Review: Nev Pearce
Photography: Dan Maynard
To say that Japanese kawaii metal band Babymetal is a phenomenon is an understatement, since their inception back in 2010, the group have taken the world by storm by fusing pop and metal together, birthing a new musical subgenre and gaining a massive global following that continues to this day.
After a blazing set at Good Things back in 2018, the band have finally returned for their first headline Australian tour and the launch show of the run is being held at the acclaimed Fortitude Music Hall in Brisbane to a sold-out crowd who are lined up right around the block to the street behind the venue.
Opening tonight is Sydney Alt-metal titans Reliqa who have carved their own path in the Australian scene and are the perfect support for the evening’s festivities.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the Sydney four piece a number of times before and they are known as one of the country’s best live acts, but there is something different and next level about their performance tonight. I’ve witnessed some positive responses to openers before, but the reception Reliqa get before they even kick off is incredible.
Vocalist Monique Pym is an absolute firecracker and a joy to see live, her energy and enthusiasm is infectious as she dances around and interacts with the packed venue and her bandmates who are incredibly tight.
From beginning to end their setlist is quite the journey, The Bearer of Bad News kicks things off in a big way with other favourites like Mr Magic, Safety, Second Nature and The Ritualist capturing the venue in a trance before giving us a taste of new material with the song Cave before wrapping up with the title track from their latest EP I Don’t Know What I Am.
Reliqa is one hell of a band and it won’t be too long before we see them headline venues of this capacity in the near future!
One of the most surprising parts about tonight are the number of parents who have their kids by their side, I’m talking as young as maybe 6 years old. The kids show just as much excitement for the night, repping neon masks and kawaii outfits. It’s genuinely heartwarming to see at a metal concert.
As the lights go out and the video screen behind the stage plays a short intro explaining the mythos behind the metal idol group the crowd erupts to deafening levels as the band launch into BABYMETAL DEATH.
“Are you ready to headbang” proclaims Su-metal to their adoring fans, decked out in shining rainbow mirrored dresses, the trio look ethereal and put on one of the most high-energy performances around as they dance in sequence to each fist-pumping hit.
As you would expect, there has been no expense spared visually as the giant screen on stage plays videos tailored to each song, helping to tell the tale and move the epic adventure along at breakneck speed to fan favourites such as Shanti Shanti Shanti, Mirror Mirror, BxMxC, Distortion and Pa Pa Ya!
Musically the band is as heavy as it gets and the guitar tone is nothing short of unholy, the venue’s walls shake with every note and beat which is a vast contrast to the over hyper-happy dance moves and vocals being displayed by the girls up front.
It’s when Babymetal play their massive hit Gimme Chocolate! that the energy reaches its peak and the fans go absolutely bananas!
From the floor to the balcony, it’s quite something to witness this kind of interaction, even some of the most hardened metal elitists would find it difficult not to lose themselves in the moment and the only way to describe it is like eating a shit ton of sugar before going on a rollercoaster, it’s one hell of a good time!
After a short break following Road of Resistance, the band returned to the stage for their grand encore of METAL KINGDOM and Ijime, Dame, Zettai leaving fans screaming for more but exhausted from the physical workout they just received.
Babymetal truly is one of the world’s most incredible live acts, not only for the metal heads but for fans of all ages and hopefully, I can bring my family along next time to experience the pure joy, infectious energy and sheer brutality of one of Japan’s greatest exports.