ROCK / Grace's grisly grunt and grind show

WHAT if they turned the Brixton Academy into an 'erotic temple' and nobody came? A one-off appearance by Grace Jones, former first lady of after-hours decadence, went off distinctly half-cock last week. Grace's audience, stunned by the outrageous pounds 25 entrance levy and mindful of the farce of her last London show, largely, and wisely, opted to stay at home.

The scene is a forlorn one. A couple of dedicated semi-naked hedonists lick beer off each other's shoulders in the bar, semi-famous fashion designers roam the lobby, and a trio of 7ft Brazilian drag queens make a bit of an entrance, but mainly all you notice is the wide open spaces where the punters should be. When Jones finally appears, crouched atop her trusty giant staircase, clad in a gold mask and a Birdwoman-of-Alcatraz costume, she looks in pretty good shape.

And sounds awful. The twists and turns of club classics like 'Nightclubbing' and 'Pull Up to the Bumper' are reduced to an ugly pile-up by the horribly over-amplified backing tapes and Grace's clumsy attempts to project herself over them. If it wasn't so sad it would be funny. She wanders on and off the stage screaming for a drink, and her two Adonis-for-hire backing dancers can't even co-ordinate their hip-thrusts. The exaggerated animalism of Jones's act used to work, because she was a strong enough figure to carry it off. Here, when she launches into five-minute grunting routines, and tries to persuade the crowd to spit into her mouth, it's just embarrassing.

Babes in Toyland are, in contrast, a wholly going concern. Three years ago, they were among the first in a new wave of noisy American all-woman bands to play here. Their gender should not of course have determined their reception, but it has. Their third album, Fontanelle (Southern), has done much to rectify this: it is the first record to capture their full power.

At the Town & Country Club the three Babes, apparently oblivious to waves of sad-case stage-divers, whip up a ferocious maelstrom of sound: churning bass and guitar from new recruit Maureen Herman and founder Kat Bjelland, and brutally effective drumming from the dreadlocked Lori Barbero. This would be a powerful proposition even without Bjelland's remarkable vocals. Between wild grimaces and foot-stamping, she emits a mighty, guttural howl with intermittent chattering - sort of Ozzy Osbourne meets Diamanda Galas.

Their songs lurch through a blasted landscape, but there is something jolly about them, especially the newer ones which show a telling grasp of dynamics. As Barbero leaves the stage, she whips out her Polaroid and takes a snap of the crowd, which by this time is no oil- painting, if it ever was.

There have not been many moments to savour for Happy Mondays recently. Their new album . . . Yes Please] (Factory) has finally emerged from a Barbados triangle of car-crashes, multiple crack-habits, and unsavoury public pronouncements, and now no one seems to like it. The irony is that it is a fascinating piece of work. The musical backdrop, slicked up and opened out by producers Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, is wildly unsuited to Shaun Ryder's garbled missives from beyond the pale, but that makes them more compelling, not less. The poignancy of highlights like 'Total Ringo' and 'Stinkin' Thinkin' ' runs deep. If Ryder can only wake up to the fact that there is no one more boring than the rock-star junkie, his band's best work could still be ahead of them.

'. . .Yes Please]' (FAC420) is out tomorrow. Babes in Toyland play Edinburgh Venue (031-557 3073) tonight, and tour for another week (details 081-800 8949).

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine