Babes In Toyland : Newport TJ’s’s clear the Babes are operating on autopilot...

Of course, this Babes In Toyland reunion is effectively a

Kate-Thornton-in-stripey-tights nostalgia junket for people who believe music never really progressed after the feminised grunge-metal explosion of 1992, and those too young to remember. Equally, if you suggested this to the Babes’ fearsome frontwoman Kat Bjelland she’d vomit-howl her response in your face until you begged for mercy. You [I]wretched worm[/I].

Whatever: they still manage to rock. A little mutedly, mind. Bjelland, who looks about 60, says not one word to the crowd all night; at times, it’s clear the Babes are operating on autopilot. Which doesn’t mean ‘Bruise Violet’ or the quasi-metal ‘Spit’ can’t slap you about in all the right ways – namely, Bjelland’s oesophagus-exorcising vocals and the constant, menacing guitar buzz from Hades.

You could try and place Babes In Toyland within the zeitgeist, but you’d be clutching at straws. Instead, think of ‘Oh Yeah’ or the mad cackle of ‘Ripe’ as a lesson to both the alleged heirs of riot grrrl, and the scowling non-entities that pass for ‘grunge’ in 2002.

It isn’t grunge as The Kids know it, you understand. But it isn’t [a]Nickelback[/a]either, and we all need to escape from that.

Noel Gardner