BABES IN TOYLAND, THE BOARDWALK, MANCHESTER, MELODY MAKER, 27.05.1995
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