Japanese teen group Babymetal coming to a bedroom near you
Japanese metal heads Babymetal are the next big teeny-bopper thing and, scary a prospect as your kids getting into them might be, it beats Bieber hands down writes self-confessed former goth Leona O'Neill
IF you thought your teen's obsession with Justin Beiber or One Direction was an endurance, wait until you get a load of Babymetal.
The three Japanese teeny-bopper metal heads who grace the stage in black tutus and medieval corsets, delicately headbanging in their pigtails, have been fascinating the world since they burst onto YouTube in 2014. Their shows are a spectacle of bizarreness; they are hailed as 'metal resistance' and the girls do not simply perform, they 'scream and dance'.
Sixteen-year-old Suzuka Nakamoto (Su-Metal) and 15-year-olds Moa Kikuchi (Moametal) and Yui Mizuno (Yuimetal) have become a phenomenon. And, rest assured, instead of Justin's dulcet tones bemoaning lost love emanating from beneath your teenage son or daughter's bedroom door you will hear Babymetal screaming like cutie-pie child demons about wanting chocolate, as in now.
When I was 15 I went through a Goth stage. I painted an upside-down cross on my bedroom wall, which nearly sent my devout Catholic mother to an early grave. I painted my face with sudocreme. I dyed my hair purple. And red. And black. And blue. I listened to miserable music at earpiercing decibels all day long which made me miserable and basically had aspirations to be a level-seven, card-carrying vampire when I grew up.
My mother still wakes in the night screaming about that particular phase. I hope to God that Karma will not come back in the form of Babymetal to bite me for putting my
mother through that. I can only live in hope.
The band's stage sets are more than a little Eurovision, but only if it were set in the seventh circle of Hell and organised by crazed cybergoths on speed. The three pint-sized songstresses sing songs in Japanese about wanting chocolate – Gimme Chocolate – and manipulating fathers into handing over extra pocket money – Onedari Daisakusen.
They describe themselves as cute – if screaming scary schoolgirl vampire one minute, then cutie pie the next is cute – and perform choreographed routines on stage while a gaggle of middle-aged beardy industrial-strength session musicians throw out some serious riffs, supersonic guitar solos, and manic drums behind them, all while dressed as zombies.
It is what would ordinarily be the most ridiculous thing you'll have ever witnessed. But it works, and it is coming to an iPhone, music station, tablet and bedroom near you, so be prepared.
The schoolgirl trio were manufactured by commercial boffins who wanted to combine the saccharine-sweet idol pop Japan is renowned for with heavy metal, as a ruse to tap into the revenue of the country's hardcore teen geeks. What started off as a bizarre experiment has transformed into a worldwide phenomenon which saw the girls sell out Wembley last month.
And strangely enough, they do not only appeal to the geeks but hardcore metallers as well. The likes of Slayer and Anthrax– Gods of heavy metal in case you're not in the know – and Lady Gaga have been queuing up to have their photos taken with the girls backstage at festivals.
Beneath their sparky pop veneer they have some seriously good metal tunes that have won over the hardcore headbangers. These girls have toured the metal circuit in Britain and didn't have one bottle of urine hurled at them on stage. A victory in anyone's eyes.
Their shows are a theatrical performance. They reach all generations. Parents bring their children to concerts and heavy metallers go in leather-jacket wearing, long-hair-sporting groups. All handy if Dad is a proper headbanger and doesn't have a babysitter that night.
If you haven't seen these girls in action yet, get yourself on Youtube and prepare to witness one of the maddest things you've ever set eyes on.
They said a year ago that they were intent on taking over the world and I'm starting to believe them.
So if your teenager starts wearing black, giving you the devil-horn hand signal and screaming about wanting you to immediately purchase her some chocolate, don't say I didn't warn you. Babymetal are coming our way and resistance, it seems, is utterly futile.