Archive for March, 2017

Respect

Posted: March 18, 2017 in Babymetal, Classic Rock, General, Magazines, TV & Movies

Having discovered the greatness of Babymetal I now have to confront myself with a few questions. Like, I buy a lot of Metal magazines and yet I missed out on this for well over a year at least. Why? I have looked at some magazines and it took just a few minutes to find Babymetal articles, live reviews and ads for concerts etc. Why did I avoid checking them out? The truth is that I could not get past the name and the general image and on top of that it is not easy to take in new stuff when you have listened to Metal since 1971. A friend of mine said the same thing today, it was the name. Having looked into this in some detail now, I can appreciate just how hard these people have worked for the success. The girls were quite young when it all started. They were all in school until quite recently, I have to salute the Japanese school system for allowing talent to study what they love the most. Su-metal was discovered this way and here we are. At 19, she has conquered the world with her younger friends and the band. I respect this a lot.

Well, you live and learn.

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Got the latest Babymetal release “Live At Wembley” in the mail today. Recorded in London on April 2 2016, the day after the release of their second studio album “Metal Resistance”, it was a major step in the career of this band in Europe. Let us get the history of Babymetal straight. They were formed in 2010 as a fusion of Metal and a Japanese genre called Idol (this is now called Kawaii Metal), the players are called The Kami Band. The girls that front the band were quite young, hence the name of the group. Lead singer Su-metal (real name Suzuka Nakamoto) was born in 1997, the other girls, Yuimetal (Yui Mizono) and Moametal (Moa Kikuchi) in 1999. The first, self titled, album was released in February 2014. At that time they had visited Singapore at the end of 2013, the second visit outside of Japan. The song “Gimme Chocolate!!” became a viral YouTube phenomenon (over 68,000,000 hits now). In early 2014 they performed two nights at the Budukan in Tokyo (Ozzy Osbourne is said to have seen one of these shows). This was soon followed by Stateside gigs with Lady Gaga and they even visited Canada as opening act for Metallica and Slayer. A first vist to the UK and the Sonisphere Festival took place that summer plus shows in Paris and Cologne and other cities. Last gig of the year was performed in November at the O2 Academy Brixton in London were they performed “Metal Resistance” (written by DragonForce) for the first time. In January 2015, the Budokan shows were released on DVD. In June 2015 they performed at the Metal Hammer Golden Awards. The second studio album was released on “Fox Day” (April 1 2016, The Fox God is kind of a mascot, like Iron Maiden´s Eddie) and on April 2 they headlined their first show at Wembley, selling more merchandise than any act before them. In July they performed at the Alternative Press Music Awards in the US were they performed “Karate” and were joined on stage by Judas Priest´s Rob Halford to perform “Painkiller” and “Breaking The Law”. In September they headlined the 55,000 Tokyo Dome for two nights, selling out these shows in three minutes. These shows are to be released on DVD in April. In the last few months they have visited the UK again with Red Hot Chili Peppers (and jammed with them), they have played Seoul with Metallica and a major tour of Japan opening for Guns N´Roses. Upcoming tours include US shows with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Korn. Stay tuned for more news.

So, back to the Wembley CD. Does it work without the visuals? Yeah it does. I know that some old rockers will look down on me for supporting this band but one nice thing about being a rocker is that you don´t give a crap what other people may say or not. Babymetal may be seen by many as a joke, or as something that will quietly melt away, like most pop bands do. Well, this is not going to happen, these guys & gals has made major inroads on the Metal scene and as we all know, Metalheads are loyal as fuck to their bands. Also, the music is right in your face. Very well performed. On top of this you have the charming gals and a show that is so tight it is frightening. I mean these gals have to really work. I predict that Babymetal is here to stay for a long time. When you have your own thing, and especially when this pulls in people that normally would avoid Metal, and you get that big interest going from people of all ages, how can you not win? The rest is up to clever business sense and careful marketing. And you can not say that they do not have a clever hand watching over their fortunes. Also, when you have a packed Wembley singing back to you in Japanese, that is quite something.

I guess the Wembley set is to make a point and to be part of the merchandise for upcoming tours. What you have are 13 songs picked from two studio releases and it is highly entertaining. Hell, even the narrator (lovely voice by unknown woman) is so spot on it is just silly. Everything works. This show is a freight train of Metal on steroids, with a cute edge that will never be surpassed. I, for one, will gladly introduce this to everybody. And I will certainly give DVDs to the kids in our extended family. And yes, based on what I have seen and heard so far, I would gladly see this band live. You need to inject some fun into your life and Babymetal is all about giving you the ultimate experience of Metal Happiness. And that my friends, is not a bad thing.

(Added Babymetal as a category on this blog today)

New live release from Michael Schenker coming up on March 24, “Fest Live”, recorded in Tokyo last year. Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley are all featured on vocals, making this just a little bit more special for the fans.

40 years ago today, Deep Purple´s “Last Concert In Japan” was issued over there. Recorded in December 1975 on the final world tour of the band in the 1970s, it was dedicated to the memory of Tommy Bolin, who had passed away in December 1976. Produced by Martin Birch, the album was released in a few more markets in 1978, including Sweden and France. However, it was never seen as official product in any real sense from the ex-members of the band. They all knew that the gig had not been very good compared to other shows. Still fans enjoyed the album to a certain extent (I know I did), although the reputation of Tommy Bolin probably did suffer a bit of a blow.

Babymetal are set to release “Live At Tokyo Dome” in April. Recorded and filmed in September 2016, they performed in front of 110,000 people over two nights. As can be seen on the trailer that was added to YouTube today, the show was quite spectacular.

First Babymetal product to be added to the old collection arrived today, the 2016 runaway hit “Metal Resistance”. I bought this on the strength of a couple of tracks that I enjoyed on YouTube, but it turned out to be much stronger than anticipated. This is actually quite brilliant. Most of the lyrics are in Japanese but you don´t really care, the positive energy and the general spirit of happiness is all over this, steeped in Metal and Pop in a wonderful marriage. Great sound too. You need to own this!

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Picked this up today, two versions (CD & Vinyl) of the new five track Deep Purple single “All I Got Is You”. With this release, the “inFinite” album is up next, and that feels pretty good.

Time for bedlam…

(My image of said release)