Fan Review: 2014.11.08 - BABYMETAL in Brixton Academy, London

BABYMETAL played at the O2 Brixton Academy of London, England past November 8 as part of the "BABYMETAL Back To The US/UK Tour 2014". The BABYMETAL Newswire group member Anthony Riley from England did an impressive review of the BABYMETAL Show, Read the Fan Reviews of the BABYMETAL Show in New York here, and please remember if you are going to the Su-Metal Seitansai next December 20 or to the Saitama Super Arena next January 10 please share your BABYMETAL experience with fans around the world through the Newswire

The BABYMETAL experience of Anthony Reily at Brixton Academy

Review by: Anthony Reily from Hertfordshire, England.

"Prior to the show I met up with some other fans to have a meal and a few drinks. On my to this I had to walk past the venue so I felt i had to have a look to see the line, bearing in mind this was about 7 hours before the doors opened, it was already pretty long, stretching about half the lenth of the building. 

Upon arriving at where I was meeting the others, a small cafe called Seven At Brixton, it suddenly occured to me that i didn't know who i was looking for. So I threw up a Kitsune sign and a whole table responded with the same motion; this was somewhat of a precursor for the mood of the day, the feeling of unity between fans. Most of the converstion wasn't about BABYMETAL but what I felt, and feel, was great about this was all the different places the people were from. I'd only had to come about 40 miles to get there on two trains so travel wasn't something that crossed my mind, but there were people who'd come from near Manchester and had got a coach the day the day before, I talked to one guy who'd come from France via the Eurostar train, there was a Dutchman who'd come on a plane and then there was the American who had to get two planes for what was just a two night stay for him. This reinforced that feeling of unity, people coming from all over the place just to see a band from a totally different continent to any of them.

After this meal we moved on and went to a pub for a few drinks. There were so many BABYMETAL fans there in the end that we had to push 8 tables together and occupy a further 2 booths. Due to the shear number of people I only got to talk to a few of them, those I was already with, a few more arriving Brits and a Japanese contingent. Again there was little talk about BABYMETAL as people got to know one another but there was quite a bit of talk about Sakura Gakuin, mostly Moa & Yui's frighteningly close graduation. A round of group pictures was being taken so I stood up to take my turn handing two of those I was sat with a couple of signs I had prepared for friends of mine who couldn't be at the show. Again it made you feel a part of something, the majority of these people I hadn't spoken a word to but they were all fully willing to be part of a picture for me.


Onwards to the main event we went, with little over an hour and a half left before doors opened. The line was significantly longer than when I had last seen it, now stretching round the corner of the venue and over half the length that way. It was only at this point that the stereotypical British weather reared its head as it began to rain very heavily. This didn't dampen anybody's spirits however, the excitement of seeing the band kept everyone going as jokes were made, people danced and some even doing mini covers of some the songs. Despite the heavy rain and excitement everyone filed in an orderly fashion and followed instructions as the doors opened for entry.


While I didn't venture anywhere near one, there was an expected bundle at each and every merchandise stand, a theme that continued after the show too.

Once in the arena you could feel the anticipation. People shouting, chanting, jumping and other such things; yet there was clearly no worry that anyone would tire themselves out before the show began. As it got closer and closer to the start of the show, there seemed to be a real change to the atmosphere, everyone calming slightly and the only mass sound would be the occasional chant of "BABYMETAL" ringing around the arena.


Suddenly the lights dropped and the screen on stage lit up, the crowd almost burst with excitement, the now routine BABYMETAL lore preroll played before a silence fell. Once the guitar went for BABYMETAL DEATH, everything got good.


As the intro played the chant of *BABYMETAL! BABYMETAL!* did the rounds again, the girls then dramatically rose from beneath the stage and the crowd went berzerk. The moshpit was in full force as the excitement hit everybody, no one I could see stopped except, somewhat comically, to join in with the "SU-METAL DES/ YUI-METAL DES/ MOA-METAL DES/ BABYMETAL DES". As the lights dropped at the end of the song everybody took a collective break. It would prove immediately to be in vein.


The techno beat of Iine hit and everybody cheered, some people began moshing straight away while others waited and some were even trying to dance along in the cramped space. Again though no matter what people were doing they paused to join in, this time with "moshusu!". There was then a mass break from moshing as everybody (that i could see at least) took part in the 'rap' section of Iine; as Su-METAL said "say ho!" everyone complied as they did with the rest. Everybody then resumed what they were previously doing until the end of the song, except for the break to scream "moshusu!".

Before I could even think about gathering my breath the unmistakable sound of Uki Uki Midnight played. Again the energy levels resumed and everybody was bouncing around, the only partial breaks for the whispering sections of the song. Those brief moments struck me as special though, I had got so used to whispering in my head in reply to Su that it felt incredible to be shouting it out loud in a room filled with thousands of people doing the same thing.


Not that I went to the show looking to critique it, but I did take note of what the crowds allowed me to see and the girls were so on point. The dancing was great, Su's singing was strong and they seemed to be having as much fun as us. Overall the first 3 songs just seemed very polished.

I admit that I usually take the Kami band's sections in the shows as a break time or as a bit to be skipped in a video, no more do i do this. Live they were incredible, not only great at playing their instruments but also at getting the crowd going, they didn't allow energy levels to drop too much. While most people were stationary, almost everyone clapped and as each member stood forward for their solo there was a grand cheer! It was good to see the Kami band get some real recognition and to get to appreciate them live.

The lights again dropped as a piano tune played before the harsh sound of Akumu No Rondo played. As the lights came up again Su-METAL was stood centre stage in all her glory. Everyone was still engaged with the Kami band until Su began singing. That performance required little movement on her part but she still had incredible stage precence; BABYMETAL fans often refer to her as 'the queen' and she certainly seemed it during Akumu No Rondo. She didn't put a foot wrong and i was captivated by her during what used to be one of my least favourite songs by the band.

Moa & Yui then emerged from the darkness as the sub-unit BLACK BABYMETAL, as the band played 4 No Uta. Not a song i'm usually too keen on, but it was so fun live, which is what BABYMETAL are all about really. While the audio alone isn't greatly endearing, a live performance is amazing, everyobody shouting "yon yon!" with the girls as well as the appropriate "hey hey!" and on the odd Caribbean sounding sections, the whole crowd swayed in unison. Not much else to say about that performance other than that it was great fun!

There was then the drum filled intro to Catch Me If You Can and the room filled with a cheer before a chant of "hey! hey! hey! hey!" until the girls emerged; and once they did there was another grand cheer. As they took spot on stage the whole room joined in with the count of "1, 2! 1, 2, 3, 4!". From there the performance was incredible, full of character and every movement done to the fullest. The semi-rest the crowd had got from the previous songs came in handy as the whole arena bounced with energy almost trying to match the band. Again, the appropriate parts were joined in with by the crowd at full enthusiasm. As well as a full energy performance that was sensational to watch, it was also another fun one. The girls delivered it so well it was near impossible to take your eyes off them but it was so enjoyable as a crowd member too.

The lights dropped as a piano tune unfamilar to me played. As they came up again the image of Su-METAL stood at the top of the stairs on the stage. She began a slower, more emotional version of Akatsuki and everyone in the crowd took notice; then a guitar riff hit and it was back to the version we all know. Yet the intro had set the mood and there was little-to-no moshing as most people took in Su's incredible performance. Those around me were headbanging, throwing their kitsune signs about or singing along, I just appreciated the performance, then the Kami band took centre stage for the instrumental before Su emerged between the guitarists and continued. I just thought how amazing it was that a 17-year old girl, an idol groomed to be the peak of girliness, was dominating the stage with this incredible metal band on it.

As the tune for Onedari Daisekusen played the arena was buzzing. Moa & Yui did their best to stay in character but the whole performance was done with a smile on their faces, especially when thousands of people shouted "papa!" along with them. On the section where they sing "katte katte.... choudai choudai" money appeared in the air, someone had handed out fake money before the show and those with it threw it in the air at this part. A great touch by the fans and made it that much better. Much like with Su's performance of Akatsuki I was amazed by the girls; these two spent years being made into idols, the perfect girls, and they're on stage in skeleton hoodies rapping and absolutely killing it too! 


As the sound of the Megitsune intro rang around the arena I was so excited. Another song that went off without a hitch, Su sang so well it gave chills and Moa & Yui danced to near perfection. With every "sore!" there wasn't a person not joining in, and there wasn't a bigger smile than on the faces of Moa & Yui (i'm sure Su would've been smiling too but she was a bit preoccupied with singing her heart out). The goosebumps emerged as the whole crowd said "nametara ikanze yo!" in sync with Su. I'd seen some videos of live performances of Megitsune, and I was at Sonisphere when they performed it there, and it often seemed somewhat lackluster; but on this night it was a top class performance and i loved every second of it.


After such a great performance of a great song, it was time for more fun. The lights dropped, the Doki Doki Morning intro played and the crowd cheered. After a while without the moshpit returned at full power. While I was being carried by the waves of people I was occasionally able to see the girls, and they seemed to be having a blast. Moa & Yui danced so well while looking to be having so much fun at the same time. However it has to be said that Su's singing was a little sub-par, nonetheless it was another fun performance.

Next up was the viral video, the main event: Gimme Chocolate. I didn't get to see much of the actual performance but in the pit it was insane; everybody was full of energy physically, they were screaming with joy and even singing with Moa & Yui's parts all at the same time. It was less of a moshpit and more of ChocoPit because it was like the song changed how people went about it. The was sudden stop as it came to the part where the crowd sings with Su. She said "How you do?" and anyone who could still make noise screamed, then she went and said "Come on London! Make some noise!" and the roof nearly came off the place! 

Only for Moa to then follow on with "I can't hear you!" the fellow next to me took this as a personal challenge to deafen those around him. Then Yui says "Louder louder!" and the same guy makes a noise I can only assume is his mating call, I myself just stuck to the traditional scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs tactic. Finally Su says "Now we are ready, let's sing together!" and so we all did, goosebumps returned as the most incredible atmosphere took over. All kinds of people from all kinds of places singing in unison about chocolate, it felt very special. For the remainder of the song Moa, who was the only one i could see, had the most heart-warming grin on her face.

The pre-roll for Ijime Dame Zettai played and there were faint cheers for the build up. I didn't take it in as I felt something was up, i was sure that IDZ was usually the encore song and it just felt odd having it this early in the show. My thoughts didn't last long as i was taken away by the wall of death. Despite an expected encore, the girls still performed IDZ like it was the last hoorah, Moa & Yui were still full of energy for their dancing which was again to a top standard; Su's singing was once again breath-taking and the whole performance felt like an experience more than something that was just to be watched. It was only exemplified when the whole moshpit jumped at once shouting "Dame!". As it came to an end there was a mass applause and cheer; as the girls said their "see you" and we all replied i had chills.

In the darkness the crowd remained, the majority chanting "we want more!" or "BAYMETAL! BABYMETAL!" but there were also murmurs as people dicussed how there was for sure going to be an encore, but no one could figure out why IDZ wan't that encore. If there was one thing that BABYMETAL fans knew, it was that IDZ ends the show but on this occasion there was certainly going to be more. But we didn't know what.

Then screen came on again and another VT played. The video then went on to say that the metal resistence was not over and that BABYMETAL's new task was to unite people again. It then said "the one who rings the gong, is you" and the lights went up to reveal Su on stage.


The ominous sound of Headbanger played and excitement returned to the crowd, everyone singing along to the intro. Despite everything that had come before, this was arguably the most energetic performance of the night. The girls again looked to be enjoying themselves on stage as we in the crowd took great pleasure in bellowing "DOI!" as Moa & Yui leapt into the air. Everything was still on point as there wasn't a thing wrong with what i could see of the performance, yet much of the crowd's energy was gone, though this didn't effect the performance at all. Su then ended up at the top of the stairs next to a gong and in a clear call-back to the earlier VT she rang it and hit the floor.


Then another VT played. I'm not going to explain all of it (mostly because i don't remember most of what it said) but the just of it was: technology had helped us connect in a direct sense but we have lost our true communication, we  have forgotten how to feel. There was then an image of a crowd of skeletons holding up their camera phones towards a stage and heads turned to those around who were recording the event.  Another video played on the screen which stated that BABYMETAL would be back for the Metal Resistence Part III to unite to be one, because we are all 'the one'.

Then music played which no one recognised and the girls all appeared on stage with BABYMETAL flags in hand. They made their way down the stairs, holding the flags proudly in the air as the guitar played. They were then placed down before the girls took up position centre stage. Suddenly every instrument was going at once in full force and the girls all burst into dance. Su stopped to sing but Moa & Yui continued with the new routine. Despite it's heavier sound and arguably more 'traditional' metal sound it also sounded somewhat uplifting and inspirational. Then there was a moment of magic: the girls sang "whoooaaahhoooh whooooaaahooo whaoh whaoh whaoh" then the band stopped playing as the girls continued, the crowd already joining in before Su said "SING IT!" and we all did. 

Admittedly it was the hardest thing to catch onto but it was still a new song and we all joined in first time. It sent shivers down my spine as we all sang to the band, Moa & Yui briefly exchanging a smile and Su closing her eyes to take it all in. They then took over and continued to finish the song. 


While it wasn't THE most on point performance it can be easily forgiven since it was their first time performing it AND it was at the very end of the show. There wasn't much that could've ruined 'The One', it was a brand new song and had a great band/crowd interaction portion, everyone fell in love with it straight away. The girls took up positions on their podiums and the lights went out to end the show.

As I left I couldn't stop thinking about the new song, but also the pre-roll VT. I mean I didn't expect to be questioning my entire existence when I went to a BABYMETAL show. There was so much I loved about the show, every song was done so well, the crowd were (for the most part) well behaved, we were promised a return and got a new song. It was just an amazing experience; one i'd give anything to be able to live over again.

I met up with those I was with before the show so we could go to a function room we had booked for an after-party. There we played BABYMETAL and Sakura Gakuin songs to sing and dance to. It was a lot of fun and was a great way to cap of the day as it's something else you don't get to do all the time. My one complaint was that the music was a little too loud which made it difficult to talk, bearing in mind that most people could hardly talk after the show. But nonetheless I met a few more people, one from Sweden and a few from Norway. After the fun of the after-party most headed to their hotels while some went looking for another pub. I should've been going home but ended up stuck in London for the night, I didn't care though. Nothing could've ruined that day for me, I was still buzzing with excitement hours after the show."