Gig Review: Babymetal / Amaranthe / Sleep Token – Brixton Academy, London (2nd July 2019)

On Tuesday night Japanese kawaii metal band Babymetal played their first UK headline show since 2016, at Brixton Academy in London. I saw Babymetal play Download Festival in 2016 but from very far away since it was raining heavily, so I was interested to see them live again in a much nicer and more intimate setting.

Sleep Token (c) Katie Frost

First to take to the stage was Sleep Token. Their performance was very atmospheric… and by that I mean incredibly difficult to photograph as there was little to no light and all band mpoweembers were wearing black hooded cloaks, masks and were covered in black body paint. Saying that though, I did really enjoy their sound and the vibe of their music, and the visuals of the band did work well with it.

Next up were Swedish melodic metal band Amaranthe, who supported Powerwolf on their European / UK tour at the beginning of this year, and were recently announced to be joining Sabaton at their UK show at Wembley Arena in February 2020. I saw them play Tons of Rock festival in 2017 to an absolutely packed tent stage, and they played the festival again this year but I didn’t manage to catch their set.

Amaranthe (c) Katie Frost

They describe their sound as “modern melodic metal” and for me it was a bit like dance metal – catchy riffs and all – but it seemed to go down well with the crowd. Amaranthe have three vocalists, one of whom, Elize, strutted around the stage with legs that seemed to go on forever. The band played a great set featuring tracks from their latest album Helix (2018).

Babymetal took to the stage at around 9:30pm and the venue was absolutely rammed with fans. The three small Japanese girls walked onto the stage to a wall of applause and cheers, holding fox masks over their faces and launched into “Megitsune” from their 2014 self-titled debut album. Babymetal are Su-Metal (Suzuka Nakamoto) and Moametal (Moa Kikuchi), together with their backing band. There is also now an as-yet-unidentified third girl taking the place of Yuimetal who left the band at the end of 2018.

Babymetal (c) Katie Frost

The choreography was brilliant to watch and wasn’t like anything you usually see at a metal show. Babymetal went on to play a great set featuring tracks from Metal Resistance (2016) as well as new songs “Elevator Girl” and “PA PA YA!!” which are taken from their forthcoming third studio album Metal Galaxy which is due for release on 11 October.

The band recently announced their first ever full UK headline tour, which kicks off at Barrowlands in Glasgow on 19th February 2020 and sees the band also play Cardiff, Manchester and London. You can pre-order Metal Galaxy in various hard-copy formats now.

Photos by Katie Frost Photography

Photo Editor’s note: my photos of Babymetal had to be pre-approved by the band’s team before they could be published, which is why there are fewer shots of them than of the support bands.

Babymetal: official | facebook | twitter | instagram | youtube | spotify

Amaranthe: official | facebook | twitter | instagram

Sleep Token: official | facebook | twitter | instagram | youtube

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Rick Wagner
July 16, 2019 4:20 AM

At their first concert of the year at Yokohama Arena on June 28th, BABYMETAL announced that a dancing support role would be rotating between three new girls called “Avengers”. For the first Yokohama concert, Glastonbury Festival, O2 Academy Brixton, and the first ‘Legend M’ concert in Nagoya, the third girl was 21 year old Riho Sayashi. She was formerly with Hello!Project/Morning Musume. For the second Yokohama Arena concert, and the second ‘Legend M’ concert in Nagoya, the new support dancer was Kano Fujihira. Kano is currently the Student Council president of the school themed Idol group Sakura Gakuin. She is… Read more »

Reply to  Rick Wagner
July 22, 2019 9:55 PM

Rick – thanks for the updates and information. It may explain why only a handful of Katie’s photos were given the OK by the BabyMetal people – they could be trying to focus on the two core female members, perhaps?