BABYMETAL at House of Blues, Chicago

Photo by Taku Fuji

It’s a rarity for a Japanese idol band to make a big breakthrough with Western audiences, but oddity BABYMETAL have managed to make it and are selling out venues across the world outside of their home country. The band is currently in the midst of their world tour in support of their album Metal Resistance and made a stop at House of Blues in Chicago, IL on May 13th.

If you’re unfamiliar with BABYMETAL, then first off where have you been, as the group has been receiving more and more buzz ever since their introduction in 2014. BABYMETAL are essentially part your standard Japanese idol pop trio, part skilled metal backing band who delivers riffs so hard you would never expect it to mash up with cute dancing and poppy vocals. Perhaps it’s the novelty of it all that works so well and keeps audiences interested, which was indicated by the sold out crowd at the House of Blues.

Kicking off the show with the intense double bass drum-packed “Babymetal Death,” the trio of Yuimetal, and Moametal and lead vocalist Su-metal made their way out onto the stage bathed in a red light fitting for the metal personas, and were welcomed by the massive cheering from the fans. They continued on powering through tracks such as the unexpectedly hip-hop influenced “Iine!,” the carefree “Gimme Chocolate!!,” recent single “KARATE” filled with an undeniably catchy chorus, as well as power ballad “The One,” which is the only English-language song the band has recorded. They came back for an encore with “Road of Resistance,” a slow starter that picks up halfway through and had been the highlight of the crowd’s intensity and moshing throughout the evening. The talented backing Kami-band also got some of their own time at the front of the stage, delivering impressive solos and showcasing the skills that are responsible for the metal part of this whole crazy act.

Whether it was a language barrier or a focus on performance, the girls did not speak to the crowd much, aside from a quick “thank you” and “see you!” towards the end of the show, a contrast to some other Japanese pop acts who will spend possibly too long breaking out into chats. The focus here was on non-stop metal, and the band delivered nearly one and a half hours of it. Music should be enjoyable and entertaining, and BABYMETAL have achieved that mission. Breaking past the seriousness of typical metal, they have created something that is different but familiar at the same time. While some fans in the crowd that evening may take this whole thing a bit too seriously, it seems that the group has no problems keeping audiences interested and returning to the live performances that never fail to deliver, achieving their goal of bringing metal to the world.

The band continues their world tour with a series of headlining shows and festival appearances throughout the summer and will finish with a closing performance at Tokyo Dome in Japan on September 19th.

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