Review: City Beat

Short Takes
May 13, 1999, by Mike Breen

Hole has always been in danger of being overshadowed musically by Courtney Love’s antics, but the band’s recordings make it hard to argue their talent (forgetting rumors that they were masterminded by arguably more talented male songwriters). Live, that danger comes to the forefront — with Love berating the audience, appearing completely wasted or baring her breasts, the attention is on anything but the music. At this show — the kick-off for the band’s current tour supporting Celebrity Skin, following their departure from a joint venture with Marilyn Manson — the antics didn’t go far enough, which made them all too hard to bear. Maybe it was because Celebrity Skin was an inferior album to the previous Live Through This, or maybe the Courtney Show came off just a bit too fake this time (a previous show at Bogart’s featured a Star is Born-like breakdown on stage that was classic), but this time out, I felt cheated. Love’s “guitar playing” was also distracting: She has it on almost every song, but mostly as a prop since, when she stopped playing, you couldn’t tell the difference. Without the guitar, though, Love seemed almost Vegas-ready. The saving grace was that, if you actually noticed the band, they were on, highlighted by an impossibly tight rhythm section and Eric Erlandson’s engulfing guitar parts. I just wished that it would have been more of a “performance” than an “appearance.”

CityBeat grade: C