Review: L.A. Daily News

Love’s Antics, Humor Drive Hole’s Toned-Down Show
November 11, 1994, by Fred Shuster

Anyone expecting the psychodramas Courtney Love has offered at other stops along her band Hole’s current tour probably went home from Wednesday’s show at the Hollywood Palladium slightly disappointed.

Love didn’t remove her top, howl furiously at the ghost of her late husband, Kurt Cobain, or nod off midsong. She did, however, march on stage, put one leg up on the monitor stage center, put her head down and boogied like a cast-off member of Slayer.

It was a demonstration of stirring rock ‘n’ roll, showing Love has more than a few aces up the sleeve of the too-small baby doll dresses she insists on wearing. She and the other three members of Hole revved into action like a small but mighty engine, kicking out album highlights such as “Miss World,” “Doll Parts,” “Credit in the Straight World” and “Jennifer’s Body,” along with a couple of new numbers and a surprisingly biting cover of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf.”

The evening was not without its over-the-top moments, to be sure. At various times, the smoke-spewing Love railed at enemies, spit out a grueling version of the old Leadbelly tune, “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” (which Nirvana also covered), lay on her back and played the guitar while kicking her legs in the air, and topped off the set by leaping headfirst into the adoring throng for a spot of crowd-surfing.

She also brought out the grunge baby a couple of times, at one point introducing 3-year-old Frances Bean Cobain as “the only successful thing I’ve ever done in my life.” It must have been frightening for the kid to be held up in front of such a massive seething crowd. Hell, it was frightening for us kids in the audience.

Love’s gutsy vocal rasp and car-wreck charisma carried the show, which wasn’t without humor. Noting the sold-out concert was linked to local alternative-rock radio KROQ-FM (106.7), Love ranted, “We’re all KROQ listeners here. Let’s have some more Flashback Weekends.”

Even after all the turbulence of this year (the death of both Cobain and Hole’s bassist), Love’s band is still the strong unit that surprised so many people at the Palace in late 1993. The rhythm section kept a steady pulse, navigating the bumpy arrangements of “Violet” and the punky noise-fest “Pretty on the Inside.”

The crowd, after one of the toughest entrance security searches in recent memory, was all moshing turmoil throughout Love’s 90-minute set. Kids climbed onto their friends’ shoulders and got passed toward the stage.