I’ve yet to witness the live experience of J-pop/metal hybrid BABYMETAL for myself – I missed their Sonisphere 2014 set in favour of a daytime nap and I’ve been patiently waiting for them to go the same way as Daphne and Celeste ever since.
But here’s the thing – their second album Metal Resistance came out on Friday, and it’s actually a decent record. The riffs are heavy, the solos wail and every genre from pop to metal, to trap are woven together effortlessly. They were on Clara Amfo’s BBC Radio 1 show on Friday, and they’ve gone from Kentish Town Forum to Wembley in less than two years. They are now impossible to ignore, and are not going away.
So, at, 20:45 on a Saturday night, I’m at Wembley Arena and 12,000 people are going absolutely crazy. These people are of all ages, nationalities and gender, and they know every word. Nobody seems to mind that the girls appear to be miming, that the lyrics are largely in Japanese or that the set is really, really long (two hours is a stretch for any band, let alone one who only released their second album the day before).
The set is largely taken from their self-titled debut with the live debuts of several Metal Resistance tracks. There’s at least four constant mosh pits and a Wall of Death. There’s never a dull moment, whether it’s Yuimetal and Moametal being ‘possessed ‘ by Darth Vader, endless polished dance routines, a power ballad played by a man with a cape, the finale of a revolving stage at the end of a walkway, or simply the sight of 12,000 die-hard fans throwing devil horns at the stage.
The undoubted highlight of the set is new single Karate, which has ‘rock club anthem’ written all over it. Even if the band split up tomorrow, it’s safe to say that Karate will now be a staple at rock clubs forever more, sandwiched in between Take A Look Around and The Middle for years to come.
Throughout all of this not a beat is missed or a foot put wrong. Both visually and musically, it’s truly remarkable. At one point it’s revealed that this gig is being streamed to a street party in Tokyo which appears on screen. Naturally, the Japanese fans are even more into BABYMETAL than us, and on tonight’s evidence, that’s really saying something.