Babymetal: Spirited Away
Think Babymetal filling Brixton was bonkers? Try watching them on their home turf in front of 30,000 Japanese Fanatics...
The Saitama Super Arena is a hive of activity this afternoon, as hordes of eager youngsters babble excitably around it. A breathtakingly vast, 30,000-capacity dome that recently hosted One Direction and will, in one month’s time, feature a performance from the unnervingly named Mr Children, the crowd that snakes around the venue right now are, indeed, much the same demographic that you might see at a 1D gig. They aren’t queuing to get in, either; there are still four hours before doors open and, with an interesting two-items-per-customer rule in place, some of them will hand over their money, circle round and join the back of this particular queue again. It’s a queue for merchandise; t-shirts, masks, scarfs and towels, all of which come emblazoned with one name: BABYMETAL.
That’s the same Babymetal that we at Metal Hammer have proclaimed, after hearing their truly unique mix of J-pop and thrashing guitars and witnessing some genuinely crazy live shows at Sonisphere, The Forum and Brixton Academy last summer, as the most bonkers and polarising breakthrough band in heavy music in the last year.
Today we’ve come to their homeland, and their biggest-ever headline show, to prove our point, but if anything, we’re starting to feel a bit... worried. Save for the tiny smattering of denim and patch-sporting Japanese metal fans, this is very obviously a very young, very pop audience. Which begs the question: have we made some kind of fuck-up here? Should adult metalheads really be flocking towards this band at all? Have we backed the wrong horse?