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Jan 16

Cross-dressing metalhead

Sporting ribboned pigtails, polka-dotted dresses and a carpet of chest hair, heavy metal singer Ladybeard is a turn-off to some while adored by others. The Australian’s blend of kawaii ‘cute’ cultural elements and a crushing heavy metal personality has made him a hit in Japan, but he returns to his place of origin on January 16 at Focal Fair.

Before becoming Ladybeard, Richard Magarey moved from Adelaide to Hong Kong in 2006 seeking a job as an action movie star. His career direction changed when he met a pro-wrestler at a heavy metal gig and decided to enter the squared circle instead. Having worn dresses to parties as a joke, he decided to don a Lolita dress for his debut wrestling match, making him Hong Kong’s most popular wrestler almost overnight. He fashioned a Cantonese stage name for himself – 鬍鬚女, ‘bearded girl’ in English.

At the same time as starting out in pro-wrestling, Magarey began singing heavy metal covers of Cantonese pop songs with a band in his Ladybeard attire. After being told by many audiences that his colourful character would fit right in amid Japan’s kooky pop culture scene, he decided to make the move to Tokyo in October 2013. 

Developing a fervent fanbase of mostly 20 to 30-year-old women, Magarey’s sponsoring costume company, Clearstone, has since brought him together with two teenage Japanese girls, Rie Kaneko and Rei Kuromiya, forming a new group called Ladybaby. Pioneering ‘kawaiicore’ – a term coined by Magarey to describe his juxtaposition of metallic deathcore with themes of Japanese kawaii culture – Ladybaby released their debut single, Nippon Manju, in May last year.

Whether you’re itching for some of her signature pigtail-swinging breakdowns or just looking for something that will blow your mind, Ladybeard’s infectious energy won’t dissapoint. Joy Ming King

Ladybeard Sat Jan 16, Focal Fair, Causeway Bay. Tickets: $250-$450;


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