Review: Rolling Stone Online

Not So Silent Night
December 16, 1998, by Marlene Goldman

Until Courtney Love nabbed centerstage at the Live 105 “Not So Silent Night” radio station Christmas extravaganza, the night was rather predictable. Reputable “alt rock” chart toppers stuck to their twenty-minute or half-hour sets, appeasing the sold-out, all ages (read: adolescent) crowd with brief banter and punchy sets. But by now fans have come to expect Love’s snide irreverence, and to that end she did not disappoint.

Love stormed out, twirled around, flicked her cigarette away and assumed her crotch-revealing leg-on-the-monitor pose. The band promptly fired off “Miss World” followed by a succession of mildly jarring tracks from her band’s latest effort, Celebrity Skin — the title track and current hit “Malibu” being the most distinctive. But Hole’s music, which pinnacled with a primal, emotive version of “Doll Parts,” was just part of the gig. More memorable was the spectacle of Love’s uncensored showmanship (including flashing her breasts, which were barely covered by her scant black dress) at a time when radio-friendly bands are barely distinguishable, let alone demanding of the spotlight.

With feline rock reflexes, Love seized opportunities to mock the crowd. A bag full of a powdery substance was thrown onstage and Love picked it up. “Oh look someone threw fake drugs onstage. How about we give it to the police? Or maybe I’ll just dump it out,” which she proceeded to do. She also quipped, “I see eight-year-olds who know all the words to these songs. It scares me. It’s like the Spice Girls.”

Then Love egged on the audience, telling them to scream curse words since the show was being broadcast live. At the finale, Love refused to leave the stage after hurling her guitar, inscribed with the word “Dork,” into the crowd. When a guy caught it, Love screamed incessantly, “Give it to a girl.” When she was finally satisfied that a girl would take home the trophy, she left the stage, and much of the 7,000 or so in attendance exited the building before the last band, Rancid, had a chance to take the reins.

Preceding Hole, a slew of Live 105 hit-makers revved up the crowd.


Rancid, on the other hand, proved their musical integrity runs deeper than just “Time Bomb.” Unfortunately, the elongated Hole set pushed the clock past most of the kids’ curfews, while others were too exhausted to stay. There was also some delay while the Event Center crew sought help for an injured fan. But Rancid forged on in true punk fashion and blasted through rave-ups like “Hooligans,” “Roots Radicals” and “Ruby Soho.”

The foursome ended with a rousing cover of Sham 69’s punk anthem “The Kids Are United” while a young fan pogo-ed onstage next to them. It was just unfortunate most of the kids were out the door.