Words – Clare
Photos – Mitch

Sunday night we headed to the arena district in Melbourne City to attend the first-ever Australian headlining tour for the Japanese metal sensation, BABYMETAL. Since the bands’ inception in 2010 there has been much controversy over whether they belong in the metal genre, but in a world full of rap metal, happy hardcore, and clean vocals, I say this genre-bending group not only belongs but thrives in the style and I for one was excited to be an idol worshiper for the night!


As the masses of metal heads and cosplayers approached the arena entrance, we realised there were not one but two pop idol-style bands, BABYMETAL fans were entering to the right, and to the left was a swarm of K-pop fans keen to see Blackpink, a South Korean girl group that also plays around with genres. So, the vibe outside the arenas was electric, especially with all the fashion and cosplay on display. There was a lot of diversity specifically in the BABYMETAL crowd, some rocked metal band tees like Gojira and Slipknot, and others in cosplay, which funnily enough I believe aptly mirrored the genre diversity of the band itself.


On the Australian leg of their tour, BABYMETAL was joined by Reliqa from Sydney. The stage went dark and the excited concertgoers started to cheer. An animated version of the band’s logo appeared on the backdrop continuously burning in flames throughout the set. This four-piece band kicked off with surprisingly heavy drumming, aggressive and sometimes retro guitar riffs, and booming clean vocals. This female-fronted band seemed right at home in an arena setting with the guitarists utilising the space around them as they thrashed and danced up and down the stage. Tracks from ‘The Bearer of Bad News’ were played along with singles from the 2022 studio release alum including Safety, ‘Second Nature‘ and of course, the title track which concluded the set, ‘I Don’t Know What I Am‘. I would say this warm-up act sufficiently warmed up the crowd, the mosh pit had jumped up and down, the whole stadium clapped in unison and the stands were lit with the twinkling of torches.


Now, for what we had all been waiting for, BABYMETAL! The stage again went dark and the whole backdrop became a huge screen that began to tell a story of the Metalverse, it began ‘A long time ago in a heavy metal galaxy far, far away…’ The space adventure continued as the front members of the band Su-metal, Moametal, and Momometal approached in matching kawaii sci-fi gothic lolita outfits. Although the band had the sense of an engineered J-pop group, the Kami Band masked musicians that stayed in the background for the entire evening, created the structure that held the concept band together, with an almighty brutal sound that was legitimately and undeniably metal and I loved it! The choreography was precise and elegantly controlled in classic Japanese fashion, but with added elements of chaos that made the girls seem at times possessed by the dark metal. 


As red lights bled over the crowd I watched the haunting performance of Megitsune and felt like I was inside a Japanese horror movie. The lead vocalist Su-metal greeted the crowd in a Japanese accent using a sickly sweet voice as her accompanying dancers perched themselves on the corners of the stage smiling and waving at the fans, I laughed as it felt eerily like I was at some kind of demented Wiggles concert, they were so upbeat and happy which was honestly super contagious. Every time I looked down at the mosh pit, I saw how happy everyone was, fuck they were having such a good time!


Next, from their debut self-titled album released in 2014, they performed ‘Line!‘, followed by ‘Shanti Shanti Shanti‘ from 2019 released album Metal Galaxy which featured a visual display of trippy kaleidoscope effects on the huge screen backdrop. From their most recent album ‘The Other One‘ released this year they executed the tracks ‘Maya‘ and ‘Monochrome‘ at which point Su-metal once again addressed the audience, ‘Help me shed light on this dark dark world’ and with that, the entire arena shimmered in a sea of sparkly lights from the fans phones. ‘Oh, it’s so beautiful! Thank you!’ Exclaimed Su-metal in her cute baby doll voice. Back to ‘Metal Galaxy‘, there was a huge circle pit for the track ‘Distortion‘, and for the single ‘Pa Pa Ya‘ fire exploded on the big screen and they played the performance of the featured artist on the track, Thai rapper F.HERO. But, the biggest circle pit of the night and the first crowd surfers came with the song ‘Gimme Chocolate‘ which is a fast pace track that gained them a lot of attention online when first released. As ‘Road of Resistance‘ from their 2016 album release Metal Resistance began, the mosh started a row pit, and although I don’t understand the significance of this action in settings that aren’t an Amon Amarth show, it was still pretty epic, and again, everyone was enjoying themselves immensely. The girls held BABYMETAL flags and the fans sang along to the breakdown followed by a huge crescendo which ended the grand evening’s performance. 


Of course, it wasn’t over yet, but boy did they test us and make us wait for the encore! Smoke started to billow from the stage and a member of the mosh pit enlists the assistance of many other patrons to hold him up above the sea of people. The final tracks included another new single from The Other One, ‘Metal Kingdom‘, and the track ‘Lijime Dame Zettai’ which was accompanied by another story as a visual display on the screen ‘In a dream the fox god taught us’  and the flock of fans set up for a wall of death in honour of the track’s purpose ‘No more bullying forever!’ The band bowed to its followers, thanked us for attending and Su-metal stated ‘We are so grateful to see you all!’ Horns went up arena wide which mimicked the bands’ little horns fox god hand gestures which is a staple in their choreography, and the night concluded with the fans contented.


Big thanks to the Margret Court Area, Destroy All Lines for having us and a special thanks to Dallas Does PR for arranging media access