Review: Rolling Stone

November 3, 1994, by Barbara O’Dair

Onstage here with her band as part of the CMJ Convention, Courtney Love, lead singer and guitarist for Hole, did not spotaneously combust. If people were waiting for her to crack, Love didn’t deliver the goods. Instead, she was astonishing, moving fluidly from plaintive drawl to throat-peeling scream in a red hot hour of punk rock.

Amid much baby-doll tossing and tottering about on stiletto heels, Love indulged her obsession with childhood, the female condition and the seductive pull of stardom in songs like “Miss World”, “Jennifer’s Body” and “Doll Parts.” A blistering rendition of “Violet” proved that her voice, like the rest of her, is both tough and pliant.

Guitarist Eric Erlandson, offers a roiling counterpoint to Love’s power rhythms. With his cheerfully oafish demeanor, Erlandson is an unlikely guitar hero. Together with the expert backing of drummer Patty Schemel and new bassist Melissa Auf der Maur, he allowed Love to rule the roost. Her command was mesmerizing – a lanky gangster girl with one leg planted on a speaker like a cocked gun. On “Asking For It”, Love croaked, “Live, live, live,” as if she were encouraging herself, exhorting the crowd and exhuming her late husband all at once.

Kurt Cobain’s legacy was embodied by his daughter, Frances Bean, who was lifted into her mother’s arms before the encore, and in that song Cobain was summoned even more profoundly. Love howled and growled Leadbelly’s “In The Pines” which Cobain had performed memorably on TV a year earlier. Ravaged, wracked, ironic and bone-chillingly gorgeous, it was a devastating tribute to Cobain and to Love’s own abiding presence. Later, she climbed atop an amp, scanned the crowd and then dove. Transported from fan to fan, she was finally delivered back to the stage, from which she rose, triumphant.