Featuring Babymetal, Dethklok and Jason Richardson

Jason Savio

The Babyklok Tour is unlike any other metal tour you’ve probably ever seen. Sure, there’s the thundering double bass drums, shredding guitars and growling vocals. But add in an Adult Swim cartoon band and a kawaii metal group, and you have something completely unique.

The Babyklok Tour, featuring Dethklok and Japan’s Babymetal (plus a solid open set from solo guitarist Jason Richardson), stopped at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, Connecticut, Saturday, September 9. The venue wasn’t sold out but that didn’t mean the energy level wasn’t up; chanting and devil horns were both plentiful from the start of the evening to the end.

In what seemed like a surprise to some in attendance, Dethklok played before BabyMetal. Billed as a “multi-media powerhouse that showcases animation, comedy and brutality, excellently recreating the popular albums and animated visuals in a live atmosphere,” Dethklok came as advertised, with animation from the show accompanying the music, often synchronized perfectly with singer Nathan Explosion appearing on screen and matching Brendon Small’s vocals. For this who don’t know, Metalocalypse show creator Brendon Small performs the songs in person with a backing band that includes drummer Gene Hoglan. So, sorry to anyone who thought the guys from the band in the cartoon were real. Whether on purpose or not, there was a comically large amount of smoke during Dethklok’s set. Memorable animated clips included a character shooting fire from in between their legs and Facebones frequently appearing to deliver funny “concert tips” pertaining to hygiene and drug use. The use of animation from the show and new movie Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar in conjunction with the music elevated the experience, and everyone was throwing up the horns as Small repeatedly yelled “rise!” during “Awake.” It was raucous and fun, like metal is meant to be. As funny as some of Dethklok’s content may be, its band members took their jobs seriously and nailed it. 

As Babymetal readied to take the stage, the audience was asked “Are you ready to head bang?” Of course they were, as evident during Dethklok’s set. “Storming the stage” is a phrase that gets used a lot and perhaps not always justifiably, but in the case of Babymetal that’s what happened without a doubt. The three singers, Su-metal, Moametal, and Momometal were a powerhouse themselves as they danced, sang and headbanged to the delight of those in attendance. Babymetal’s brand of J pop and metal–called kawaii metal–is something to be seen and heard in person. While there is a hint of manufacturing to it, that didn’t stop the audience from moshing and crowd surfing during “Gimme Chocolate!!” and other songs. “BxMxC” was a standout, as was the new single “METALI!!” that features Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello playing a guitar solo. (No, unfortunately Morello was not there. Instead, he was on a screen playing in a recorded video behind the band, again giving a bit of that manufactured feel.)

To hear classic western-inspired metal and hear the increasingly popular sound coming from Japan all in one show, all you need to do is check out the Babyklok Tour. It’s all packaged together and has something to offer every metal fan. 

BABYKLOK (thebabykloktour.com)