Review: Rolling Stone

Family Affair
August 24, 1995, by Jon Wiederhorn


“Fuck you….I hate this fucking place,” screams Love as Hole take the stage. In other words, it’s business as usual. Propping a leg on a stage monitor a provocative show of high thigh, Love is half arena-rock cliché, half catastrophe, and it is that combination that makes her so compelling. Just when you think you’ve latched onto her routine, she sends you reeling. Hole open with a caustic version of “Plump” and then derail into a sloppy, rattling “Beautiful Son.” The band continues like that throughout the set, shining with raw, savage brilliance one second only to fall to pieces the next.

But Love’s unpredictable and contradictory actions, along with the sincere pain and frustration in her songs, keep the crowd transfixed. “Stop mauling that poor girl. I’ll kick your ass,” Love says when she spots a distressed female fan being groped at the foot of the stage. She leans over the pit and helps pull the girl onstage. Within seconds, Love is plucking other hapless victims from the crowd, and by the end of the set, the 20 or so girls sitting in two rows look like they’ve been assembled for a sorority photo. (Later, during “Rock Star,” Love does a complete U-turn by baiting a girl atop her boyfriend’s shoulders into removing her bikini top).