Babymetal Kick Off U.S. ‘Metal Resistance’ Tour in New York City [Review]
Last night (May 4), Babymetal began their 2016 world tour with a show at New York City’s Playstation Theater. The opening night of any act’s tour is often the most telling, so we experienced the most intimate and organic version of a group often shrouded in mystique.
With the release of Babymetal’s debut album, the group became a worldwide sensation and Babymetal cemented its strength as a legitimate creative force with Metal Resistance this year. With a 14-song set in NYC, we got the best from both albums at a gig that was surprisingly stripped-down.
If you’ve seen Babymetal’s Live at Budokan DVD, you know the Japanese pop-metal hybrid spares no expense when it comes to spectacle. Performing on a custom stage, Babymetal’s performance was brilliantly overwhelmed by fire, elaborate lights and props. Tokyo’s Budokan holds 14,500 people, but with Playstation Theater's capacity tipping at just over 2,000 fans, the proverbial curtain was pulled back, allowing Babymetal fanatics to experience the phenomenon up close.
After a short Star Wars-inspired video celebrating the Metal Resistance, the crowd exploded immediately as the teen trio and four-piece backing band surged into “Babymetal Death.” When we took in the environment, we noticed fans of all sorts had come to experience Babymetal live. In terms of background, it was one of the most diverse crowds we’ve ever seen. Babymetal followers of all races, from young teens to middle-aged men and women had massive smiles on their faces while grooving with the band. Dance-club types, soccer moms and even dudes in full-on rap gear were all going nuts in chaotic unity.
Babymetal began their set with poppier cuts like “Doki Doki Morning” and “Awadama Fever” before Moametal and Yuimetal (aka Black Babymetal) took over the stage for “GJ!”. Su-metal had her own solo moment with the part-ballad / part-shredfest, “Amore,” which went over huge.
Babymetal’s studio albums are meticulously perfected to bring out the strongest performances from all involved, balancing countless dynamics with the highest of sonic expertise. With Babymetal’s live show, however, very little backing audio was used. When it was, samples were low in the overall mix, letting the girls’ live voices jump up front -- imperfections and all.
It was extremely refreshing to watch Babymetal perform with minimal studio magic pumped in. Like any other rock or metal show, the sound wasn’t perfect: the girls missed a few notes here and there, and Su-metal may have even found herself off time for a few measures during “The One.” But this is what a live show is supposed to be! Many naysayers will criticize Babymetal for being pushed too heavily as industry-mechanized product, but leaving the girls to rely on their genuine talent connected fans with the trio on a profound level.
Speaking of talent, the teen girls possess capabilities far beyond their years. Their choreography was on-point and the girls’ showmanship and charisma was undeniable. Babymetal’s instrumental section, Kami Band, was flawless. Pit them against the Dream Theaters and Between the Buried and Mes of the world and Kami Band remain absolute monsters at the highest level of musicianship.
Babymetal finished off the show with an assault of fan favorites like “Gimme Chocolate!!”, “Ijime, Dame, Zettai” and “Road of Resistance.” Su-metal even commanded a wall of death during “Road of Resistance,” which hundreds of lunatic fans happily partook in, nearly from wall to wall.
Babymetal fans won’t soon forget this gig, and neither will Su-metal, who expressed that very sentiment before taking her last bow. If you get a chance, go see this band live! For the rest of Babymetal's world tour dates, click here.
Babymetal Play 'Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?'
Babymetal Talk Metal Resistance, Playing Wembley + More
Babymetal Discuss Black Metal + New ‘Metal Resistance’ Songs