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Concert Reviews:
Courtney Love And Hole Keep It Solid And Simple At The Fillmore
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK



DETROIT -- It would be naive not to think that some, and probably a lot of, people go to a Hole concert expecting a train wreck.

Courtney Love is, after all, one of the most volatile and erratic performers in all of rock, loose of lip -- but calculatingly so -- and possessing a savvy knack for the sensational. And sometimes that gets the better of her, like at a recent unhinged, three-hour concert in Washington, D.C., that's been the subject of much Internet chatter.

But Love and her new incarnation of Hole (she's the only original member left in the band) gave little to any wishful gawkers on Sunday night (July 11) at the Fillmore Detroit. Instead the quintet turned in a solid and uneventful 70 minutes, reminding the small (under 1,000) but vociferous crowd on hand that Love writes and knows how to deliver fine rock songs -- and have some fun doing it, too.

"Well this is a step up from Saint Andrews Hall!" Love proclaimed as she noted the Fillmore's opulent trappings, reminiscing, "Oh, the things that we done there. We shan't do them again!" She also maintained a running commentary about the lingerie that was tossed onstage -- and dutifully placed on her microphone stand -- noted that her "voice is a little skanky" and celebrated the fact that, "I even made it to 46! Who the...would've thought that!"

It's not exactly tabloid stuff, so the strength of Sunday's show fell on the music, which certainly was up to the task. Following an enormously entertaining half-hour opening set by Foxy Shazam, Hole offered a hint of "Pretty on the Inside" before tearing into a muscular version of the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy For the Devil" and then "Skinny Little Bitch," the first single from "Nobody's Daughter," Hole's latest album and first in 10 years.

Hole played a half-dozen of the new tracks in the 18-song show, plus a cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie's harrowing "Codine" that's included as a bonus track on some editions. But while Love spoke desultorily about "the oldies," she and Hole offered up plenty, including "Violet," "Miss World," "Reasons to Be Beautiful," "Plump" and "Celebrity Skin," closing out the main set with "Doll Parts" and slipping "Malibu," "Boys on the Radio" and "Honey" into the encore. Hole's other covers were also intriguing, with a gentle take on Leonard Cohen's "Take This Longing" and returning to the Rolling Stones' for a leaden "Play With Fire" before Hole and guitarist Micko Larkin closed the evening with Big Star's "Thirteen" -- an unspoken tribute to the late Alex Chilton, who wrote it.

So in the end there were no casualties, not even bruises. It was simply a good rock 'n' roll show -- as if that's a disappointment.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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