The number of heavy metal idol groups has grown substantially over the last decade and a bit, with BABYMETAL at the forefront of it all. BABYMETAL in 2023 saw them release their conceptual fourth album, THE OTHER ONE. They also became a three-piece group again, with MOMOMETAL joining after YUIMETAL’s departure in 2018.
However, it’s the concerts that would bring the newly-reborn BABYMETAL to their fans all over, starting as special guests on band Sabaton’s tour. Then they follow up with Asia, Australia, North America, and finally, a Europe and UK tour titled “BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2023 EU & UK“—one that saw the group stop off in London, UK for two sold-out shows at Roundhouse.
Greeted by red and white lights after the epic-sounding narrator speaks, BABYMETAL marches onto the stage in single file to blaring guitars, introducing the anthemic first song of the night, BABYMETAL DEATH. The thick air and feeling of unity intensifies as the audience throws their fox-shaped hands up, all while chanting the lyric “Death” repeatedly. The guitarist of the skull-masked backing band, also known as KAMI BAND, starts the chaos off with a ripping solo.
Song Gimme Chocolate!! unleashes a hellish moshpit, contrasting BABYMETAL’s playfully dancing in their glimmering iridescent outfits. Energetic summer song PA PA YA!! sends the audience into an absolute frenzy as a sea of waving towels fills the venue. Even Thai rapper F.HERO appears as a pre-recorded live video playing on the screen behind. The intensity, the fiery atmosphere, the blaring lights, it’s all here.
As darkness envelops the venue and with BABYMETAL now offstage, a purple line of light scans slowly over concert-goers, soon after the group is back on stage to perform the song Distortion. Lead vocalist SU-METAL hypes up the audience with “Hey London! Everybody clap your hands!”, as well as having them shout a resounding “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!”, reaching a fever pitch—even more so as live footage of BABYMETAL and the audience streams on the screen. These elements make it hard to emphasize just how impressed I was by such a display.
Rap metal brilliance that is the song BxMxC has SU-METAL’s dynamically cool inflections, alongside playful sound effects. The rigorous choreography flings their bodies to and fro, matching the jumpy riffs. The slight genre change-up was personally a delight to hear, especially as it illustrates the group’s versatility. Following is the ethereal intro transitioning to the song Mirror Mirror leading to high-pitched guitars, all before the sound onslaught of the aggressive and unrelenting instrumentation. Song Time Wave syncs with symmetrical on-screen visuals and features a dance that tells more of a story.
Explosive double bass drums introduce the song Monochrome, building up to a special moment of the performance. A live feed of the venue is set up again during a short interlude, capturing SU-METAL asking the audience to take their phones out and turn on their flashlights, forming a breathtaking sea of stars. Before long, she sang a short cappella version of the chorus, creating an undoubtedly unforgettable moment that left me in absolute awe. BABYMETAL leaves the stage once more, with the focus shifting onto KAMI BAND showcase, spotlighting each of their musical prowess as they play solos to a koto (“Japanese harp”) accompaniment.
The ending of the showcase signals the return of the three idols, building up to the traditional Japanese-influenced choreography for the song METALI!!! feat. Tom Morello. Combined with the on-screen traditional Japanese visuals, SU-METAL asks the audience to raise their hands and throw them back and forth as “Hey yo” plays in the background. MOMOMETAL soon asks those standing to sit on the floor before growling “Are you ready?” and raising the roof as the audience leaps to their feet.
The next onslaught was gently introduced through the sound effects for Megitsune while the venue was drenched in red lights. The audience goes absolutely wild as they chant “Sore” over and over. BABYMETAL engages in a sumo-inspired dance while fox hand signs are up high, and soon after, SU-METAL brings out a kitsune (fox) mask.
In transition to the next performance, the kitsune mask is soon switched for a glittering short microphone stand with the song Headbangeeeeerrrrr!!!!!. SU-METAL stands in the middle of the stage while MOAMETAL and MOMOMETAL dance, delivering high-energy moves. Red lights revolve around like searchlights for the final song, Road to Resistance, and the pit opens up. BABYMETAL enters the stage with flags featuring their logo, followed by a singalong to the instrumentation and as a cappella.
BABYMETAL delivered a high-intensity performance combining engaging visuals, awesome choreography, and brilliant audience interaction, alongside the backing band, KAMI BAND, with phenomenal accompaniment. There’s no doubt that they’ll be back to spread the word of the Fox God, but in the meantime, we’ll continue to watch over them and their evolution as one of the most notable heavy metal idol groups.
Update 2024-02-09: The original article incorrectly referenced band members SU-METAL, MOMOMETAL, and MOAMETAL. It also indicated that SU-METAL said “Are you ready?” instead of MOMOMETAL. Additionally, it inaccurately referred to F-HERO as Taiwanese instead of Thai. These errors have been corrected.
BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2023 EU＆UK
Setlist for November 27, 2023 at Roundhouse
- BABYMETAL DEATH
- Gimme Chocolate!!
- PA PA YA!!
- Mirror Mirror
- Time Wave
- Road of Resistance