SF CONCERT REVIEW: Babymetal’s cutesy brand of Heavy Metal comes to the Bay Area

in SF Concert Reviews by

Also published on AXS.com

Japanese metal-idol band Babymetal landed in San Francisco last night, to showcase their clever blend of J-pop and heavy metal to a sold out crowd that consisted of a mix of anime girls in full costume, tattooed death metal guys in Megadeth t-shirts, as well as 6-year-old-girls in pigtails on their parents’ shoulders. They were all there to welcome a band that is comprised of three teenagers, 18-year-old SU-METAL and 16-year-olds YUIMETAL and MOAMETAL, that can be best described as an adorable blend of metal and Japanese Idol music combined with elaborate stage costumes and perfectly choreographed dance moves. Babymetal mixes up the traditional Japanese Lolita styles with punk undertones consisting of black and red, which creates this sort of paradox of good and evil, soft and aggressive, all with the end goal of personifying the perfect role models for their adoring fans. They’ve even substituted the raising of the devil horns hand symbol — typically attributed to metal bands — with a unique hand gesture inspired by “Kitsune,” the band’s supposed divine inspiration.

Last night in San Francisco the crowd was at capacity and as Babymetal performed hit after hit of their catchy brand of pop metal combined with their signature hand gestures and hypnotic claps, the crowd responded by perfectly mimicking each move as if they’d spent the past months practicing in their bedrooms in anticipation for the big arrival. The ladies were accompanied by a backing band comprised of two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer, all decked out in white robes and corpse paint, each exhibiting complete mastery of their instruments. The band was first referred to as “Full Metal Band” back in 2012, but have since been referred to as “Gods of Metal” and more recently “Kami Band”.

Babymetal have been together since 2014, when they released their self-titled “Babymetal,” but it wasn’t until they made their U.S. television debut on The Colbert Show that they became a name in overseas. Since their appearance, they’ve released a second album, “Metal Resistance,” which has gone on to become the highest-charting album for a Japanese band in the U.S. in more than 50 years. On Wednesday night in San Francisco, they solidified their role in the always-evolving metal world as a new act capable of making waves in a genre predominantly dominated by aggressive males. The fact that all dates on this U.S. tour run are sold-out only reinforces the fact that this group of teenage girls might be on to something and some would go so far as to suggest that they’ve invented a new style of music.

Set List:

Gimme Chocolate
Awadama Fever
Catch Me If You Can
Amore -Sousei-
Meta! Meta Taro
Sis. Anger
Megitsune
Karate
Road of Resistance
The One

Encore:

Ijime, Dame, Zettai

Photo courtesy of Reckoning PR 

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.

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