BABYMETAL at Shoreline Amphitheatre, California

live report - 08.04.2017 20:01

BABYMETAL gets the Mountain View crowd moving!

In June, BABYMETAL joined American metal band Korn's Serenity of Summer tour for several shows, alongside other openers Stone Sour, Yelawolf and Islander. Just like all preceding shows of the tour, most of the attendees on June 22nd at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California were traditional American metal fans: tattoos, biker jackets, chains, cigarettes and beer were their identifiers.

Nevertheless, there was a dedicated group of fans at the very front of the mosh pit who were there for the “kawaii metal” trio. Many of these fans were spending their summer vacation following BABYMETAL tour with Korn, driving to each city across America.

BABYMETAL's backing band, the Kami Band, a group of ghostly figures in white robes and white face paint, came out first on stage to loud cheers. Many audience members didn't realize that the backup band wasn't BABYMETAL, but that was soon remedied.

A solemn female voice recited an introduction about the mythos surrounding the spirit of heavy metal, concluding with a declaration that “Now is the time for metal resistance with BABYMETAL.” Right on cue, the Kami Band started to play opening song BABYMETAL DEATH, each heavy beat of the drum eliciting shouts of “Hey!” from the crowd.

As if summoned by their fans, SU-METAL, YUIMETAL and MOAMETAL emerged from the side of the stage, covered in their black branded towels and walking in perfect synchrony. They then flung their towels aside and held their hands aloft in the sign of the fox. A dance sequence followed, punctuated by repetitive lyrics that introduced who the girls were individually and as a group.

Next came YAVA!. SU-METAL's clear and powerful voice filled the amphitheatre as YUIMETAL and MOAMETAL dished out slick dance moves. The girls’ energy and enthusiasm were infectious, galvanizing the crowd into jumping, dancing and headbanging. After the song ended, BABYMETAL left the stage for a short while to give the Kami Band a chance to be in the spotlight. It was clear that the backing band had their own following, evidenced by cheers from the crowd.

© Jungho Kim

Solos by the instrumentalists over, BABYMETAL bounded back on stage for the upbeat Catch me if you can. One would have thought that the glaring sun would sap their energy, but they showed no signs of tiring. After a few minutes of energetic dancing and cheerful singing, the girls once again exited the stage.

The final notes of Catch me if you can had barely faded when the backing intro to crowd favorite MEGITSUNE rang out from the speakers. Chants of “Hey! Hey! Hey!” rose from the crowd as they pumped their fists to the beat of the music. BABYMETAL returned to the stage donning white fox masks and black and red outer coats that resembled kimonos, but these were shed shortly after. The moment the Kami Band started playing on top of the backing track, an explosion of sound and activity swept through the venue. Fans mirrored the dance moves of BABYMETAL and poured their energy into relentlessly jumping hard and high when SU-METAL urged them to “Jump! Jump! Jump!”

If plenty of jumping was the highlight of MEGITSUNE, a call-and-response session was the highlight for KARATE. During an MC partway through the song, SU-METAL encouraged the crowd to sing “whoa oh whoa oh whoa oh” after her, and sing they did. “You are amazing!” SU-METAL praised the attendees, impressed by their responsiveness.

© Jungho Kim

The last song of the set, Gimme Chocolate!!. brought BABYMETAL’s playful side to the forefront. As SU-METAL sang about the struggles of a girl who loves chocolate but is afraid of putting on weight, YUIMETAL and MOAMETAL danced around her, doing actions that mimicked shooting with a gun and eating chocolate. Although most attendees wouldn’t understand the actual meaning of the song, the catchy onomatopoeia was sure to stick in their minds.

In the final few moments of the concert, SU-METAL interacted with the audience once more as she stood on the middle riser, MOAMETAL and YUIMETAL standing atop the risers beside her. “We are!” SU-METAL yelled expectantly. “BABYMETAL!” the crowd roared. Satisfied after repeating this exchange a few times, the three girls jumped off the risers, bade goodbye to the Mountain View crowd and exited the stage in style with their hands raised in the sign of the fox.

Throughout the show, it was interesting to see the fusion of traditional metal motions such as headbanging, fist pumping and lunging with a cutesy-looking group that had to carefully choreograph their movements so they would still be metal-esque, but wouldn't dissolve the illusion of an idol's perfection. As it was an opening set, BABYMETAL was on stage for around 35 minutes and only got to play a tiny sampling of songs. It left the audience wanting more, especially the dedicated fans in the front. "But it's ok," a fan said, "I'll see them in Washington in a couple days anyway!"

Set list

02. YAVA!
03. Catch me if you can - with band intro-
06. Gimme Chocolate!!
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Mountain View, CA - United States of America
Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View
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