Skip to main content

BABES IN TOYLAND Live Review Melody Maker 1995


I MISS Ligament cos (I was gonna come up with an excuse as contrived as my mate, who was late for school one day cos he was "on his bike and the wind was blowing in his face")… cos I'm a daft bastard. I'm told they were "a tease" by a bloke in a Huey Lewis T-shirt. Go figure. I have bigger fish to fry anyway.
Y'see, there's this syndrome. I listen to my old compilation tapes (the only reason anyone makes compilation tapes is cos they hold the vague hope that someone else will hear them and think "God, what amazingly cool eclectic taste this person has, I must do the nastay with them toot sweet." It never happens, people, sorry) and I'm assailed by a dozen bands who had the press' tongue wedged firmly ass-wards three years ago and are now almost spitefully ignored, even though they're doing their best work. Consolidated, Cop Shoot Cop, Come, L7 and now Babes In Toyland. Well, f*** that.
Nemesisters is a remarkable record; if you were wavering, don't, sink in. And let's cut all dat punk spiel. Americans don't understand punk. Never have. Only Bad Brains ever came close. No, tonight, Babes In Toyland are nothing but the most insanely vicious chundering METAL band the US has catted up in the past few years. And where most would find that reason enuf to poke sticks and giggle, I love metal. Always have. Proudly. Waaauugghh. Anti-rockists can kiss my spandex-clad natchel black ass. But, you bleat, why do they just wanna play silly-boys' games? Why not? Because they should be floating ethereally above us sweaty males like proper girlies do? Because wimmin are too nice, too soft and pliant to get the urge to mosh like a motherf***er to riffs fatter than a whale omelette? Because rock is something that men DO TO women, never vice versa? Oh, pleeeeze. It's all in someway an effort to tell women what they are aesthetically permitted to do, no matter how "apologetic" and "constructive" the rhetoric tries to appear. As soon as you start writing differently depending on the race/gender of the artist, yer f***ed, if you ask me. So the Babes are a blast, a mindbomb, a thaumaturgic bad-assed bullet of a band in Manchester tonight, tearing through most of the new album, 'Right Now', 'Hansel & Gretel' and the still-illin' 'Won't Tell' from the old ones, and, by the time they're coasting through 'We Are Family', have emerged as the most feral, seething, tear-holes-in-the-wall-evil-zigzag-ricochet-at-f***-you-miles-an-hour band I've heard in donkers yonks. I will chill out when the bullshit stops. Until then, I will keep listening to this unique and crucially INSPIRATIONAL band until they make a bad record.
Which they ain't done yet, regardless of Those Who Decide These Things This Year (ie those whose loyalty lasts only as long as Select will allow) say. I have made devil's horns of my right hand, am shaking it in a rapid "wanker" motion and saying "wicked".
It's a righteous thing. Understand.
© Neil Kulkarni, 1995


Popular posts from this blog


This was my dream. And it was so vivid it really happened. 
I hired a van. The expense was a concern but I needed the capacity. First the long drive north to Middlesborough. I knew he'd be at home, visiting relatives. Made sure my HeadBag was packed. Blindfolds and ballgags. Rope. Some starved, stroppy badgers. Maxi-pack of chloroform-seeped bogroll from Costco. Masking tape. As I eased onto the M1 I told myself again the story of how it was developed from the need for waterproof ammunition casings in WWII. I had to, I was bored, and it's a long schlep up to 'boro. Idly, after securing a mortgage for a bacon roll at Tibshelf, I had an argument with my other personality about whether Middlesborough was in North Yorkshire, County Durham or Teeside. 
Nothing got resolved. A plain-clothes officer pulled me off in the hardshoulder near Malton and issued stern words about punching myself while driving. No hilarity did ensue. I needed to focus. This was a serious business. By noo…


(photo by Pat Pope, full text)  MANIC STREET PREACHERS  ASTORIA, LONDON  SORRY, lifelong fan, but I’m a new convert. I got into them a week ago and here I am. (They start with “Faster and, after the dub and horrorcore they’ve played, it jarrs and fits perfectly.) OK, see it ain’t attitude cos anyone can do that, just cock a snook and suck your cheeks. It ain’t glamour. Glamour is boring. Glamour is loud pretty people who hug, hug, hug, giggling at your geek self all night. And it ain’t rock’n’roll; it was your rock’n’roll that made a nigger-hater the King, your teddy boys who Paki-bashed for Mosley, Notting Hill 1958, your rock’#n’roll build on SAMBO DON’T SELL. I ain’t interested and the Manics are way beyond that. (“Yes” is Stjepan Mestrovic’s “Balkanisation Of The West” turned punk anthem, as if it could be any more punk. No higher compliment exists.)    The four founding points of Manics songs – one: modern life is untenable. Two: no one ever gets used to loneliness. Three: if tr…

The F.U.N.K 2017 End Of Year Lists Part 1 - Metal

Metal, like hip hop, has had a fucking great 2017. Like hip hop its manifold joys can mainly be found away from the mainstream, certainly light-years distant from the kinds of boybands-with-guitars that seemingly dominate Kerrang-style metal culture. So most of my favourite metal from this year has come from slightly off the beaten track (so much great stuff coming out of Italy this year), much of it found via Bandcamp and those metal bloggers who are so ably covering the anti-scene at the moment. 

Needs saying actually - metal, like hip hop, is one area of music where blogging and word-of-mouth is all the guidance I need anymore - haven't been NEAR a metal mag this year and don't feel like I've missed anything. The bloggers care, and know their stuff so thanks to Angry Metal Guy and Cvlt Nation  and No Clean Singing and Heavy Blog Is Heavy  and The Sludgelord for keeping me vaguely in touch with the best metal in 2017, they've been invaluable. 

These are the metal/doom…