Metal can be an intimidating genre of music to dabble in for most. On the surface level, metal bands can be seen as intense, loud, and maybe something geared towards a niche group of listeners. However, that was proven to be wrong for the Japanese “kawaii metal” band BABYMETAL and the diverse audience who gathered to see them perform at their packed concert at the Aragon Ballroom, the band’s biggest Chicago show to date.
A prominent band with a global fanbase to boot, BABYMETAL has quickly made a name for themselves with their catchy and viral hits. The vast and varied group of fans gathered at the venue was a testament to their widespread popularity. BABYMETAL combines the cute visual and vocals of a Japanese idol group and the sound and aesthetic of a metal band, mixing the two contrasting styles to create a one of a kind genre and experience.
The group is not at all new to touring the States. In addition to performing their own U.S. headlining shows, BABYMETAL has toured with and opened for renown bands including Korn, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, and Guns N’ Roses. They’ve been acknowledged time and time again as talented and authentic musicians. That talent was evident at the Aragon Ballroom. The group, mainly consisting of Su-Metal, Moametal, and a third rotating supporting dancer, brought forth their all, flaunting their unique, flavorful blend of pop and metal at their show.
BABYMETAL opened their set with the three members walking onto stage donning fox masks, leading into a performance of “Megitsune” from their first album. The song incorporated the melody from “Sakura Sakura,” a traditional Japanese folk tune. Joined together with heavy guitar riffs and drums, Su-Metal’s bright and powerful voice resounded throughout the venue. It was the perfect introduction to the group’s singular style.
The performance was followed up with an English version of “Elevator Girl,” and then their latest single “Shanti Shanti Shanti.” The trio performed with unwavering stamina and an extraordinary stage presence throughout their whole set, but especially during the dance and movement-heavy “Pa Pa Ya!!,” “Gimme Chocolate!!,” and “KARATE.”
The blend of Su-Metal’s steady voice, the members’ impressively synchronized choreography, and their easy interaction with the crowd exhibited a level of skill and prowess beyond their years. Seeing fans of all ages and backgrounds connecting with the band and their music and energy despite the language or genre showed that metal is in fact more inclusive and welcoming that one might expect.
BABYMETAL will be releasing their third album, Metal Galaxy, early next month. Until then, be sure to check out their vibrant discography, including their self-titled album Babymetal and Metal Resistance. You can check out the band’s latest single “Shanti Shanti Shanti” from the upcoming Metal Galaxy below.