BAND-MAID at The Chapel, by William Wayland

BAND-MAID (photo: William Wayland)

Words by William Wayland

What can I tell you about BAND-MAID?

They are a heavy metal rock and roll group from Tokyo.

They have fans all over the world who have created dozens of pages devoted to their music on Facebook.

They made a stop at the Chapel on Saturday in the midst of their World Domination tour.

Fans began lining up at 8am to see these rockers up close. The first person in line saw them the night before in Los Angeles (he said the San Francisco show was much better, by the way). He was not the only person to see both US stops on the tour.

I met people from all over the US and all over the world who came here to see this show. One fan claimed to have seen them at least 50 times. No wonder it sold out so quickly, and their devotional following makes me wonder whether BAND-MAID could have filled a venue 10 times the size.

Did I mention that they dress like maids and call their fans “masters” and “princesses” and their performances “servings”?

This is a group I’m still trying to understand.

When I first saw them play San Francisco last year, I thought this must be a group cooked up by some record company executive to make money from people with a heavy metal maid fetish. Makes sense, right?

I don’t think so.

The story is that guitarist, Miku Kobatu, started the group having worked in a maid cafe. This is an actual thing in Japan.

So, are the maid costumes a way to attract pervy heavy metal fans with a maid fetish or are the costumes meant to be ironic, contrasting the band members’ subservient appearance with their obvious musical talent and ability to rock?

The honest answer is I don’t know and I don’t think their fans care.

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