After opening for five dates on Lady Gaga‘s Artpop tour and a sold-out Los Angeles concert this year, Babymetal hit the East Coast for their first New York show. The Japanese trio has been made viral waves, as well as chart moves, thanks to their kooky mix of bubblegum J-pop melodies with Slayer-like productions — or as they’ve called it, “kawaii” (meaning cute) metal.
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Throughout 2014, the young trio of 16-year-old Suzuka “Su-Metal” Nakamoto and 15-year-olds Yui “Yuimetal” Mizono and Moa “Moametal” Kikuchi have seen their self-titled debut album hit at No. 1 on Billboard‘s World Albums chart (it’s at No. 13 this week after 35 weeks on the ranking) and even creep into the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 187 last March.
The girls slayed New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom on Nov. 4, playing a high-energy set that lasted less than an hour-and-a-half, but was packed full of non-stop singing, dancing and shredding. Check out our eight takeaways from the very loud, very cute night below.
1. Babymetal’s fanbase is super diverse.
Sure, they’re singing in Japanese. But the venue was filled with everyone from elementary-school kids walking in holding their mom’s hand to middle-aged men along with a strong showing for your typical “metal” fan (think long hair, braided beards, lots of tattoos). White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern — everyone was represented at this show.
2. The VIP badges were worth more than just the early access.
Fans who opted for the VIP treatment got badges with a little booklet attached to the lanyard that included the girls signatures inside.
3. There’s moshing…ish.
This was a metal show, but there wasn’t the intense head-banging-jump-on-everyone-around-you type of moshing. Instead, the crowd moved more like a wave in what you could call a docile approach to mosh. Still, some fans cited a couple rowdy fans who were throwing elbows.
4. Neck braces are a very appropriate accessory.
One of Babymetal’s earliest videos, “HeadBanger,” shows what happens when a neck brace with a mind of its own takes over a young girl’s body. In tribute to the early hit — which the girls played as the first of two encore songs — at least a dozen fans were rocking the neckwear at the show.
5. It’s super easy to dance along.
Su-Metal, Yuimetal and Moametal’s choreography is so fun, even the most metal bro joined in. Babymetal raise their arms? You raise your arms. Babymetal make an X across their chest? You make an X across your chest.
6. Their band is freaky…but also freakishly talented.
The four players in Babymetal’s backing band donned creepy white face paint with big black circles painted around the eyes. They all bore the same, long black hair (though one dude opted for a shaved head, thus having his whole head painted white) with flowing white robes. But multiple times throughout the show the guys got solo spotlight sections to showcase their shredding skills.
7. Fox-face hand signs are their devil-horn hand signs.
Instead of doing the typical devil-horn hand signs you’d see at any old metal show — a.k.a. \m/ — Babymetal fans put their thumb, middle and ring finger together to make what looks like a fox face with their hands. It comes from a backstory of the band being put together by “the Fox god.” Metal fans love a little mysticism, right?
8. The audience interaction is minimal, but adorable.
No stage banter here, folks. Despite the passionate crowd, there was very little audience interaction from the group save for a very occasional “Make some noise!” shoutout. The trio did end their show with a quick speech, adorably telling the audience, “I had so much fun thanks to you. See you!”
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