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LIVE REPORT: Babymetal
Josh Saco , July 9th, 2014 13:04

"Shredding and demonic": Josh Saco reports from Babymetal's show at The Forum in London. Photo by MortAuPat on Flickr.

I love the wrong. I love the challenged. I live in hope for more fun than is ever likely to be encountered. I bought tickets to a bunch of Japanese Idol girls posing as a metal band at the Electric Ballroom. That's how I roll. 

I like metal. I'm a punk. Sometimes these paths cross. Never liked Maiden. Those paths never crossed. but faster, louder, has always ruled. As tickets flew, those Electric Ballroom tickets were upgraded to the Forum within a few days. My friends mocked me. Laughed at my thirty pound investment. 

I stood proud. Fuck your purist metal, I'm here to have a good time.

After all, unless I'm mistaken, that's what metal is about - driving around in a Camaro, hitting the 7-11, getting stoned, drinking brews, throwing the horns. Playin' it loud. 

There's no support tonight, and on the screen before us scroll, Star Wars-style, the story of the Metal Resistance. We are informed that all metal roads lead to Europe as red lights come up, casting ethereal images upon the screen as a thunder roars. 

A Screen drops. 

Three Japanese girls proceed to educate the Land Of The Saxon.  Over the course of the next 80 minutes, these Idols play a crowd of fans and mockers like Satan on his fiddle - Foxes thrown high, calls are answered and demons raised. 

Babymetal devastate London and any fool who just here for a laugh is swiftly converted to the Resistance as three teenage girls reduce the masses to a sweating fury. 

The mixing of tightly choreographed dance routines with blazing "we know what the fuck we are doing, so don't doubt us" solos from the anonymous backing band Kami, rumored to contain members of ex-Megadeth's Marty Freidman's solo act and likely to have been mined from the depths of the Japanese Metal Scene, deliver blistering double bass drums, duel action guitar shredding and demonic growling six string bass mastery. It leaves no one in the 2100 capacity venue with any doubt that these are masters of their domain. 

This is more than mere exploitation of another "sacred" music genre, this is no Avril Lavigne, with behind-the-curtain masters, mocking the skater bois. Whoever is behind Babymetal knows their genre - from devastating drums, to screeching guitars - and there's an authenticity to the act, one that makes the most hardened Burzum fan second guess their allegiance as they scream rough approximations of Japanese choruses to a trio of girls a third their age. Manipulative and cynical, but there's something bubbling under that pristine surface. 

Say what you will about the exploitative nature of the Japanese Idol scene, the candy pop elements of Gimme Chocolate and the inherent viral insanity of Japan's play it for the Western audience's expectations of "that wacky over the top Land Of The Rising Sun", Babymetal deliver one of the most memorable gigs I've ever seen, and I was at GG Allin's final gig at the Gas Station. I've signed up for the Metal Resistance, and if you were lucky enough to be at the Forum, you have too. 

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