The great BABYMETAL experiment continues, and by that, I mean my constant desire to work out just what makes this band so popular, and they are so damn popular… still. Even after line-up changes (Yuimetal left the band and Momometal is now part of the trio), a period of silence, and the rise of other bands that have captured the mainstream imagination as well as metalhead attentions (we’re pointing at you, Sleep Token).
There is no further proof needed then the fact BABYMETAL are in London for two sold shows at the Roundhouse in Camden. Two sold out shows taking place on a Monday and a Tuesday, no less. It’s not the just the number of bodies inside either, it’s how rabid those bodies are for this band.
BABYMETAL fans are extremely vocal in their adoration of this band, and be damned anyone who might have a different opinion. I’ve definitely had a different opinion over the years, but unlike the loud and vocal haters, BABYMETAL don’t bother me at all. Different strokes for different folks. It’s as simple as that, and I’ve looked to have my mind changed on multiple occasions.
Three years is a long time though (especially when you consider the madness that has gone on in the world since then) and I don’t feel any different about the band overall. Yet, I’m still fascinated by the appeal and what so many see that I don’t. I want to be part of the club, damn it!
So, dosed up because of a cold, and with coffee in hand, I went to check BABYMETAL out, and once again, I was thoroughly impressed. The whole ‘you’ve not experienced BABYMETAL properly until you’ve seen them live’ is a statement I can support. They are so much more enjoyable in the flesh and in a venue that can provide the sound and sight in all its glory. The Roundhouse can do this and BABYMETAL both look and sound incredible tonight.
The lights go down, and a video message plays on the back screen informing us that BABYMETAL are here and it’s time to bang your head. It’s BABYMETAL DEATH and KAMI band are sounding heavier than ever. The trio; Su-metal, Moametal, and Momometal march out, and the place freaking erupts. It is such a sight to see. A cacophony of noise, made by an array of people from different walks of life, all with one thing in common – a love for BABYMETAL.
It is such a thrilling start, and you can feel the electricity in the air as the crowd goes wild for BABYMETAL banger after banger. Gimme Chocolate!!, PA PA YA!!, Distortion, and BxMxC knocked out in quick succession. The latter of which might be my personal highlight of the night, as it’s one of the punchiest sounding tracks of the show.
It’s also quite fun to realise, at this stage, that I knew way more BABYMETAL songs than I thought I did. Which sure makes getting into them, far easier. Although the middle portion of the set; Mirror Mirror, Time Wave, and Monochrome does fall a bit flat, the absolute elation on the faces of seemingly everyone else, is enough to keep my adrenaline pumping.
A brief bit of KAMI band soloing gives the trio a chance to take a breath (seriously, they just don’t stop) before METALI!!, Megitsune, and Headbangeeeeerrrrr!!!!! bring the energy right back up. BABYMETAL have always been a well-oiled machine, but they’re looking more and more natural now, and it’s extremely notable in the latter stages of the show as, no doubt, tiredness is setting in. Although you’d never bloody know it.
Going back to my review of The Apollo show in 2020, I did complain about the length of the show and it’s a bit of surprise to see that hasn’t changed here. BABYMETAL perform for around an hour, and that’s your lot. It sure does leave people wanting more! However, I don’t see it as a negative now. In fact, I’m amazed they can even keep this performance up for that long. Five minutes of trying to do the immensely choregraphed moves, and I’d be on the floor.
I’m not dissatisfied, and if anyone else was dissatisfied, it certainly didn’t show on the faces I saw. Hell, some people look downright emotional and that is so heartening.
To see any band connect with someone on this level is just amazing. The delirium felt by others upon seeing BABYMETAL may not be my personal experience, but the admiration I have for how this band connects with their fan base is even higher now.
Though, the last thing I’d want anyone to think reading this is that I had a bad time. Far from it, in fact. BABYMETAL are exceptionally watchable, and have built up a catalogue of tracks that slay in the live environment. In fact, it’s impressive that they can drop the odd popular one in favour of another. Any stupid doubts about their ‘metal credentials’ have to be well and truly put to bed by now. There seems to be no limits on what this band can do, and their fanbase is going to be there every step of the way.
BABYMETAL at the Roundhouse, Camden, London (28/11/23)
BABYMETAL - 8/10