Kawaii! Enter BabyMetal's Galaxy, Band-Maid's World Domination hits the States & More (Sept/2019)

Stuff

BabyMetal - September 24th - Southside Ballroom - Dallas, TX

Ok, so spare me your purist romanticisms about what is & isn't Metal. And besides having the word Metal in their title & backup band that plays heavy & fast riffs, BabyMetal isn't even trying to come for you Eddie Trunk loving idiots, clutching to your older brother's 8-Track copy of Paranoid.

When I read about BabyMetal, it's always the same narrative & it's so boring, even when they are "defending" the band. Or have this "Can you believe how unique this is?" thing that makes them feel edgy in saying so. Save it, BabyMetal doesn't need you to come to their defense, they are doing just fine all by themselves. And that's what you never hear anyone mention - Is it really this lost on those that report on such things that those that patronize BabyMetal concerts from the so-called traditional world are driven by a meek curiosity that is rooted in the fact they are cute females. If these were all dudes, this would be called a boy band and their would be no debate and simply dismissed. Once again, the power of a group of strong females is so threatening to a genre largely dominated by white (& mostly unfuckable) males.

The actual BabyMetal crowd, that buy their albums & come to the shows and sing all the words? It's not the Slayer crowd, it's not even the Metal crowd.
It's the Anime (the rebellious & kinky parts) meets the EDM crowd. Young, intelligent people that wanna party and get weird and the fact that the band has an agression to it, just makes it more appealing. It's bombastic with a crazy idealology, their cute & entertaining as hell. What's not to like?

 

 

The concept is fun & totally out there:  Made up of three young women who dress in kawaii, or cute, schoolgirl outfits. But they don’t play instruments — they sing, dance and make movements in front of a set of older musicians who are often shrouded in darkness behind them.  

The sound, raw & infectious, contrasted by the soft voices of:

Suzuka “Su-metal” Nakamoto, 21
Moa “Moametal” Kikuchi, 20
& touring member Kano Fujihira,20 

One of three girls along with Riho Sayashi & Momoko Okazaki currently rotating in Yui Metal's place (who took a hiatus last year due to health issues) who are known as the "Avengers" - Fun right?

And they sing about things like wanting chocolate & have over 100 million views on YouTube. The band toured with Lady Gaga in 2014, and its second album, Metal Resistance debuted at No. 39 on the Billboard charts in the United States in 2016.  

Babymetal’s entire aesthetic does what it’s supposed to, which is surprise. Few would think to put the delicate sound of teen girls singing with brash and thrashing guitars and drums together, but one talent agency, Amuse, did in 2010. Babymetal doesn’t shy away from the fact that they came together not because of Su-metal or Maometal’s love for the genre, but for their desire to get into the heavily orchestrated Japanese pop world. In Japan, there are several talent agencies that will audition young women and men to be a part of a concept group (the most famous of these types of groups is BTS from South Korea).  

So what Babymetal is manufactured, the shows are intense & super fun. I saw them last year & while the production was much more conceptualized, this time it was a bit sparse & to it's credit, charming. Just a bare stage with the three of them doing their thing with the band tucked away in the back.

One thing that brings everyone together are the lyrics. Even if the people singing don’t know the Japanese words, they still sing along.

Setlist:

Megitsune
Elevator Girl (English ver.)
Shanti Shanti Shanti
Kagerou
Starlight
Future Metal
Gimme Chocolate!!
PA PA YA!!
Distortion
KARATE
Headbangeeeeerrrrr!!!!!
The One
Road of Resistance

Go to their shows, they are fun, you will have a good time and that's all that matters.

    
Band-Maid - September 28th - The Cambridge Room - Dallas, TX

This will take some unpacking - Besides also being young females from Japan presenting a heavy & agressive sound contrasted with a Kawaii or cute style, that's where the comparisons to the above BabyMetal end.
Band-Maid combines a rock sound with a maid image modeled on Japanese maid cafés & they write all their own material and play their own instruments and have much more of a band vibe.

Now I was completely unaware of this as less than a week before the show, I was completely unfamiliar with them. Live Nation extended an invite to come shoot the show & I had just seen BabyMetal a few days before and was expecting a bit more of the same. Or if not, during my SXSW days, the highlight every year was Japan Night where you could see something completely different and alot of times never again. I was fine with either, & intrigued and was looking forward to the show.

However, I was pulling double duty with a film screening earlier in the evening & based on experience I had them pegged as going on around 915pm.
I hauled ass to get there and after parking and getting to Will Call & through security I was expecting to waltz in, get a good spot up front to shoot and enjoy the show. Instead, I learned that the opener had bailed for whatever reason (if there in fact was ever one) and instead the band decided to go on at 8pm and I was now over an hour late. That was just the beginning of the derailment of what I was expecting as laid back evening. Once I entered anticipating a sparse crowd, to discover a downright fire hazzard. Seriously this room's capacity is 250 & it felt more like 500 were in here. You couldn't move, you couldn't see (their is no photo pit & I was waaaay past the first three song limit).

Hoping to at least see a song or two and feeling like I'd blown it, instead they proceeded to play almost an entire additional hour and I saw about a dozen songs, more than I was expecting had I seen the entire show. These badasses said "Fuck the opener" and played for two hours straight!

And they kicked ass! It was guitarist Kanami Tōno's Birthday and the crowd was so white-hot for every word. How did I not anything about any of this? I learned later just how lucky I was to even be there as tickets apparently sold out in minutes and in doing research for this article, I learned people had traveled from all over as besides a couple of one-offs in California, they'd never toured the States before and Dallas was one of only 3 cities they were playing. So what started as an innocent curiosity became finding myself at one of the hottest & most anticipated shows of the year anywhere. And it delivered.

Setlist

Real Existence
Screaming
Glory
Hide-and-Seek
Domination
Don't You Tell Me
Dice
Cross
Choose Me
Bubble
Don't be long
Rock in me
Clang
Play
You
Endless Story
Daydreaming
Wonderland 
Take me higher!!
Thrill
Freedom
Moratorium
Carry On Living

If they make it back to the States as part of their World Domination Tour, don't miss it!

 

Photos -

Roy Turner
Mike Brooks

3 comments

  • T Zero

    T Zero Dallas

    "How did I not anything about any of this? " I believe the word you were looking for was, 'know'. Call yourself a journalist? A Proofreader is what you need. I'm available. What's it pay?

    "How did I not anything about any of this? " I believe the word you were looking for was, 'know'. Call yourself a journalist? A Proofreader is what you need. I'm available. What's it pay?

  • Dan  Harris

    Dan Harris Sheridan AR

    With Band-Maid there is never an opening act and never an encore. They rock their asses off for two hours and leave it all on the stage. The Cambridge Room was a lousy venue but still great show. Band-Maid is a breath of fresh air in the hard rock genre.

    With Band-Maid there is never an opening act and never an encore. They rock their asses off for two hours and leave it all on the stage. The Cambridge Room was a lousy venue but still great show. Band-Maid is a breath of fresh air in the hard rock genre.

  • Darrell Wright

    Darrell Wright Livingston Texas

    I waited a little over 3 years to see Band Maid, and unfortunately the venue blew. NOT THE BAND, rhe concert location. Unfortunately, I was behind every 6' person they could find! The only time I actually saw the band was through little spaces in the mountain of people. Now with my complaint out of the way, let's get to all the positive. I discovered Band Maid by accident on YouTube while attempting to find new BabyMetal videos. Their link was there and I accidentally pressed it. Next thing I knew I was blown away and wanting more. The song was either "Don't You Tell" or "Yolo" which was fantastic, then I heard "Thrill" and I was completely blown away. Band Maid is truly the Van Halen of the J-ROCK scene. They may not do all the Van Halen jumps and stuff, but their personalities and musicianship blows away audiences and earns them new fans everytime. An example is my brother. He is not a big music fan, and definitely not a BabyMetal fan (although he understands why I like them). After the show, he asked if I wanted to see Band Maid again. I said, yes, as long as they do not play the Cambridge Room again. Now for the last couple of weeks, he reminds me that "WE" have to go see Band Maid again. If that is not proof of a new fan, then tell me what is. Even the bar maid who had never heard of Band Maid stated she was blown away by their sound. Although Band Maid has a few bad songs, they are few and far in between. With them, you get exactly what you paid for .... A Kick Ass Rock Act. And their Kawaii moments are more fan centered. Like during Magic Spell Time in Dallas, Miku got a laugh from the fans messing with her. It is standard for you to scream back what she states (generally Moi Moi Kyun Kyun) but she was on her rant. First with saying Dallas, then Japan. Next she screamed "U.S.A. say it". The audience screamed back, "U.S.A. say it.". Which tickled Miku. The main difference I have noticed about Band Maid fans versus much of the other J-ROCK fans, is we are a family. We do not fight or argue like some of the other J-ROCK fan groups. We are also very protective when it comes to our band (Band Maid). We do not want the ladies disrespected or harmed in anyway (such as what has previously happened to other K-POP, J-ROCK artists.). So you know you are safe from the troublemakers when you attend one of their shows. So if you like having fun, without all the drama. And possibly don't mind BabyMetal becoming your 2nd favorite J-ROCK band (it happened to me). I would advise anyone to see Band Maid Live. While they are not there yet, I can easily see Kanami becoming one of this generations Guitar God's. MISA earning the same respect as Metallica's Cliff Burton. Akane earning the respect of John Bonham or Keith Moon. And Miku and Saiki earning the same respect the Wilson Sisters (Heart) earned for 2 decades.

    I waited a little over 3 years to see Band Maid, and unfortunately the venue blew. NOT THE BAND, rhe concert location. Unfortunately, I was behind every 6' person they could find! The only time I actually saw the band was through little spaces in the mountain of people. Now with my complaint out of the way, let's get to all the positive.

    I discovered Band Maid by accident on YouTube while attempting to find new BabyMetal videos. Their link was there and I accidentally pressed it. Next thing I knew I was blown away and wanting more. The song was either "Don't You Tell" or "Yolo" which was fantastic, then I heard "Thrill" and I was completely blown away. Band Maid is truly the Van Halen of the J-ROCK scene.

    They may not do all the Van Halen jumps and stuff, but their personalities and musicianship blows away audiences and earns them new fans everytime. An example is my brother. He is not a big music fan, and definitely not a BabyMetal fan (although he understands why I like them). After the show, he asked if I wanted to see Band Maid again. I said, yes, as long as they do not play the Cambridge Room again. Now for the last couple of weeks, he reminds me that "WE" have to go see Band Maid again. If that is not proof of a new fan, then tell me what is. Even the bar maid who had never heard of Band Maid stated she was blown away by their sound.

    Although Band Maid has a few bad songs, they are few and far in between. With them, you get exactly what you paid for .... A Kick Ass Rock Act. And their Kawaii moments are more fan centered. Like during Magic Spell Time in Dallas, Miku got a laugh from the fans messing with her.

    It is standard for you to scream back what she states (generally Moi Moi Kyun Kyun) but she was on her rant. First with saying Dallas, then Japan. Next she screamed "U.S.A. say it". The audience screamed back, "U.S.A. say it.". Which tickled Miku.

    The main difference I have noticed about Band Maid fans versus much of the other J-ROCK fans, is we are a family. We do not fight or argue like some of the other J-ROCK fan groups. We are also very protective when it comes to our band (Band Maid). We do not want the ladies disrespected or harmed in anyway (such as what has previously happened to other K-POP, J-ROCK artists.). So you know you are safe from the troublemakers when you attend one of their shows.

    So if you like having fun, without all the drama. And possibly don't mind BabyMetal becoming your 2nd favorite J-ROCK band (it happened to me). I would advise anyone to see Band Maid Live. While they are not there yet, I can easily see Kanami becoming one of this generations Guitar God's. MISA earning the same respect as Metallica's Cliff Burton. Akane earning the respect of John Bonham or Keith Moon. And Miku and Saiki earning the same respect the Wilson Sisters (Heart) earned for 2 decades.

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