Babymetal Invades Los Angeles and the Crowd Goes Wild!

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I’ve been following Babymetal and Sakura Gakuin since their beginnings in 2010, so I’ve been on the wild ride since ground floor. And boy it’s been a ride, never did fans expect Babymetal to be where they are today. Performing overseas? Multi-nation world tour? Sold out venues? No way, not the silly “after school club” that tried to make metal cute and palatable to an atypical idol-fan audience. But yet here we are, whether by an incredible case of happenstance or picture perfect marketing, advertising, and risks taken by Amuse management but who cares at this point. With an international chart topping album and the ability to draw large crowds away from their primary market, the girls are hopefully here to stay.

The show in Los Angeles is a perfect way for management and producers to gauge the group’s potential and marketability at this point in time. What better market to test than the Movie and Music Capital of the world, this will decide whether Amuse will double down and get serious about pushing Babymetal overseas or whether they retreat to a safer and more conservative plan of action. The tickets available online sold out within minutes of being released, so clearly the numbers to fill a venue sized like the Fonda Theater are there, so that’s one good sign. But we’ll have to see the crowd in person for a better representation, undoubtedly an energized and eager crowd is what execs want to see, will the fans be able to provide that?

A definitive YES from what I saw and experienced. We headed out early to insure good spots for the show, when we arrived we discovered to our amazement that there were a few fans that waited overnight, with many more waiting since 6-7am in the morning. Waiting over 12 hours in line for a “Metal” show where you’re likely to get pushed out of your spot? Unreal, I applaud the dedication of this group of die-hards. From chatting with others in line, you really get to absorb the wide appeal and fan-base the group has gained. Young and old, Metal-heads and those new to the genre, locals and those that came from out of city/state/country! An incredibly diverse group that you would not expect to ever see gathering or communing together. I met fellows that came from Texas and Florida, and several from Japan that flew in just for this show due to difficulty of winning concert tickets there. The line continued to grow throughout the day and snaked down the street, around the corner and down several more blocks. A wonderful and encouraging sight I’m sure as many took pictures of the queue including Amuse staff and photographers that came out to view the line for themselves.

Time flew and before we knew it it was entrance time, crowds flocked to the two merchandise tables and they were quickly sold out. I was lucky enough to have a friend save my spot on the floor while I grabbed the merchandise I was set on getting. It was a challenge fighting my way back as the floor was packed absolutely tight. The energy and crowd excitement was building to nearly riotous levels, thank goodness we were all there a concert that hadn’t taken place yet. When the lights dimmed and the intro video started, the crowd erupted with cheering and yelling.

ALL HEAVY METAL ROADS LEAD TO THE USA! USA USA!

After the entertaining and surreal intro video, the show kicked off to BABYMETAL DEATH to get the crowd going and chanting in unison. The strobing lights combined with the heavy drum beat and the girls jumping drew the crowd quickly into Fox-god compliance and submission. All hail the agents of the Metal Resistance. The whole theatrical aspect with the background lore added much to the whole experience. This wasn’t just a metal concert, but also a theater performance at the same time.

Following was Iine, a smorgasbord of metal, pop, parapara, rap, reggae. “What?” Yeah, that’s the usual reaction on first listen. Nonetheless everyone was READY TO MOSH on command. The moshpit  and Wall of Death swirled into full action in synchronization with the song. Next up was the upbeat, sometimes pop-esque, sometimes dub-step Uki Uki Midnight which continued draw the crowd further in.

“Nonstop” was this show, intensity driving you from one song straight into another. The show never allowed you to slow down or take a break, but sped ahead at full speed till the very end. The only segment that could be considered a slight breather may be SU-METAL’s fantastic solo Akatsuki followed by  YUIMETAL and MOAMETAL’s 4 no Uta which provided a brief change in pace and atmosphere. YON YON YON YON YON~

 

Rounding up the regular setlist was the group’s first song Doki Doki Morning and probably their most well known song that helped them gain worldwide attention, Gimme Chocolate!!

As encore, the girls performed fan favorites Headbanger!! and Iijime, Dame, Zettai. Last call for some Wall of Deathing! The crowd still going strong with no sign of slowing.

One of the often stated goals from the girls during interviews is ”to start a new genre of metal called Kawaii(cute) Metal”. Congratulations, you damn well succeeded, definitely the cutest metal in existence.

Two fox-signs up, definitely go catch their show if you’re lucky enough to have them stop nearby.

Setlist

BABYMETAL DEATH
line!
Uki Uki  Midnight
Akumu no Rondo
Onedari Daisakusen
Catch me of you Can
Akatsuki
4 no Uta
Megitsune
Doki Doki Morning
Gimme Chocolate!!

Encore:
Headbanger!!
Ijime, Dame, Zettai