The Fonda Theater
What the hell is Babymetal? It's a question that's been rattling around in our minds even before we officially asked it on this blog months ago. And as the all-girl Japanese trio of SuMetal, MoaMetal, and YuiMetal kept gaining momentum on YouTube, the footage of packed arenas with millions of clicks got us wondering what the hell an L.A. Babymetal fan would look like when they came to the Fonda last Sunday. Watching a melange of metalheads, tutu-wearing J-Pop vixens, Internet nerds and creepy middle-aged dudes showing up alone gave us our answer. But the crowd wasn't the only aspect of the Babymetal show that had a surprising number of layers.
See also: What the Hell is Babymetal?
From the beginning, the group's Star Wars-themed intro with an origin story projected on a big screen seemed apropos for a group of demonic school girls from a heavy metal galaxy far far away. In reality of course, these girls have been cultivated for years to be J-Pop sensations. See Alex Distefano's origin story on the group for a little more insight into that. But the way the crowd exploded as the lights dimmed in the Fonda, they might as well have been seeing a midnight screening of the George Lucas classic.
The beginning of the Babymetal show was basically a heavy metal cheerleading routine. As the girls emerged looking like offspring of Satan and Chun-Li from Street Fighter, their first order of business was to get some rah-rah chants out of the way while holding up some of the most prim and proper devil horns you've ever seen as head bangers commenced their voluntary whiplash to some industrial-flavored beats. If you happened to be a metalhead at the show that night, the only reason your sleeveless denim vest hasn't been revoked is because of the insane shred-a-holics that comprised Babymetal's backing band.
Dressed in white with faces painted like blood-drooling zombies, the four-piece of double guitars, drums and bass flexed their virtuosity at various points in the set that made for some pretty legit mosh pit action. Every few minutes it seemed like they'd switch from metal back to J-Pop, which confused the shit out of some of the hessians who came to thrash. The band broke out into all instrumental segments at various times, presumably while Su, Moa and Yui were backstage grabbing a strawberry Nesquik.
The break down of their set, aside from the hits like "Gimmie Chocolate," "Headbangers," and "Catch Me If You Can," was a barrage of speed metal, industrial, dub step, J-Pop and rainbows.
While SuMetal's sing-songy cuteness took center stage, younger members Moa and Yui had their own segment dancing in skeleton sweat shirts with headset mics firmly in place. They managed to bang out their entire show in an hour and a half, including an encore. For the uninitiated, it probably seems like they did us a favor considering the human head can only take so much of this before our craniums explode.
However, it actually might've been a little too much for one of the members themselves by the show's end. We spotted an ambulance parked behind the venue, red lights blazing as fans gathered around. A spokeswoman for the L.A. City Fire Department confirmed that paramedics did respond to a call for a 15 year-old female unconscious at the venue shortly before 10 p.m. A girl was transported to an area hospital. Common sense dictates that the 15 year-old could've been either Moa or Yui, though we don't have sound confirmation on the identity of the female as of yet. But considering that they've been just about everywhere lately, dealing with exhaustion is an inevitable part of the gig they'll have to learn to deal with. Even though rocking out until you pass out is still pretty metal.