gangnam. These are clearly deranged and unstable insurgents and a drone flying over the crowd suggests that the powers that be already have this dangerous political splinter group and its supporters under close surveillance. We kind of want in.