Review: SonicNet

‘Not So Silent Night’ is a Hole-y Night
December 11, 1998, by Gil Kaufman

All-star holiday show featured sets from Garbage, Offspring, Cake, Rancid, Everlast and Courtney Love at her best.

Hole leader Courtney Love was clearly in the giving spirit Thursday night.

As part of the all-star Live 105 (105.3 FM)-sponsored “Not So Silent Night” concert at the San Jose Events Center, Love gave and gave during her band’s 40-minute performance. She may have even gone a little overboard in getting into the spirit of the season.

The nouveau glam-rocker offered the crowd everything from glimpses of her ample bosom to a sliver of fur from the Seattle mansion she once shared with her late husband, Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain. The greatest gift of all, however, was a baby-blue electric guitar that the singer chucked into the roiling crowd at set’s end, causing a near riot as fans clamored for the instrument.

“It was crazy,” said 33-year-old Lynne Christiansen — a longtime Hole fan who was nursing an ugly black-and-blue bite mark on her upper thigh as a result of the mad crush to capture Love’s guitar.

Christiansen, attending the show with her 17-year-old daughter, said she acquired the battle scar while trying to help the young girl hand-picked by Love obtain the coveted six-stringed collectible.

The five-hour show also featured sets from bluesy rapper Everlast, boho-pop band Soul Coughing, tongue-in-cheek party-rockers Cake, fey techno-rock group Garbage, neo-punk crowd-pleasers the Offspring and the headliners, ska-punk quartet Rancid.

But Love created the most havoc.

“Give it to the girl!” the extroverted singer screeched as she gave the umpteenth up-tug to her downsliding black halter dress. “I want that blond girl to have it! You skinhead boys get away!”

But it was not to be. Friends of the waifish, 14-year-old blonde whom Love had targeted for the guitar said their friend ended up empty-handed despite Love’s demands.

During the band’s see-saw set of post-grunge pop songs, Love repeatedly baited the “8-year-olds” in the sold-out 7,200-strong audience about their love for the Spice Girls and rapper Snoop Dogg. Mixed with the flashing and the flying guitar, it made for quite a stage show.


But it was Love who stole the show.

Proclaiming “grunge is dead,” Love and Hole tore through such newer songs as “Awful”, “Malibu,” “Celebrity Skin” and a thoughtful, acoustic version of “Northern Star” with guitarist Eric Erlandson.

They delighted the crowd with older favorites, such as “Doll Parts,” and ended with a violent thrash through “Violet.”

Cursing, chatting aimlessly between songs, taunting the audience, Love frequently struck her trademark provocative pose: one leg up on the monitor, her skirt flapping open, but with uncharacteristically modest panty hose on underneath.

Still, judged against the other acts’ fairly staid singers, Love’s antics seemed outrageous.

For better or worse, her persona fell somewhere between Bette Midler’s party-hearty rock singer in the movie “The Rose” and what one fan referred to as “a grunge Joan Rivers.”